TD Jakes - Blessed Outside Your Comfort Zone
Listen to this. At the moment that they were about to possess the Promised Land, was also the moment that they run into the biggest crisis. Isn't it funny how it can be the best of times and the worst of times all at the same time in your life? Isn't it funny how things can be going so wonderful on this side and all hell can be breaking loose. Look, you read it but I think you read over it. Let me break this down to you so you can see this. Here they are, about to possess the Promised Land, with no experience to match up with the opportunity. Sometimes, an opportunity is not a blessing if you're not prepared for it. Yeah, it's a terrible thing for the door to swing open and you're not prepared to go in.
They wouldn't have been afraid to fight. Their fathers could fight. They fought against the Amalekites that wrestled them and beat them half to death. But now they're getting ready to come up against Jericho, Jericho. Jericho is greatly shut up. Walls all around the city. Jericho was so advanced that they had chariots running around the tops of the walls. The wall was so thick that a chariot could ride around in it. And these are a bunch of farmers, wandering in a wilderness, about to fight the fight of a lifetime with no experience. And if that were not enough, it is at Gilgal that Joshua goes out, easy, brothers, and gets a flint stone and sharpens it to a knife to circumcise all the men.
Now you already can't fight. See, the sisters are still comfortable but the brothers are, like... circumcision is important in the Bible. Circumcision is a sign of the covenant. Circumcision is a sign of the covenant. Means that I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. It was a sign of the covenant. It is not the covenant but it is a sign of the covenant. It gives me distinction in the Old Testament from a covenant person and a non-covenant person. It starts with Abraham and Abraham bore in his body a sign that he was in covenant with God. Circumcision is quite important. In the New Testament, it is typified by baptism. It is a symbol of the putting away of the filth of the flesh, the filth of the flesh. The part that serves no real purpose, the part that has no reproductive properties in it. Just flesh. No life in it, just flesh.
Isn't it funny how something that has no life in it can still cause so much pain? Let me break it down. Isn't it funny how a relationship that has no life in it can still cause so much pain? It's hard to give up stuff even when the stuff you're giving up is something you don't need. I ain't gonna mess with you. I ain't got time to really mess with you like I want to. But I have to educate you for you to understand that in the Scriptures, circumcision is normally done by the father to the son. So the text takes the time to tell you the reason Joshua, who is not their father, has been left with the task of circumcising them is because their fathers had died in the wilderness and had died without circumcising their sons.
Okay, watch this. According to the Scriptures, they should have been circumcised at eight days old. But when you don't get what you should have got when you was a boy, it is so much more painful to have to go back as a man and try to fix a boy problem. Oh, y'all ain't gonna talk to me. Y'all not gonna talk to me. Y'all not gonna talk to me. Oh my God. And here they are, oh, and now Joshua's having to go back and fix what their fathers should have done. But the good thing about God is that even if you didn't get what you should have got when you should have got it, God has a way of making it up to you. Somebody in here knows what I'm talking about. "I didn't get it but I made it anyway. I had to crawl by myself but I made it anyway. I had to deal with my own issues but I made it anyway". Ain't it funny how God will bring somebody in your life to replace what you didn't get when you should have got it? That's why I give him the praise. I don't praise him for my watch. I don't praise him for my house. I praise him for his mercy and I praise him for his grace.
See, you're too close to where you're going and God said, "I can't let you go in, in the shape that you're in. So I had to bring you to Gilgal so I could fix some stuff. And if you let me fix it for you, your eyes have not seen, your ears have not heard, what God will do in your life if you can just get this fixed". But I should tell you that fixing stuff hurts. Being angry is easier than saying, "I'm sorry". Sometimes when you have to go back and fix some stuff it hurts because your flesh has got to die. And even though you don't need it, sometimes it hurts to lose your toys. Toys, Temptations Of your Youth, T-O-Y, your toys.
So here they are, my friend, and they have come to Gilgal which the place gets its name from what happened. It means circle. It's the place where the circle of their flesh was cut, preceding their next move of destiny. It's the place where they recovered what they didn't get in their past so that they could be released to go into their future. But the problem is they are now here and they are hurting. And the Bible says that they stayed at Gilgal while they healed over what they lost. At a time when most preachers are telling you what all God will give you, I wanna tell you about what he will take from you. It's not popular and it probably won't sell no CDs but on your way to glory, whoo, there's some stuff that he will cut away. Some stuff you thought you would never lose, but it has to go for what he's going to do next in your life. And he will not be your Santa Claus and just keep giving you stuff to play with without making you man up and cut away what is standing in between you and your real destiny and your purpose. Somebody holler, "Cut it away".
I want you to say something, that losing stuff is only a sign that something better is coming. They got cut. They got hurt. They had to heal up because something better was coming. The next element of the text says that when they got healed they ate the corn of the Promised Land. And when they tasted of what was in front of them. Have you ever had God give you a foretaste of a place that you hadn't quite got to in your life? I call it a vision. You're not there yet but you can see. See, I believe if you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible. You can't help people that can't see nothing. But if you can see something, you can be whatever you can see.
Lord, come here, come here, come here, I don't wanna be hooked up with somebody who can't see nothing because they will drag me down. Give me somebody who can see. Ask your neighbor, "Can you see it? Can you see it? Can you see it"? I'm almost where I wanna be. I'm almost where I wanna be. But what I want you to understand is that the moment that they tasted the corn in front of them, the manna that they had been eating ceased and the Lord said, "Don't be afraid when your old blessing stops because it's only a sign that your new blessing".
So now let's set the stage. We got a bunch of young men who have no skills that match up with their situation. They are poorly equipped for where life is taking them. They're trying to be something that they don't know how to be. And nothing is funnier than seeing a little boy with his daddy's shoes on, clomping around in the house, playing the role, acting like something on the outside that you're not on the inside. And ain't that what most of us is doing? Playing a role, acting like something on the outside that isn't happening on the inside. And so God brings them to Gilgal so that the inside can catch up with the outside. Because when your persona gets bigger than the person, then who you have become will kill who you are, because all of your accomplishments have nowhere to rest when your accomplishments get bigger than you. So he brings them to Gilgal so that they can catch up with their own life. Because sometimes, life gets to moving too fast.
Now, here is the situation. They have no skills to go forward but they have the situation to go forward. They have just undergone a painful surgery, to say the least. And they've had a job change, a provision change. They're not getting it where they used to get it and now they're getting it someplace new. And God says, "You have to make a choice: Either you're going to resort back to your old place and remain comfortable and miss the opportunity or you're gonna have to want it bad enough to get out of your comfort zone". Every major blessing I have ever gotten in my life always made me uncomfortable. It was never in my comfort zone. It was always so far out of my comfort zone that now I'm addicted to being uncomfortable. If it don't scare me, I don't wanna do it. If it ain't edgy and half crazy, I'm not interested in it. But if it's something that I can't pull off by myself and I gotta stay up at night and I gotta pray my way through it, then I'm ready to do it because I found out that if God is on your side...
I'm gonna quit telling y'all all my business. So here he is at the Promised Land but the Promised Land requires that you forsake your comfort to attain your destiny. And that's why most people never evolve. Because they will not pay the price of being uncomfortable. Excellence requires discomfort. So here they are. They've come and it was about 3 o'clock in the morning, he said, "Tell my people you're gonna be sore but you're still gonna get there". Wait a minute. "You're gonna have to learn how to be satisfied with the new cuisine because I will no longer feed you through the places that I once fed you but you're still gonna get there".
And for the first time in my life, I understood the Walls of Jericho. You remember the plan God gave him at Jericho? It is the only city in the Bible that was taken through this plan. He says, "I want you to march around the wall once a day for 6 days. Go around once and go back and sit down". I never took in consideration that these boys had just come out from under the knife and if they'd have had to fight their way in, they would not have been ready for the battle. Suddenly, I realize that God has taken my pain into consideration.
Now, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. All you functional people don't understand what I'm talking about. But all you dysfunctional people, you know what I'm talking about. Because God said, "I know you're dysfunctional. I know you're not well yet. But if you'll follow my advice, I've got a strategy for a wounded man to still take the city". So all you well folk, y'all just give us dysfunctional folk a moment to give God a praise. He said, "I know you're too sore to fight so I've devised a plan that if you'll just walk for me, don't walk too far, because you're gonna get the victory one step at a time. And at the end of the first walk, take a rest. And on the 7th day, when you're feeling better, I know you can't fight good, but the battle is not yours. It belongs to the Lord". And he said, "If you will shout, I will give you the city".
Now, y'all don't understand this. Some of the biggest business deals, acquisitions, I've ever done I have done them through the Joshua principle. Everybody else was fighting in the flesh but I was fighting in the Spirit. So while they were trying to undermine me on the outside, sometime I had to run in the bathroom and pray on the inside. But when praises go up, blessings come down. I don't know who I'm preaching to but this year is gonna take you out of your comfort zone. When you get there, don't fight in your flesh, but fight in the Spirit and, if you call on the name of the Lord, He will deliver you!