TD Jakes — Check You to Bless You
Hey, everybody. I'm excited to have this opportunity to share this Word with you. I believe it is a right-on-time Word. The message is, "Checked You to Bless You". Don't get it twisted. You're gonna get blessed through this. Take a look.
And when God takes away something that you cherish, it can make you bitter. I learned so much as a pastor. You know, I did my first funeral when I was 17 years old, uh, 19, 19 years old. The boy was 17. I preached my first funeral then, from 19 till 60. I've been preaching a lot of funerals in my life. I know exactly what to say. I know exactly what to do. Been there, done that. I know how to bring the family, and I know how to handle the situation, but it's different when you're on the other side of the casket. And when I was on the other side of the casket, I got a revelation that a lot of things that people say to you when you're grieving are not really helpful. In fact, they are quite irritating.
I was shocked at the things that people said to me, well-intended. They got on my nerves. My mama had died in my arms, and people came in and said, "God's gonna give you double for your trouble". What does that mean? Am I gonna get two mamas? Is something gonna happen and two mamas are gonna come out of the casket? "You will have so much anointing when you come out". I don't want an anointing. I want my mother to get up. "You know, wait till you see how God's gonna bless you when you come out of this". What's he gonna give me? A car? I'm gonna get a car for my mother? What kinda values do you have that you would trade relationships for resources?
I was irritated. I was irritated with them. I was irritated with God. I said, "You heal people through me. You bless people through me. Why didn't you do this"? I walked out of the church wet with sweat from preaching, went over and laid on top of her, praying for her, asking God to raise her, and she still died, and I was confused why faith didn't work for me. I'm talking about the ugly place, and I was angry, I was angry, and I had to keep pastoring angry, and I had to keep preaching angry and keep my anger to myself and work it out when I got home, but I was angry with him because he had not responded in a predictable way during a needy time.
Can I talk to some real people this morning? I'm talking about moments when your faith confuses you because it doesn't work like you expected it to work, and you find yourself in a dilemma, where your theology is challenged by your reality. What do you do when your theology does not line up with your reality? And you cut off my grapes in my arms and let them die and made me preach about how good you were while you did it. It's not like I got a month off. I had to keep on teaching and preaching and encouraging and counseling and burying people while I was grieving and angry and frustrated. I'm talking about discipline while you're under attack.
Where are my real people? There may only be ten of you, but I'll talk to the ten, real people. I did not realize that the contract had a contingency clause. How could you cut me back? My church is exploding. I'm on worldwide television for the first time, two-thirds of the globe. People are lined up all the way up the foyer trying to get in the building. This is a bad time to be going through this. Have you ever had a cutback at a bad time? If it had been another time, you coulda handled it better, but, no, not right now. Not my daughter, not now. Not my child arrested, not now. Not lose my job, not now. This is a bad time for you to start pruning. Not there. You could cut somewhere else. I got some people you could cut. Why did you ask me for a list of recommendations? I can give you all kinda people you could cut. I will hold them down while you cut them.
I'm just talking to real people today. All you church people, I'll talk to you in a minute. Real people, let's talk. You told me to open up that business, now I'm in foreclosure. You gave me the house, and I can't make the payments. This is my dream wedding, I found the love of my life, and they left me. What do you do when he cuts back something you were counting on? He says every branch in me that beareth fruit, I prune it, I cut it that it might bring forth more fruit, but before I can get to more, I have to survive the cutting and the healing, 'cause it's hard to be fruitful while you're in pain. Whoo, it's hard to be fruitful.
See, the Bible says to the woman, "In sorrow and travail shall you bring forth children". And then he says, "And your desire shall be to your husband," but the desire and the sorrow don't happen at the same time. You don't see women in labor wearing negligees. Most women in labor don't even like you anymore. My wife turned into the Grinch of Christmas Past. I said, "Baby, baby, here comes another one," 'cause I was watching the machine, boo-boo-boo, making the noise that they made back then. I said, "Here comes another contraction". She said, "I already know. I don't need a machine. Would you shut up"? He says at the end of your travail the desire to be fruitful will return.
Healing is a process. No matter what the intent of the cut is, it is still trauma to the plant. It's gonna get brown and ugly, it's gonna look like it's gonna die, but after it has endured this stage, it will spring forth again. I don't know, but I feel like I'm prophesying to somebody. You've been through a cutback. You've been in the ugly place. You're wondering if you're ever gonna survive it. You leaf has withered, your stalk has turned brown, you're wondering if you're ever gonna be green again, and the Lord told me to tell you, "Abide". "Abide" means sticking out when it's ugly, sticking out when it's pretty, sticking out when it's green, sticking out when it's brown, sticking out when they like you, sticking out when they hate you, sticking out when you understand God, sticking out when you don't even like God, because the contract says, "If ye, if ye abide in me".
See, this is what I began to wrestle with in my mind. Jesus in the text spends more time talking about the relationship between the branch and the vine than he does the branch and the fruit, and this is what the Lord showed me. The problem with this new era of Christianity is that we have produced branches who are having a relationship with the fruit. They are all down for the relationship with the fruit. "Give me the promises of God. Give me the blessings of God. Give me the much more. I want the much more".
But, you see, it is not about having a relationship with the fruit, it's about having a relationship with the vine. He says, "You can make it without the fruit. You may turn brown, and you might wither a little bit, but I can cut your fruit, and you can still make it". Oh God, you can make it without prosperity, you can make it not feeling good, you can make it depressed, you can make it without fruit, but you can't make it without the vine.
And we have raised up an era of Christianity where we have talked to you so much about fruit, that you got all kind of relationships with the promises of God, but not the God of the promise. You want what Jesus can do, but you don't want Jesus. You want what he promises to provide for you, but you don't have a relationship with him, so you only talk to him when things are going the way you want them to go, and you haven't read the contract.
"If ye, abide in me," if ye abide, if you can stay unhappy, if you can shed tears and still raise your hands, if you can go through a hard time and say, "You're still God..." Oh, y'all not gonna shout today. Y'all not gonna shout. If I was talking about the fruit, you would shout, but God is saying, "You lost your job, you had to move back in with your mama, they took the house, your kid has Down syndrome, you're going through a painful moment in your life," and God is saying this, "how you like me now"?
I'm not gonna give you that kind of power till you earn it. Oh, Elisha, I see you. Come on, I know you want a double portion. You want a double portion? Oh, yeah, you want a double portion. Nice speech. You can't have it. Mm-mm, no, you got to follow me. You got to follow me through some stuff. We gotta go through Gilgal. We got to go through all Jericho. We got to go through all kinda stuff, and if you abide, Elisha, if you're still there, if I can go down to the valley and up the creek, if I can go through storms and you're still there, you want... uh-huh, you can't have it yet. But if you're still there, if you're still walking behind me when I get ready to go into the next dimension, I will give you a double portion of my spirit, but I'm not gonna give it to you just because you want it.
They're trying to talk you out of staying. They're trying to tell you to go back. They're trying to pull you over into the school of the prophet, but if you're still there... do you still want it? By the time I give you my mantle, you won't even want the mantle. You will want me. Now, I'm gonna give it to you. When you know that I am more important than what I got to give you, I will open up the window of heaven, whoo, I'll pour you out a blessing. If ye abide in me, and my word abide in you, now you can have a double portion of my spirit.
Now, I'm gonna drop the mantle on you, because now you see the value of the man and not the mantle. Now I'm going to give you from fruit to more fruit to much fruit. I'm sorry I couldn't give it to you before, 'cause I couldn't give that much power to a fool. "But if ye abide in me," oh, y'all need to stay with me this morning, "and my word abide in you," I got you, "you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you". I'm gonna give it to you because of your longevity, because of your tenacity, because of your commitment, because you've been relentless, because you followed me when you didn't understand me, because you served me when you didn't like me, because you stayed when your feelings were hurt. Now you can have it.
I wanna talk to some people who have been there through some things. I want you to get ready to rebound. I want you to understand that your latter day shall be greater than your former day. That God is getting ready to put you on a escalator from fruit to more fruit to much fruit. I need 30 seconds of praise in this place. He checked me. He let folk talk about me while he checked me. He let them say I wasn't real while he checked me. He let me be humiliated while he checked me, but he did not check me to kill me. He checked me to bless me.
Oh, I don't know who this is for, but I'm starting to get happy right now. For every night you suffered, for every night you cried, for every night you endured hardness, for every night you curled up in a ball like a kid and cried yourself to sleep, God was watching you. God was watching over you. For every time you came to church and praised God even though you didn't even understand what was going on in your life, God said, "If ye abide in me," you hear me? "And my Word abide in you..."
Listen to what he's about to release. Look at what he's about to release. I'm talking about survivors. Where my survivors at? Survivors, make some noise in this place. Because you survived some stuff, he said, "Now I can trust you. You shall ask..." They don't believe me. If you believe me, you tear this church up. He said, "You can ask, you can ask what you will". Good God Almighty. "You shall ask what you will". Do they understand what I'm saying? You shall ask what you will. I said, "Lord, why did you give so much power at the end"? He said, "Because I change".
Come on, follow me again. He said, "While you was walking and abiding, I was changing your will. I was changing what you value. I was changing what was important to you. When we started out, all you wanted was my stuff, but after I cut you back and you stayed anyway, now you can ask what you will, because now you'll say, 'Not my will, but...'" In the abiding process is the transformation of your desires, of what's important to you, of what you value. He says, "Now I can trust you with power. I couldn't give you influence before 'cause you had too much ego. But after I got through dragging you through all of that embarrassment, I pulled all that ego outta you, now I can give you some power. You shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you".
Watch this. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit". Now, this is a man's text. No sexism, but this is a man's text. "Herein is Daddy glorified". He says the more fruitful you are, the more honor the Daddy gets. The Father gets the glory out of you being fruitful, because he's the one who put the seed in you that brought the fruit to fruition. God is not afraid of you being blessed. God doesn't mind you having things. He minds things having you. In fact, he is glorified when your prayers are answered, because when you get ready to tell him what happened, you can tell him, "God did that".
I am so glad you joined us today. It's important that believers understand that there is no spiritual growth without pruning. Now, pruning is uncomfortable, it's inconvenient, it may even seem unfair, but it is absolutely necessary so that you can handle the next level of power and authority that God is calling you to. God is not burying you. He's planting you. The Bible says after you have suffered a little while, God himself will perfect, confirm, strengthen, establish you, so press on in the faith. God has checked you to bless you.