TD Jakes - Insightful
Go with me real quick to the book of Ephesians, and I'm gonna show you something that's real good. Ephesians 1:15 through 19. As you turn to it, I'm gonna tell you a little bit about Ephesus. Paul had been working on Ephesus for a long time. He nurtured it. He babied it. He birthed it all by himself. For three and a half years he cried night and day, birthed Ephesus until he got that church established in that city, a city filled with all kinds of wickedness and perversion, but Paul had been effective at planting a seed at Ephesus that he had raised up to power.
After three and a half years of weeping and prevailing and crying, he prophesies to them, Ontario, and he tells them, "After my departure, grievous wolves will come in, devouring the sheep of God. But I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified". And he says to the preacher, "Feed the flock of God, of which the Holy Ghost has made you overseer of". He's setting up a system to sustain, a system to sustain. Write that down: a system to sustain. I don't care what you build. If you don't have a system to sustain it, you're wasting time. He said, "I got to go, but I'm gonna leave you a system to sustain".
Oh, my God. That's so good. I almost shouted myself. You can get married, but do you have a system to sustain? You could have a baby, but do you have a system to sustain? See, we're too caught up in talent in the church. You may be talent, but if you don't have a system to sustain talent is not enough to get you through the world. You need a system to sustain. You can be cute enough to get married, but if you don't have a system to sustain you'll be a beautiful bride and a horrible wife 'cause you don't have a system to sustain. Big, old handsome husband wouldn't work in a pie factory. Baby, when that cute wears off and them lights go out, you'll be looking at Fat Jojo, talking about, "He look like a little teddy bear," 'cause he got a job. Glory to God. "Those are some sexy little rolls you got on you". Yeah, a system to sustain.
So Paul is introducing a system to sustain. He has now left Ephesus, but he's writing back, and he's checking on them to make sure that the wolves have not devoured them, the pastors have fed the flock, and that the Holy Spirit has sustained them. And so, we're reading this very powerful moment in the book of Ephesians chapter 1, verse 15. "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory..." Oh, God, can't hardly read it. I get happy reading it. "May give unto you," watch this, not a check, not a housing development, not more property, not a diamond ring, not a gold tooth, "may give unto you the spirit of wisdom".
This is what you ought to be asking for. You're asking for all of this carnal stuff, but you ought to be asking for the spirit of wisdom. That's what Paul prayed for, that "God may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him". Look at what he values. What you value has a lot to do with how you come out, and then he says - and this is what I wanna get to. "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened". Wait a minute. Hold up. Nobody told me my understanding had eyes. Did you know your understanding has eyes? That means that if your understanding is blind, your perception of your situation, of yourself, of your self-worth, of what you can do and who you can be, you are blind to it not because you don't have outer eyes, but you don't have inner eyes. When you don't have inner eyes, you depend on other people to make you feel valuable, but when you... oh, God! He said, "I'm praying for you that the eyes of your understanding being enlightened".
Oh, God, I can stay on that one phrase all day, because it is not what happens to you that matters. It's what you understand about it. If you don't understand it, if you don't perceive it correctly, you are destined to repeat it. "I pray that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened". Oh, this is so heavy. "I pray that the eyes of your understanding be enlightened".
We just had a big strategy meeting and some of my key staff and other people that I work with at the strategy meeting. When it was over, I was texting just different people, saying, "What did you get out of it? What did you think about the meeting"? What I'm doing is checking the eyes of your understanding. Everybody who's in the same place doesn't see the same thing. How you see it determines whether you can be it. Understanding. Understanding. In all thy getting, get an understanding. Understanding, watch this, is the truth you stand under. Understanding is the truth you stand under, and if the truth you stand under isn't true, you're standing under a lie. You're standing under a lie about you. If you went through something and you didn't understand it correctly, you're standing under a lie.
I'll give you an example. It's a personal example, but I'm gonna use it because I want you to understand what I'm saying. I grew up thinking my father didn't like me. I thought he didn't like me. I thought he liked my brother. He didn't like me. My brother is seven years older than me. The reason I thought he didn't like me - he didn't do nothing, like, weird or crazy to me. He just left me at home and whenever he got ready to do something important he took my brother and left me with my mother, and he died before I got old enough to kick it with him, so here I am 30 years old standing under a truth that wasn't true. It was only when I had my own children that I realized - it wasn't that he didn't like me. I was too young to go where he was trying to take me, but I had years of agony because I was standing under a truth that was flawed because my perception was off.
What you understand about yourself may not be true. I'm 30 years old, sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table with tears in my eyes asking her, "Did Daddy love me"? And she said, "He was crazy about you". What I'm trying to do is correct my understanding. I'm challenging things you understood wrong that affected outcomes in your life, because the eyes of your understanding were not enlightened. Now, you take that bad understanding and lock it up in the vault of your inability to let the inside out and now you've got 50 years of pain over something you didn't even see correctly.
See, some folk love it when you shout. I love it when you get quiet. He said, "I pray for you that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling," these three things. He said, "This is what I'm praying for: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened in three different ways; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling," number two, "what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," number three, "and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty glory". Those are three things that he wanted you to know. I broke them down for you into a form that you can readily understand.
Write these down, three things that I want you to understand. Number one, what does God want from me? That's what the hope of his calling is. What does God want from me? "What do you want from me? How can I feel like I'm pleasing you if I don't know what you want from me"? What does God want from me? Number two, what does God have in me? Whoo! Good God have mercy. That is the riches of his inheritance in the saints. Basically, what does God want from me? Number two, what does God have in me? And number three, what will God spend on me? The exceeding riches of his power to us-ward who believe is what will God spend on me?
Saul, when he starts out, he is going with papers to go down to Damascus to gather up women and men who are calling on the name of the Lord and bring them back to Jerusalem, tied and in chains, to be killed. And he has a group of men following him. He's got some men following him, and he's not blind on the outside, but he's blind on the inside. He is so blind on the inside that he thought he did God's service by killing God's children. See, when you're blind on the inside you call right wrong, and you call wrong right. Though you can see on the outside, he couldn't see on the inside, and he had men following him 'cause he could see on the outside, but he was blind on the inside.
While he's walking in this one-dimensional sight realm, blind in, light out, he saw a greater light than the light he saw even on the outside. The greater light is the light of God. This is a gift. It is a gift when God confronts you. It is a gift when he sabotages your mission, aborts your plan, interrupts what you're trying to do. It's God doing you a favor. The failure is a favor. You understand what I'm saying? You understand what I'm saying? Sometimes God has to knock you off your beast to put you on your feet. Somebody knows what I'm talking about in here. Good God Almighty. Watch this. So, he's laying there on the ground, and he said, "Who is it"? And the voice spoke out of the light, and it says, "It is Jesus whom thou persecutest".
Now, this is important for several reasons. First of all, Paul could not legitimately become an apostle without being an eyewitness to the resurrected Lord, and it is at this moment that he becomes eligible to be considered the replacement for Judas, because had he not seen him in his resurrected state he would fail to meet the criteria to absolutely be an apostle. Just threw that in, so the greater light shines on him, and let me show you something about the greater light. The light that you're walking in seems like light until the greater light comes, and when the greater light comes it shows that what was light is really shadows. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." In order for there to be a shadow, a greater light has to overwhelm the light you're walking in. You understand what I'm saying?
Stay with me. I'm going somewhere. I'm gonna work with these lights. And he's down, and the greater light comes. He says, "It's Jesus whom thou persecutest," and now you can tell he's been exposed to the greater light because the guy who thought he knew what he was doing, "I'm going down to kill the Christians," now says, "What must I do"? Humility is a sign of conversion. When you see somebody who is not humble, they have not been converted. Humility is a sign of conversion. Humility is a sign that you've encountered something bigger than you. Humility means that God has sent a light brighter than the light you were walking in and brought you to your knees.
Watch this. Let me show you this, 'cause this is pretty to me. When he gets up, he couldn't see, but he could. When he got up, he couldn't even see his own men. What happened on the ground is that he who could see on the outside and was blind on the inside now has become blind on the outside so he can see on the inside. Isn't that good? You see that? You see that? Now, he walks away and the men he was leading are now leading him because he lost sight of the world, but his insight is so strong that the man that couldn't find his way to Damascus gives us most of the New Testament, and he said, in essence, "I am willing to give up the light I had for the light I needed on the inside". Insight.
Insight straightened me out. Insight birthed my ministry. Insight started my career. Insight caused me to be the primary writer, contributor of the New Testament Epistles. He by far dwarfs any other writer, and he writes blind on the outside, but sighted on the inside. When he writes to Ephesus, he's now an old man. You would think he would be bitter because he never completely regained his sight. He never completely... scientists try to explain it. They think that lightning struck him. That's what the scientists say about this text, that in all likelihood lightning struck him and that would explain the blindness, but lightning can't talk.
Now, down to the end of his life he does not regret the exchange. He's not wishing for his eyes back. In fact, he's praying for them, "That the eyes of your understanding might be enlightened". He said, "What I see on the inside is more important than what you see on the outside, and instead of you praying for my eyes to be healed, I'm praying for yours to be healed, 'cause the truth of the matter is though you had to lead me around, I can see better than you. You can see out, but I can see in, so I pray that the eyes of your understanding might be in, enlightened, not out light, in light, which is insight, that you might know three things". God, what do you want from me? God, what do you have in me? God, what will you spend on me? He says the answer to these three questions is better than your eyesight.
Paul is teaching what I am teaching to you today. That insight is better than the eyesight. Insight. I can take you, I did three days' preaching in San Quentin. I can take you to San Quentin right now and show you guys with eyesight, but they didn't necessarily have insight. I can find you somebody sleeping up under a bridge who has eyesight, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they have insight. I can show you people that come to church. 20/20 vision. They got eyesight, but no insight.
Sight tests. You go to the eye doctor. You go and do the test. They always check your eyes. If you keep going through the same thing over and over again, and you're 30 years old, and you're still stuck in the same spot, let's check them eyes. If you keep dating the same kind of man expecting a different reaction - If you would do anything for love, if you put yourself on sale over and over again, you don't know what he has in you. You don't value yourself. You're preaching. You're helping me preach. Who is that helping me preach? Come on with it, sis. You dared with me. You don't know your value or your worth and the reason you keep going through the same things over and over again, you may be able to see out here, but you can't see in here. Ladies and gentlemen, insight.