TD Jakes - The Discipline of Doing
A lot of times in Scripture, to bring out scriptural revelation, the metaphors are often agricultural. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". Agriculture terms. "There will always be day and night, seed time and harvest". "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abide alone, but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit". Agricultural terms. Occasionally, God uses architectural terms. Architectural terms imply that there is going to be a lot of work involved in order for there to be a building. It's one thing to plant a seed and watch it grow. It's another thing to build something from the ground up. There's gonna be some sweat equity, there's going to be some work involved. There's gonna be some tenacity required in order to build something from the ground up.
People don't like building too much. They don't like building too much. They kind of like to buy something, you know? Buy something ready, ready, just move in, turn the lights on, "I'm ready". Building can be stressful. I heard my pastor when I was a little boy, they built the church up on Vandeggen. He, after he did it once he said he would never do it again. He said, "Building is for young men," and I didn't know what he meant. But I understand now what he meant. And if you don't understand it, you haven't built nothing. By the time you get through going through the stress and the headache and the aggravation and the disappointments and the regulations and the committees and the zonings and the permits and the runaway contractors and you have to be up for the task if you're gonna build.
When you build now, you build first by design and then by reality. You get an architect and he draws it out and when the drawing looks right, then the hammering and the nailing and the digging and the pouring begin. But nobody likes to build without a vision. Brothers and sisters, Jesus really isn't so much teaching us how to build a house. He's really telling us how to build a life. And his concern is that people have a tendency to hear more Word than they do. They love to come hear the Word. "Oh, where you going"? "I'm going to hear the Word". "Oh, yes, yes. I'm going to Dr. Dulcock's church 'cause he can really preach the Word and I love to hear the Word. I love to hear the Word. I love to hear the Word. I drove 45 minutes this morning to come hear the Word. Glory to God. Oh, I see him on Twitter. Oh, Bishop was on this morning. He was on fire. He was preaching the Word. Love the Word, God's Word. Love to hear the Word".
But Jesus is saying that hearing the Word doesn't necessarily build a house. Now, understand faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I know, I know if you hear it you'll get faith but what does faith have to do with it if you're not gonna do anything? Jesus says to them, "I don't want you to just hear the Word. I want you to do the Word. I don't want you to just hear about healing. I want you to go out there and lay hands on the sick. I don't want you to just hear about victory. I want you to walk out the door and walk in victory. I don't want you to just hear that I'm gonna bless you. I want you to walk in the blessing. I don't want you to just hear about loving your neighbor. I want you to practice on somebody that gets on your nerve. I don't want you to just"...
Oh, I'm losing 'em, Lord. It's gonna be tough this morning. I don't want you to just hear it so you can throw Scriptures at everybody else. I want you to actively engage in the process of trying to do what you hear because when what you believe infiltrates your behavior, that's what gives you foundation. When what you believe infiltrates behavior, the process gives you foundation. Oh, yeah, you got me. The process, that's what I'm after. The process gives you foundation. When what you believe infiltrates behavior, the process gives you foundation. When what you believe infiltrates behavior, the process gives you foundation. It is not just the hearing of the Word, nor is it the doing of the Word, it is the process of doing the Word that gives you foundation. It is the struggle.
They don't hear me. It is the struggle. It is the wrestling. It is the praying. It is the pulling. It is the trial. It is the temptation. It is the stumbling and falling and getting back up again. It is the aggravation and the intimidation that gives you foundation. It's not just the mechanical influence of robotically doing the Word. It is just that as you go to do it, you learn things about God that you didn't know. You learn things about yourself that you didn't know. You learn how to go through aggravation and heartache. You learn how to deal with obstacles and situations and while you're trying to do and carry out what he told you to do, all of a sudden you're going deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper and so if he gave it to you without letting you build into it, you wouldn't be prepared for it.
It is the process that gives you the power. It is the rejection and the alienation and the intimidation that drives you down to your knees when you say, "I thought I had this and I thought I had that and I thought I had the other. But if Mama don't go, if Daddy don't go, if sister, brother, don't go". So he says, "When you do it," he said, "doing is digging. Doing is digging". If you look at the text, doing is digging. He said, "When you do the Word, you are like the man who dug down to the rock". When you start doing what God tells you to do, there is an inevitable digging process where everything that isn't solid has to get out of your way for you to be able to do what, this is the process when friends leave.
See, I gotta tell you this because it will look like the devil has gotten loose in your life but it's not the devil, it's the shovel. And when the shovel starts digging down, everything starts moving. I wanna talk to somebody who's getting a lot of movement in your life. Everything's moving. Things you thought would never move are moving. Look at somebody and say, "I got some digging going on". He's digging me out, he's digging my friends out, my circumstances, my situation. He's teaching me to shut my mouth, teaching me to hold my peace, teaching me to chain, but has God stuck a shovel in your life? Digging past your fear, digging past your insecurity, digging past how you see yourself. Digging past your limitations. Digging you all the way down. He's gonna dig. He's gonna dig. He's gonna keep on digging. He's gonna keep on digging. He's gonna keep on digging until he hits rock.
Oh, hallelujah. I'm about to get happy in here, hallelujah. Touch somebody and tell 'em, "I got rock in there somewhere". I know I look fragile. I know I look insecure. I know I look intimidated and I know my hands are shaking and I know I'm nervous and I know I don't look like I got much confidence in me, but if you back me in a corner I got rock up in me somewhere. Is there anybody in here that knows to got rock somewhere? Yeah, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
The discipline of doing says there is no shortcut to excellence. You just can't fast-track it. In this instant age we live in, we have lost any understanding of slow preparation. In this microwave, shake-n-bake, 30-minute quick serve, soup-in-a-cup generation, we have lost all sense. I bet you at least 30% of the people in here have never tasted a slow-cooked grit. They don't even know, they have never had anything but instant oatmeal. I bet you 30% of the people in the room have never had anything but Jiffy cornbread. In this Jiffy, instant, quick, easy serve age, when you get into something that requires slow cooking and stability, you think that the devil has gotten loose in your life. "But they that wait upon the Lord".
I've never seen whether here or Dallas, pier and beam or traditional foundation, somebody walk up and say, "Ooh, that's the most beautiful pier and beam I've ever seen. Ooh, look at how lovely that foundation is". No, most of all, they can't see it. The underground work must be done before aboveground exposure. I wrote a book years ago, I wish I had waited and wrote it over now 'cause I could write it so much better now than I wrote it at the time. I wrote a book, "Can You Stand to be Blessed"? "Can You Stand to be Blessed"? Can you stand up to it? You busy talking about give it to me, give it to me, but can you stand? Can you stand to be blessed? Can you stand up to it? It's not are you talented enough? It's not are you gifted enough? Can you stand up to all the things that come from it? Can you stand?
And see, everybody wants to do the aboveground work because the aboveground work is the pretty stuff. "Oh, look at the stone, and look at the windows, and look at the steeple and look at the doors. Look at this and look at the landscape. Oh, the landscaping. Have you ever seen such landscaping in all your life? Oh, the interior decorating was just absolutely amazing". That's the stuff that gets you the handclaps, it's for the aboveground work. But it does not matter how beautiful things are above ground if there's all kind of craziness beneath the ground. Eventually everything aboveground will sink if you don't put the effort underground. You have to have discipline to do that. You have to be willing to work in places people don't see. You have to be willing to take the time that is necessary to prepare the foundation even the more when you believe God is going to do something great in your life. The work goes down before the building goes up.
Now, imagine, his neighbor across the street is building twice as fast because his neighbor across the street, he just started building straight up. Didn't dig it out, didn't dig it out. Just started building up. I realize now that there wasn't so much difference in the soil. The difference was in the prep. I used to say, "One man builds his house on the sand, and the other man built it on the rock, but I overlooked the fact that the guy who built on the rock did not build on the rock because the rock was there, he built on the rock 'cause he dug to the rock.
So you can build a rocky house in a sandy place. Oh, you don't see. See, I used to think this was a soil test but when I realized that the man who built on the rock had to dig to hit it, I realized that this test is not about soils. Neither one of them found the soil conducive to build what they were trying to build. It's just that one man was willing to dig down and the other man was impatient and wanted to go up. See, the guy who built the house on the sand had the option of building it on the rock if he was gonna put the discipline in to dig down deep enough. Somewhere beneath the sandy shore there will always be rock but most people don't have the discipline to deal with the sandy stuff to get to the rock in you. If you don't come prepackaged, they get rid of you because there's too much work.
Oh, y'all don't wanna talk to me. The problem then is not the conditions, it's the discipline. Both of 'em stepped into soil that was not conditioned for what they were building. One of them dug through it because he understood the power of foundation, and the other one didn't think it mattered that the soil wasn't ready for what his vision had seen. So when we are doers of the Word, we will dig for the rock. If you are hearers of the Word, you go for the promise without the preparation but in being a doer of the Word you will prep for the promise because you know the promise is big enough that it justifies preparation so that when it does appear, it will not disappear. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, somebody in here understands what I'm talking about.
Look at somebody and say, "I'm working on something". I'm working on something. I'm working on something. I know it doesn't look like I'm working on something 'cause you don't see no bricks and you don't see no fancy doors yet. You don't see no gables yet. But I'm working on something. I know it looks like I got a big old hole in my yard but I'm working on something. I know I don't have shrubs like he got, I don't have roses like she has, I don't have stone walls like he has. That's all right. I'm looking shabby but I'm working on something. When I get through digging down to this rock, as soon as I hit a... oh my God.
I don't know who I'm preaching to but I feel like I'm talking to somebody in this room. God is saying it is worth it to hit the rock. It is worth it to look bad for a little while and come up looking good for a lifetime than to look good for a minute and come down in a flash. Ohh, slap your neighbor and say, "It's worth it". It's worth it. I learned in the doing. I learned in the struggling. My strength tolerance increases. My ability to handle pain increases. My wisdom increases. My ability to deal with haters increases. I'm tougher now. I'm stronger now. I got more fight, got more fire, got more wisdom. I wish there was somebody in this room. I need some slow-cooked people in this room. I need some people that have been through hell and back.
Now, can I go a little bit deeper with this? Look at your neighbor and say, "Something's about to happen here". There's a principle I want you to see and this is where I think we preachers messed up. In the prep of the 21st century church we kind of messed 'em up. We didn't do the job that our parents did. See, our parents taught you to suffer. They taught you to do without. They prided themselves on making you have a hard time. And we hated it so that we wanted to make it easier for our children but we messed you up because we didn't understand that there's something about the struggle. There's something about calluses in your hands. There's something about having to work after school. There's something about having to catch the bus and cut the grass and struggle in the storm. It makes you tough. Oh, y'all ain't gonna help me preach this morning.
So as parents we messed it up 'cause we took the discipline out of the process. As preachers we messed it up because we taught you name it and claim it; declare it, it's yours. We taught you just to speak the Word and you can have it. Positive confession and it will come to pass. But that was wrong because we taught you to build houses without foundation. We taught you to go out in the parking lot and walk around the car and claim the car, but we should have taught you about the car payments. We taught you to lay hands on the house and say it's yours, but we should have taught you about interest rates. Y'all don't hear what I'm saying. If we would have taught you about interest rates, we wouldn't have these check-cashing companies. We wouldn't have these credit card lenders. But because you want it without process, people will destroy you. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying. I feel the Holy Ghost in this place. Slap your neighbor and say, "Work for that thing". Sweat for that thing. Labor for that thing. Cry for that thing. Crawl for that thing. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.