TD Jakes — Coming into Your Calling
Hey everybody, I'm excited to have this opportunity to share the Word of the Lord with you. I'm going to be talking about something that is important. The subject is called "Coming into your calling". A calling isn't something you just zap into, you have to come into it, you have to grow into it, you have to evolve into it. And this is a season and a time in your life of growth, and of change, and of supernatural influence in your life. I want you to open up your heart and get ready to go into the Word of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to touch you as only God can. "Coming into your Calling, ready? Come on, let's go.
Jesus is walking down by the Sea of Galilee, and he sees two men fishing. And he says to them, "Hey, follow me and I will make you fishers of men". I love this text. I love this text because on the surface, it's a Bible story. But if you dig deeper into it, it is a life lesson that will change your life. What he is really saying, "When I passed by you, you were operating in one dimension. You were fishers of fish. But if you respond to my call, I will make you fishers of men". In other words, you're doing the right thing in the wrong place. But when I get through, I'm going to shift you and take the old skills from your past and use them in a new dimension.
That everything you went through was getting you ready for everything you're about to go into. You're doing the right thing in the wrong dimension. Not only am I going to save you, I'm going to save your skill-set, and you're going to see why you were good at what you were good at. You're doing the right thing, but I'm going to set you in the next dimension so that you can flow into your destiny rather than to sweat in your history. Follow me and I'll make you. Two different things. Follow me, that's your job. Making you, that's God's job. "No, no, no, no, Peter, you don't have to make yourself fishers of men. All you've got to do is follow me".
If you'll follow me in the pursuit of me, it will change you. You've been asking the Lord to change you. That's none of your business. All you need to do is pursue him. And if you pursue him, he will automatically change... you do the following and God will do the changing. And the Bible said, "Immediately they dropped their nets". There's something about the initial call of God that gets an initial response from a true experience with God. We don't have too many true experiences with God anymore. I'm talking about the kind of conversion that makes you give up the man you can see for a man you can't see. I'm talking about the kind of conversion that requires a reaction.
See, we want to be inspired in church, we don't want to be changed. The Bible said, "Immediately they dropped their nets and followed him". And what I want you to see is that what they did immediately was also changed gradually. Peter dropped his nets in a moment, but he picked them up again. Have you ever... have you ever dropped something that you picked it up again? And now you've got the net and Jesus. And it's all on the boat together. Over and over again, he keeps challenging Peter to move from being a fisher of fish to a fisher of men. Because sometimes, God sees things in you that you don't see in yourself. And you keep going back to what you see, and he keeps calling you to what he sees.
And to me, this text is about patience. The patience of God, who can work with a man who rides on a boat with nets, and can preach on a boat with nets, and can rebuke storms on a boat with nets. And yet, even though he used him with his nets, he kept calling him from his nets. That, my sister, is life. He used him with his nets, but he kept challenging him to come from his nets. "Hey, follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Follow me and I'm going to change you, and you're never going to know what day I did it. You will never know what moment I did it".
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and you'll never know which step I did it in. You're going to kind of be like Enoch, you're going to walk with me until you're not. Little by little, I'm going to peel away your insecurities, peel away your fear and your intimidation. You're going to look up and you'll have courage, and you're not even going to know where it came from. You're going to look up and you're going to have confidence in places that you were insecure. You're not going to even know when I gave it to you. But one day, you're going to stand up and speak in front of people you used to run from.
When I get through peeling you, the very people that you denied me for, you're going to stand up in front of them and preach to them, and say, "Let the house of Israel know that the same Jesus whom ye have crucified has been made Lord and Christ". But follow me, I know you're going to deny me, I know you're going to betray me, I know you're going to lie and say you don't know me, I know you're going to curse around people and act like I didn't do in your life what I did in your life. I know you're going to hit the rock so bad that you're going to want to give up on the ministry. But when everybody wants to put you out, I'm still going to call you back and tell them, "Go get Peter too, I'm not finished with him". Follow me, follow me. And you and I are going to have a relationship.
And a relationship is more than an experience. See, what I read to you was an experience, but what I'm preaching to you is a relationship. A wedding is an experience, a marriage is a relationship. Oh God, you're not hearing what I'm saying. Having a baby is an experience. Raising a child is a relationship. People look for experiences, but God is calling you to relationships. And that means that sometimes I'm going to be dropping my net, and sometimes I'm going to be holding my net. And sometimes I'm going to be faithful, and sometimes I'm going to be so inconsistent. Sometimes I'm going to be so committed that I'd cut somebody's ear off for you. And then the same guy's going to go to cussing and say, "I don't know Jesus".
Follow me when you're strong and when you're wrong, when you're up and when you're down, when you're right and when you're fearful. Follow me. Just keep on following me. When you're confused, when you don't understand, when you're intimidated, follow me. Sometimes, you're going to be all religious, and holy, and calling down fire from heaven. And sometimes, you're going to be hiding out in a cave and scared to come out. But through it all, hey. Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.
But it got bad, and it got dark. And it got so bad that the Peter who was bold at one point in the relationship, denied Jesus in the next one, cursed out everybody, and walked away. The Peter that Jesus had invested 3 years of mentoring in quit the church. Said, "I'm sick of this. I go a-fishing". I go a-fishing is the same as, "I'm going on a drinking spree". Jesus is crucified, everything's a mess. Maybe there wasn't nothing to it. I invested 3 years, can't trust nobody, church people are crazy.
When Peter says, "I go a-fishing," push has come to shove, push has come to shove. He's through walking on water. He's through trying to step from one dimension into the next. He has succumbed to his baser understanding of his identity. "I go a-fishing". And he went back to being who he was, and he started throwing out his... oh yeah, he's still got them. And he brought him in, and there was nothing in them. Threw them out again, and he brought them in, and there was nothing in them. And he said, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, I know, I know how to do this". And he threw them out again, and he pulled them back, and there was nothing in them.
See, sometimes God will let you fail at what you know you're good at because he's got to break down your pride and your thinking that you know how to do anything. And he wants you to know that without him, you can do nothing, and he will shut every door. You can't get a job at a pie factory. You can't get anything going. Nobody will help you, everything's shut down in your life, and he's still saying, "Hey, follow me and I'll make you". Peter threw nets all night and caught nothing, nothing. All night. He's an experienced fisherman. He toiled all night, Peter fished out his clothes. He fished 'til he was naked, and he still couldn't catch nothing.
And in the morning, when I rise, here come Jesus walking down by the seashore, the same place where he had called him. Everything has come around full circle. And Jesus comes walking down by the seashore eating a fish sandwich, letting him know, "What you fishing for, I already got it. What you're trying to find, I already got it in my hand. It's not in your hand, it's not in your net, it's not in your boat. What you're hungry for is in my hand. Can't nobody love you like me, can't nobody help you like me, can't nobody be there for you like I can. Everything you've been searching for all of your life, it's in my hand".
Peter has been casting his net for raw fish, and Jesus is eating cooked fish on the seashore. And so, he hollers again, and he said, "Hey, have you any meat"? That's Jesus' way of saying, "How's that working for you"? And all of a sudden, Peter leaps off the boat. He leaps off the boat and starts swimming for the shore. And the weirdest thing about it is when Peter leaps off the boat is the time when he finally had caught some fish 'cause Jesus allowed him to catch the fish. He showed him how to drop the nets to catch the fish. That's like showing you how to pull what you like.
See, it's one thing to come to Jesus when it ain't working, but Jesus let it work. And Peter left all of them and starts swimming for Jesus. 'Cause you don't really have love till you've got a choice. Jesus had told Peter, "Drop the nets on the other side," and they took in a great amount of fish. But by that time, Peter no longer wanted the fish, he wanted Jesus. Now, the fisher of fish has leaped off the boat full of fish, chasing a man called Jesus.
And while he's swimming, the closer he gets, the better it smells. Because God says, "For everything you gave up to follow me, I will restore it to you in the next dimension. Everything you think you gave up, I'm going to give it back to you, pressed down, shaken together, running over. You don't have to work for it, you don't have to catch it, you don't have to wash it, you don't have to scale it, you don't even have to cook it. It's a prepared blessing, and I'm waiting on a prepared man to come into a prepared blessing. And I know you're prepared not because you left the boat, not because you left the net, but because you left the fish. I told you you were never a fisher of fish. I called you to be a fisher of men. And I had to put you in an environment where you could choose either way".
The fish on one side, the man is on the other side. God is saying, "Choose ye this day, who will you serve"? When Peter leaped off that boat and started running, it was over. Demons trembled, hell was nervous, Satan was upset. The moment Peter leaped, he leaped from one dimension into the next. Into the next dimension. I wondered, do you know how good this is? Somebody getting ready to leap into the next dimension. After a long struggle of tasting it and not tasting it, and having it and not having it, and sometimes up and sometimes down, and sometimes I've got it together and sometimes I don't, God said you're about to leap into the next dimension.
The thing I like the most about the text is, throughout the rest of the Bible, you never see Peter on the boat again. He never goes fishing again. The rest of the journey, every time you see Peter, he's preaching. On the day of Pentecost, he's delivering the inaugural address for the birthing of the New Testament church. Out of all the apostles, the guy who was cutting off people's ears and cussing folks out ended up one of the first chief apostle of the New Testament church, delivering a message that caused 3,000 people to get saved.
And now he found his net. His net was never in the boat. His net was in his mouth. When he opened his mouth to preach, when he opened his mouth to preach, thousands of souls got caught up in his word and started coming to Jesus. I'm talking about purpose, I'm talking about destiny, I'm talking about dimensions. I'm telling you that what you keep going back to is beneath you, and what he is calling you to is before you. And I don't care if you don't dance, and I don't care if you don't shout. I don't care if you don't run up and down the aisle. The only thing I care about is that you leap into what God has for you.
I'm out of time. It's been a real joy to share the Word of the Lord with you. I'm excited and all fired up about this Word and what God is doing at this season in the body of Christ. I'm being bombarded with emails from people, and all types of texts, and tweets, and everything talking about how God is leading them into unfamiliar territory. They're coming into their calling. We read that Jesus told Peter to discard his nets because he was now a fisher of men. But several times afterwards, Peter went back to his old way of life.
We can be just like that too. We know we've been called by God, but when it gets hard, we can find ourselves living beneath our high calling that God sent us to do, and we can find ourselves digressing back to where we were before. We want to be done with everything, we want to quit. But come into that destiny that he has for you. God's call is disruptive. Sometimes, you will feel like giving up, but don't you do it. Just keep on coming. You will never be the same.