TD Jakes — You are Blessed and Highly Favored
Hey everybody, I'm so excited to have this opportunity to be in your home, to share the infallible, enriched Word of God with you. It just gives me great joy, and I pray it's going to bless you in a special way. Today, we're going to be talking from the message "You Are Blessed and Highly Favored". But before you start shouting, I want you to understand that being blessed and highly favored doesn't mean that your plans are going to go the way you want them to go. In fact, it's just the opposite. Many, many times, God disrupts everything that you had in mind, totally tears up your plans, and goes in a completely different direction. To be blessed, to be highly favored is to have the liquidity of thought to be able to let go of what you thought was going to happen, and to embrace what God wants to do in your life. It may be a shift, it may be a turn, but God has a plan, and it's better than yours. Take a look at this and be blessed.
Luke 1:28. And my subject is "You Are Blessed and Highly Favored". Stand, please. "And the angel came in unto her, and said, 'Hail, thou art highly favored.'" That's good. Sound real good to me. I like to be favored. Don't you like to be favored? Of all the people in the world, you're favored. That means you've been selected, you've been chosen. You have exceeded the rest. You are in a category all by yourself. You have been highly favored. Theologically, it means you have been highly graced. Watch the interchange between grace and favor. "And Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and Noah was highly favored". To be favored is to have grace. The grace that set you apart.
Sometimes, you win and you can't take credit for it. It's just grace. If you manage to hold your marriage together, you can't look down your nose at people who didn't. 'Cause you're looking over at sweetie pie now thinking, "It's just grace, honey". Yeah. If you raise good children and they turned out good, don't talk about somebody else's. 'Cause nobody has the secret sauce to raising excellent kids. Just grace and highly favored. Get through school, walking over to get your degree, and you know all them tests, and those exams, and them finals, just grace. You've been highly favored. "The Lord is with thee". That's good news too. "Blessed art thou among women". You're in a class all by yourself.
I want to talk about "Are You Blessed and Highly Favored". I'm doing it in part because we don't do it too much now because y'all are the modern, contemporary, edgy, 21st century church, but I grew up in the storefront, in the sanctified church, hand clapping, foot stomping, devil chasing, cancer rebuking, fire baptized church of the living God. The kind of church where the name was longer than the building. The kind of church where nobody said hello, and if you said hello, you were a sinner. You said what? "Praise the Lord". You answered your phone at the house, "Praise the Lord," till it was a bill collector. And the old saints, when you asked them how they were doing, they didn't say they were good, or they were fine. They said they were blessed and highly favored.
So, I want to know, are you blessed and highly favored? Whenever God gives you a word, it's going to take faith because the Word never addresses the obvious. The Word never comes to tell you that that you already know. The Word comes into your life to reveal something that will require faith to execute, "For faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". So, the Word doesn't come to tell rich people they're rich. The accountant can tell you that. The Word comes to tell poor people, "You're rich". The Word is a contradiction to a circumstance. It comes to weak people and says, "You're strong".
The Word comes in direct contradiction to your circumstance and how you see yourself. And whenever the Word comes, faith has to come right in behind it, for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. I don't need faith to know I'm a man. I don't need faith to know I'm African-American. I don't need faith to know what I know. I need faith to know what I don't know. And without faith, I won't be able to receive the Word of God.
First R, receiving. Receiving the Word of God, receiving the in-obvious, receiving the abstract, receiving the ridiculous. The angel came to challenge her circumstance, and to tell her, "You shall bring forth a son, and his name shall be called Jesus. And he shall save his people from their sins". Now, we can come out here and put a big manger up in front of the church, and sing kumbaya, and rehearse the story, and go home and eat chitlins or whatever. But the Word doesn't come so that we'll have another historical account of a biblical story for recitations to children. The Word comes that we might learn how to live in a contemporary society with ageless principles.
So, what are the principles that this story comes to teach us? That whenever God calls you something that you are not, you become what he said because he said it. The angel doesn't say, "Hail Mary, you're going to be blessed. Hail Mary, you're going to be highly favored". He says, "You are highly favored". Right now, yes sir, help me preach that thing this morning. Right now, you are highly favored. You shall bring forth a son. His name shall be called... I don't feel pregnant. I don't seem pregnant. I don't feel any physical signs that I'm pregnant. "That's why I came, to tell you that there won't be any signs. There won't be any sounds. There won't be any witness. But I'm going to bring it to pass". In fact, that's how you know God did it, when there is no evidence but his Word.
And she struggled to receive the Word. How can these things be, seeing as I know not a man? That's our biggest problem with receiving the Word of God. We seem to be hooked on the validation of men. And if we don't get the validation and the commendations of men, we have trouble believing God's Word. How can I be rich when man says I'm poor? How can I be strong when man says I'm weak? How can I be the head when my friends say I'm the tail? How can I be above when my situation looks beneath? How can I be an overcomer when it looks like everything has pressed me down? How can I have peace when I feel so confused? How can I have joy when I've been going through a season of depression?
The angel said, "That's why I came, to tell you that your circumstances are lying, your conditions are not true. What you feel doesn't matter. Your flesh will not confirm it. Your emotions will not validate it. Your friends will not collaborate it. Humanity will not condone it. But you are highly favored". And what God is getting ready to do in your life, he will not need a partner, a board, a committee. He will not need a man. He's just going to bring it to pass all by himself. He's going to do it through your lonely self, your empty self, your lacking self, your troubled self.
Your situation doesn't confirm it, but God's going to... how can these things be, seeing as I know not a man? You don't need to know nobody. You don't need anybody to authorize it, organize it, give you credentials, lay hands on you, say it's going to happen, validate it, stand with you, put their support behind you. They don't have to vote for you. They don't have to believe in you. They don't have to like you. They don't have to confirm it. They don't have to support it. If God said it, that settles it.
To me, it was something about the leaping of the baby that gave her strength for the second R. The second R is resilience. And Shaddai. You have to go from receiving to resilience because now you're in process. And in order to get through process, you have to be resilient. What I like about God, God won't ask you to be resilient without giving you hope. So, he let then have this meeting to give her some encouragement that you're on the right track so that when you go back into discouragement, you would have something to encourage yourself with. Say, "I don't know how this is going to turn out, but I do know that I'm onto something. 'Cause when I went in there and kissed cuz, it was some leaping going on in there".
Some of y'all get that by coming to church. When all hell is breaking loose, you come to church, and something is said or done that makes your baby leap. And even though you got to go to work Monday and deal with the same stuff you were dealing with before, Sunday makes it a little bit better 'cause your baby leaped on Sunday. So, you can go in there and face all them haters, and say, "Good morning, welcome to JC Penneys". Because once you are strengthened on the inside, the things that happen on the outside don't bother you because your baby done leaped. When your baby leaped, you can sustain yourself.
Let me quit, I feel like preaching. The devil said, "Okay, okay, okay. I couldn't stop her from receiving it, and I couldn't stop her from being resilient," he said, "but I ain't through. I got another test. See how favored she is now. I'm going to give her the third R, rejection". See, being favored doesn't mean you don't need resilience. Being favored doesn't mean you won't be rejected. But you've got to... that's why the angel told you. The angel wouldn't have told you if your circumstances would have validated it. The angel told you so you'd have something to hold onto while you were going through rejection so that none of these things would move you from what you believe.
"Get back on the horse, Mary. We going to find something". "Ahh, Joseph, I can't wait much longer". "That's all right, baby, we're going to find something". Now, she got to trust the guy who was about to divorce her. And she's vulnerable now because the baby is heavy. "Ahh, Joseph, we don't have much longer". "Wait a minute, I see a place over there. Let me try that. Mister, my wife is going into labor". "I'm sorry, no room". God, what am I going to do? Now, I'm not sure I can do justice with the final trimester of pregnancy. I can imagine it. But she says real... but all the women, you got this, don't you? Except she wasn't on no donkey in Palestine with no anesthesia and no pre-natal care. So, add that in there so you get that.
I'm going to tell you what it feels like to be the man, and the family's in a crisis, and you can't deliver. I'm going to tell you what it is to go back home and look at need, and can't produce. I'm going to tell you the pressure that comes on your heart when you recognize you are running out of time, and you told her, "I got your back". And you wish somebody had yours, and you running out of time. "Ahh, Joseph". And you Joseph, and you can't do nothing. There's some men in this room right now who know what I'm talking about. "Ahhh". But you had to go back to the donkey and say, "We got to make do," and saddle up the people you love on top of something you hate into a something you can't fix, and keep on riding.
That's what being a man is. I say you're a man even though you didn't get it in the end. I say you're a man even though you didn't fix the problem. I say you're a man even though you couldn't do what you wanted to do this year. I say you're a man, you know why? Because you stayed. "Ohh," she birthed the thing that would birth her. "Ahh," she delivered the thing that would deliver her. "Ahh," she pushed out the baby that would push her out of sin. She nursed the child that would nurse her. She held the one that would hold her. She blessed the one that would bless her. You see, the reason the devil doesn't want you to birth what God put in you is because, as soon as you get through birthing it, it's going to birth you. Everything I ever delivered always turned around and delivered me.
She birthed the final R, redemption. She redeemed in delivery what would redeem her in crucifixion. The thing that's in you right now will deliver you. This is what I want you to see. God doesn't need anything in me to deliver the thing that's in you. When you push out what's in you, you will meet your deliverer. Or let me say it to you in Bible language. Your gift will make room for you, and bring you before great men. My gift will not make room for you. My gift will make room for me. the most my gift can do is help you to birth your gift. Your gift will make room for you so that when the room is made, I don't get the credit.
Isn't this all about room? Isn't the rejection about room? Isn't Joseph's portrayal about his room having the capacity to handle a woman who was pregnant in a way he didn't understand? Didn't the innkeeper say that they had no room? And once she birthed the Christ, did he not make room for her? What are you carrying inside of you that would answer the prayer you've been praying? The prayer you have been praying will only be answered when you release the promise you've been carrying. The answer to your prayer is in your promise. And the only question is, are you blessed and highly favored? I don't know whether you're in the receiving stage, the resilience stage, the rejection stage, or the redemption stage, but if you are, if you are, you are blessed and highly favored.
We're out of time, we've got to stop there, but it's been a real joy sharing the Word of the Lord with you. Being blessed and highly favored is an amazing promise from God to all believers. However, sometimes life gets really tough, and you must be determined in your own heart just to believe God's Word, and be resilient, and just push your way through. The Bible tells us we'll need to prepare ourselves for rejection. But remember now, God has a plan. He wants you to press on in faith and keep using the gifts he's placed inside of you. That's what makes you successful. God's promise of favor will never, ever fail.