TD Jakes - Faith Under Construction
For faith can only be incubated in the womb of conflict. Those persons whose lives are straight lines with no ripples, no dips, no waves, they can't teach you about faith. You can't be full and have all your needs met and have everything in place and tell me about faith, for if a man seeth that that he hope for, why does he yet hope for it? If you've already got it, you don't have to believe for it. Faith is for people who are just coming a little bit short of attaining the thing they're trying... oh.
And so, they have pronounced a benediction. In their minds they had arranged a funeral. Samson was gone. He was stripped of his power, stripped of his authority, and whenever you get in a vulnerable position people aren't satisfied to see you down. They wanna make sport of your condition. Is there anybody in here who's been down and people made fun of you being down? They laughed at you being down. They didn't even feel sorry about you being down. They thought that your destruction was for their entertainment.
Samson can no longer count on himself. His eyes are gone. His body is bruised. His strength is abated. His confidence is wrecked. His mind is perplexed. His heart is broken. His peace is destroyed. There are no friends with him grinding at the mill, because people only love you when you're going up. Oh, when you're on your way up, you can get friends anywhere. They're a dime a dozen. They'll come from everywhere when you're on your way up, but when you're on your way down even those who said, "I'll never leave you," watch how they run. And there he was, the mighty man, grinding at the mill with the ox.
Now, it's bad to grind at the mill, and it's bad to hang out with the ox, but it's worse when you used to be up. See, we talk a lot about torturing and whether we should or should not torture people. Now, obviously, we should not, but what we don't realize about life is that when you have been up and go down the memory is torture. See, if you never had it you don't know what you lost, but if you had it and then lose it, then you have to live with the memory of how life used to be. Has anybody ever had to live with the memory? Let me try you all. Is there anybody over here that's had to live with the memory of how things used to be?
And he's grinding at the mill. The ox are happy to be there because they have nothing to compare it to, but Samson is tormented where others are happy. This is the conflict that you have when you associate with people who have no hope and no dreams. They are happy to be someplace that is tormenting you. They don't understand why you want to get up. They don't understand why you want more. They try to convince you why you ought to just celebrate and enjoy where you are and make the best of a bad situation, but once you have tasted better bad doesn't work for you anymore. I said once you've tasted better, bad doesn't work for you anymore, and so he's treading at the mill, going around and around like an animal, like an animal. Not an animal, like an animal.
And what is amazing to me is that when they first attacked him, he didn't know that the glory was departed, and now that he is down in this low state he doesn't even know that his faith is growing. Could it be possible that faith doesn't have to inform you? Faith doesn't have to intellectualize. Faith doesn't have to titillate your senses. Faith doesn't have to boggle your mind. Faith doesn't have to convince your intellect that it still exists, but arbitrarily, without him even being conscious of his development, while he was going through the normal issues of life, he didn't even notice that his faith was growing.
I believe that while I'm teaching this series, you think it's just another Sunday morning at the Potter's House. I believe that you don't even realize that while these words are going out into your ears, that your faith is growing in places that it never existed before. And as a pastor of this church, I fully intend to preach the Word of God to you until there is a difference between how you walk out of here and how you walked in here. You won't even know when it happened, but somewhere between the beginning and the end of the sermon something is happening. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, my God. I just saw dump trucks, and I just saw all kinds of cranes and all types of heavy equipment coming in, because somebody's faith is under construction. Somebody's faith is going through a massive renovation. Somebody's convictions are probably starting to stand up like they never stood up before. Touch your neighbor and say, "My faith is growing".
How can you get your faith to grow? I'm beginning to realize I'm not in this thing by myself. This battle is not mine. I've got help you cannot see. I didn't get here by myself. I don't have to stay here by myself. My faith is growing. Look, if you please, at where faith grows. It is not in the cathedral. It's not in the prayer line. It's in the dungeon when all hell is breaking loose and trouble is everywhere and things are getting worse instead of better, and it looks like you keep going down and down and down and down. Everything has left him but faith. Faith will get in the ditch with you. Faith will go into prison with you. Faith will go into divorce court with you. Faith will go in the hospital with you. Faith will go in the nursing home with you and while he is going through his go-through he didn't even notice that he was going up.
I grew up in West Virginia. My grandparents were from Alabama and Mississippi. We saw them once a year. When the other kids went on vacation, they went to London and Rome and Paris. We went to Hattiesburg, in Mississippi. They had catering on the plane. We had tomato sandwiches in the backseat of the car. You take bread and mayonnaise, and you go out in the backyard, and you get some beefsteak tomatoes out of the garden. My kids are looking at me like. We had tomato sandwiches and every year when I'd go down there to see my grandmother she would say to me, "Lord, boy, if you ain't grown". She said to my mom, "Pat, what you feeding these children? They just growing, growing, growing". And I ran back in the room, and I tried to see. You know, I didn't feel like I was eating. Amen to that. But I couldn't see where I was growing, because when you're the one growing you're the last one to realize that you've actually grown. Come on, somebody.
And the Bible says that Samson was conscious that he was grinding at the mill, but he didn't really realize that his hair was growing back and his strength was growing back and his power was growing back, until they got ready to bring him out and make fun of him. See, you don't know how much you've grown until trouble comes back for an encore and says, "I'm gonna do to him what I used to do to him". And all of a sudden something stands up in you and says, "Oh, no". There are some things that once you've been through them, you say, "I will never let you take me back through what you took me through before". Look at somebody and say, "Oh, no. Not this time".
Oh, my God. I feel like preaching now. I said I feel like preaching now, because somebody who's been defeated in the past needs to understand that this time is not going to be like last time. You've got the faith to understand that you went down so that you could come up. You cried so you could rejoice, you mourned so you could dance, you did without so you could overcome, and you ought to tell... Somebody holler, "The fight is on". Come hell or high water, you'll never take me back to the place I was before. I've been through too much to let life whup me again. My faith is stronger than it's ever been. My mind is more tenacious than it's ever been. My soul is more absolute.
So, they let Samson out, and he told the little boy, "Just bless me to put my hands on the pillars". See, faith needs to touch something. Faith needs to make contact with something. That's why God said, "Everywhere your feet trod, I'll give you the land. If you're man enough to walk on it, I'm God enough to give it to you. If you believe enough to put your hands on the pillar, I'll bring the whole house". Shake your fist at your trouble and say, "Wait till I get my hands on you. I've been getting too much teaching. I been getting too much Word. My faith is getting built up and as soon as I get my hands on the impossible, I'm going to do the supernatural".
And they brought him out, and he put his hands on the pillars, a blind man, not moving by sights, but by faith. He lays hold on the pillars and suddenly he begins to pray. "I've got this thing by the foundations". And he says, "I'm going to bring the whole thing... I don't know who I'm preaching to, but whatever that thing is that's got you surrounded and it looks like it's not going to come down, the devil is a liar. God said you're gonna bring the whole thing... touch your neighbor and tell 'em, "It's coming down". The whole thing is coming down. Every brick, every block, every window, every roofing shingle, every nail of your enemy's house, God said, "I will bring it down".
Can you imagine how the Philistines felt when right in the middle of their party they heard a noise? They felt something crack, they felt the floor shake, and they said, "Oh, let's not pay them no attention. That's just some church folk over there making noise. They're just hollering and jumping and shouting again," but they didn't understand that what we do over here is going to affect what happens...
He put his hands on the columns and then he began to exercise this revitalized faith, this faith that had been to hell and back, this faith that was newly constructed in his life, this faith that was freshly renovated in his life. He put his hands on it and the entire system... who am I preaching to? The entire system. Now, y'all was just singing and speaking into the atmosphere. I hope you haven't lost your faith already. Look at somebody and say, "The entire system is coming down". Everything that's been built to mock you, everything that's been built to destroy you, the entire system, brick by brick, block by block, moment by moment, day by day, the entire system...
And the Bible said that Samson killed more enemies in his death than he did in his life. I don't know what you're up against this morning. I don't know what's mocking you or making fun of you. I don't know what's belittling you or laughing at you, but shake hands with seven people and say, "It's coming down. It's coming down. It's coming down. It's coming down. It's coming down, down, down". Somebody doesn't understand why you're happy, but when you have been down and God raises you up and says, "I'm gonna bring the situation down," then you understand why the head shall become the tail and the tail shall become the head. Look at your neighbor and say, "Get ready for a switch". Things are getting ready to shift. I may be down right now, I may be down, I may be down, I may be down. I believe, I believe, I believe I've been through the storm, but I still believe. I cried myself to sleep, but I still believe. I rock myself at night, but I still believe, and I've got a filling that everything, everything...
I just had a thought. Maybe it wasn't the Philistines that brought him down. Maybe God allowed him to go down low enough so that his faith could be built up high enough so that his latter day should be greater than his former day. Therefore we glory in tribulation, for tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. I gotta quick 'cause I'm starting to feel like preaching... What I'm trying to tell you is that your last setback wasn't nothing but a setup for God to show you that if he is for you... I'm gonna quit, but I can tell you something I know for sure. I come this far by faith. I survive by faith. I crawl out of the pits by faith. I laid my hands on the pillars by faith, and I'm telling you right now if you lose the faith you've lost the battle. If you can believe, you can receive everything that God has for you.