TD Jakes — The Danger of Low Expectation
Hey everybody, I'm excited to be in your home, to be a part of your life, to have an opportunity to invade the darkness with the possibilities and potentials and the impotence of light itself. The word that I bring to you today is revolutionary, it is transformational, and it is necessary. So, fasten your seat belts, open your heart, find your Bible, it's preaching time.
What we have in the text today is a guy who's making the best of a bad situation. He has been lame from his mother's womb, it's all he's ever known, it's all he's ever seen. It's one thing to have walked once, at least you can remember what it was like, but when all you have ever seen is lameness, then you often don't develop an appetite for wholeness. If all you've ever seen is poverty, if all you've ever seen is domestic violence, let me tell you, you like the idea of happily married, but you will pick somebody who's mean, 'cause the nice guy is boring, and the nice guy who fell in love, "Oh, I don't know, he's nice but I'm just not attracted to him".
You're attracted to what you're exposed to, and even though you say you don't want it, you end up wanting what your normal is. "How do I keep getting tied up with the wrong man"? That's the only one you let talk to you. Anybody who treated you too nice, you didn't like 'em, 'cause you didn't agree with them, because any time somebody likes you more than you like you, they turn you off. He was lame from his mother's womb. Any time you have been lame all of your life, broke all of your life, quiet all of your life, intimidated all of your life, insecure all of your life, angry all of your life, surrounded by angry, vicious people all of your life, you develop a norm around a nasty situation.
Has your nasty become normal? He was lame all of his life, so he has built, here's my first word, routine, around his disability. Routine is what you build around what you think you can't change. The Bible says it this way, "Daily, they laid him at the gate called Beautiful". When we woke up in the morning, he didn't even expect to walk, he waited for somebody, "Come get me, come get me, pick me up, carry me out to the spot," and they laid him at the gate called Beautiful daily. When you do something every day, you forget what day it is. Have you ever said, "Is this Tuesday"? 'Cause it looked just like Friday and it feels like Thursday, and you can't tell Thursday from Wednesday. They laid him daily at the gate called Beautiful. Every day he ended up at the same spot.
Have you had a life where every day you ended up at the same spot? You might of wore a green housecoat instead of a gold housecoat, you might have on white shoes instead of red shoes, you might of wore a hat that day, but every day, when it was all over, you ended up at the same spot. You took different jobs, but you ended up at the same spot. You met different women, but you ended up at the same spot. You dated different guys, but you ended up at the same... daily, when it was all said and done, plop, they dropped him in the same spot. Is this Thursday, what day is it? Every day looks the same.
When every day looks the same, the light goes out in your eyes. When every day looks the same, you cease to appreciate morning. What difference does morning make when it's gonna look just like yesterday looked like? Why should I be excited? Why should I prepare for routine? I already know how to do this, carry me out, lay me at the same spot. I don't have to think any more, I don't have to read any more, I don't have to dress any more, I don't have to prepare any more, I am not challenged by life because daily, I end up at the same spot. He was in a routine. He comes and is laid daily at the gate called Beautiful. This gate is Beautiful, 60 feet wide, some say made of gold, others of brass, it was an opulent gate, it was designed to stand out, it was absolutely amazing, an ugly problem at a beautiful place.
Have you ever had an ugly problem at a beautiful place? Oh, I wish I had time to talk about the oxymorons of life. How can I be at a beautiful place and still have an ugly problem? How can everything look so beautiful on the outside and I got a ugly little secret on the inside? How can it be the best of times and the worst of times? Look at the contrast in his life. He has laid daily at a gate called Beautiful, but he has a ugly problem that stops him from getting beyond the gate.
What is a gate? A gate is access. Every day they laid him close to something he couldn't get into. I wanna talk to people who are tired of being close. "I almost got delivered". "I almost got the job". "I almost fell in love". "I almost got out". "I almost got free". Every day, he almost got through the gate. He is laid near daily, at a beautiful gate with an ugly problem. He has laid daily at a place of access that he can't get into. Everybody else was going in, everybody else was going in, but he was going near. It is a frustrating thing to see other people going in and you're just going near. If I'm not gonna go in, I don't wanna see you go in, I don't wanna see nobody go in, everybody just sit out here with me.
Just sit out here, let's roast some hot dogs, sit out here with me. I don't wanna sit by the highway side watching you step into what I only get near to, come on, somebody. I'm not a hater or nothing, but after a while, I get tired of watching y'all go in. Every day, it's a routine, a routine where you see other people going into things that you can't get into, makes you think you're cursed. And if you're not careful, you start to believe, "Maybe it's not for me". "Maybe I'm not supposed to". "Maybe I'm not meant to be happy". "Maybe I'm not meant to be loved". "Maybe I'm not supposed to be married". "Maybe I'm not supposed to have a good ministry". "Maybe they're not supposed to be calling me to preach". "Maybe I'm not supposed to be evangelizing". "Maybe God didn't call me".
Any time you don't go in, you start making excuses, because it hurts to see other people going into what you only get near. And so, excuses comfort incapacity. "I would have been further if my mama hadn't of done," "I would have been further if I'd of known my father," "I would have been". Excuses comfort incapacity. "It's not my fault. They didn't help me, they didn't support me, they didn't love me". Excuses comfort incapacity, because it hurts to see somebody come from your neighborhood and go in, come from your house and go in. They went through what you went through and they made it, now you have to comfort your incapacity with excuses. The Lord wants you to know that you are at the gate. The gate is access and opportunity. Oh, y'all aren't hearing me. That your life doesn't have to be routine, it doesn't have to be normal, it doesn't have to be ritualistic, that you are living the life you expect.
If you want more, you can have more. If you believe for more, you can get more. If you want abundant life, you can have abundant life, but when you make a routine out of being miserable, when you make a routine out of complaining, some of y'all are so used to being dysfunctional, and angry, and frustrated, when you say something nice, you almost scare the kids. "Child, Mama happy today, what's wrong"? Is happy unusual? That mean you are lame at the gate. Don't get mad at me 'cause I'm walkin' through my gates. Ain't no need in you writin', hatin', Tweetin', or anything else, 'cause I'm gonna walk through every gate God gives me. I'm not too old, I'm not too late, I'm not too fat, I'm not too black, I'm not to nothin', if God brings a gate in front of me, excuse me, I'm going in my gate. Somebody make some noise!
So, routine has been fraternized by religion. Religion has been going in and out throwing coins in the cup of a routine, which means you can go to that church for 35 years and not be any better than you were before. You can be arguing about who's gonna sit in this chair and who's gonna sit in that chair, but you're not growing in the Lord, 'cause all you expect is a few coins in your cup. So, routine and religion have been going through this for years, until all of a sudden, here comes relationship comin' up in the routine.
Now, your Bible says Peter and John, but I call Peter and John relationship, because relationship will always wear religion out, it will always step over top of routine, and here comes relationship. I prophesy relationship is coming into your life to upset your routine. Watch this, watch this. It is approximately two or three years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and here comes Peter and John up to the temple. Why Peter and John? Why not Thomas and Bartholomew? Why not Matthew and Luke, why Peter and John? Because every major place Jesus ever went, he always took Peter, James, and John, they had relationship.
When you have a relationship with Jesus, you learn to expect something different every day of your life. If there's anybody in here who's got a relationship with God, give him a praise right now. Here comes relationship. If you would do more than show up at church on Sunday morning, you don't live like a Christian till Sunday, you don't have a relationship with God, you got a religion with church. Until church gets in your Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you're just religious. The lame man is routine, he's laid daily at the gate.
The temple is religion, they had only dropped coins in his cup. Relationship walked up to him and said, "Silver and gold have I none," now watch this. He's standing in front of a gold door, relationship says I'm not flashy, I'm not impressive, but I know who I am. I don't have no silver and I don't have no gold, but such as I have, give I unto thee. I know you are used to people dropping a little silver in your cup, but I got something better than anything that ever hit your cup. I need a thousand crazy people that are expecting God to do something better.
The admission, "Silver and gold have I none," says this is gonna be beyond the realm of your expectations. You have been functioning at a lower level of expectation, so you have been receiving on the level of your expectation. You expected to receive something, you are used to getting a few gold or silver coins. I am not going to play into your expectations. It is not about them being broke, it is about dimensions. They would not have gone to the temple broke, because giving was a part of the worship experience. They are too steeped in their understanding of faith to come to church broke. It is not about them being broke, it is about dimensions.
You are expecting on a lower dimension. I didn't come to give you silver, I didn't come to give you gold, I didn't come to give you silver and gold because silver and gold will not fix your problem. I will not give you what will not work. "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I unto thee". They said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth".
Look at this, oh God, Jackie, they didn't pray for the man, they didn't kneel down beside him and say, "Father, if it by thy blessed will, oh God, I come to you because there's no other help I know. Oh Lord, this brother been layin' here for a long time, but I know you got the power to raise him up. And oh Lord, touch his feeble body". They didn't pray for him at all, they didn't even talk to God about him, they didn't ask God to do nothing, they spoke to his condition. Hey, and they said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk".
Let me show you why they didn't pray, because if you pray over it, and it doesn't work, you can blame God. "Well, I guess the Lord didn't hear that prayer. I guess it's not the Lord's will. Maybe it's not the right time, maybe I didn't have enough faith," but they commanded his condition. They spoke to the circumstance and said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk". Now, you know why people don't do that today?
Let me tell you why they don't do it. Suppose it don't work, you just said all that big stuff, suppose it don't work, suppose it don't work. "I'm not gonna tell anybody that I'm gonna get up, because suppose it doesn't work". I'm not gonna tell anybody I'm gonna do better, because suppose it don't work. I'm not gonna tell anybody I'm a Christian, I'm gonna start going to church, but I'm not gonna witness, because suppose it doesn't work. I'm not gonna command nothing, I'm not gonna say I deserve better, I'm not gonna command that I be respected, I'm not gonna change my life and tell nobody, suppose it don't work. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, somebody shouted, "Rise up, rise up, rise up and walk".