TD Jakes - In the Presence of Beasts
See, fasting is preparation for temptation, because fasting prepares the body for denial. It is an announcement to the body that "no matter how you send me urges, I will not respond. Body, this is a dress rehearsal. You are not in charge. I can feel the craving and resist the response. This is a rehearsal. This is not the temptation. This is the preparation for the temptation so that when I get in the throes of the temptation, I have already trained you that just because I hear ya knocking, don't mean you get to call me in". You see how quiet the church got when I got to that? 'Cause I'm talking foreign stuff. I'm talking that old stuff that nobody does anymore. If I'd have preached that 25 years ago, they'd have shouted me down. But now, if you don't preach about praise and you coming out, the whole church gets quiet because we are good on the coming out part. But then when we gotta go in to something, we are failing miserably because we do not have the character to withstand the attack of temptation. And we think that God is not delivering us. We want him to deliver us from temptation, but if God delivers you from temptation, how is in temptation? He can deliver us from evil.
You can pray, "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver us from evil", but if God delivers you from temptation, then temptation is not temptation. "Lord, deliver me from sweets". Now, if he delivers me from sweets, either he moves the sweets or he takes away my desire for the sweets. In either case, I cease to be tempted because it is not there or I do not want it. Uh-oh, I'm getting into something. Because some of you have got your whole life on hold, waiting on God to deliver you from lusts and cravings and temptations, and you're waiting on God to deliver you because you think that whatever flesh wants, flesh oughtta get. So much so that you say, "If you still want it, it's a sign you're not delivered". Maybe you're not supposed to be delivered. Maybe you're just born this way. Maybe you got a right to have it. Because you're so used to getting whatever you want that the fact that you want it means that you oughtta get it because you have never been denied anything at any time. Mama let you do whatever you wanna do. Flesh gets whatever it wants to get, and now you're dealing with God like he is your mama, but God is not your mama.
We have raised a generation where denial is a foreign thing. "Oh, girl, let him have it. Go on and get them kids what they want". And now when we are approaching a date with the devil, we have not done the prep to deny the flesh well enough to resist the real fight of the life. The fast is not the fight. It's the prep for the fight. So we don't understand the difference between denial and deliverance. Deliver me from evil, but temptation I've got to face and learn how to feel the pain and the craving and the lust and the drawings and the shakes and say NO to my flesh. Touch your neighbor and say, "Nancy Reagan was right". Just say? No! Now, the enemy comes against Jesus with all he got, with all he got. He comes against with all he got, so you get to see all that the enemy has in the wilderness. "If thou be the Son of God," he says, "turn this stone to bread".
Now, this brother ain't ate for 40 days. I can't imagine. I have a great imagination. I cannot imagine 40 days without food and water. I was in Africa and I ran into a brother that was on a 40-days fast, and he said, asked me did I wanna meet him. And I said yeah, 'cause I didn't believe it. When he come around that corner, I believed that brother. I didn't have no calendar or nothing. When that joker turned that corner, I said: oh, my God! He looked like somebody had dripped chocolate over a skeleton. I had some Certs in my pocket. I started to slip him, it wasn't much, but it was all I had. Somebody still trying to figure out the chocolate and the skeleton. He says, "If thou be the Son of God, turn this stone to bread". And then Jesus reaches down in his reservoir and says, "It is written," see?
Now, he's training his flesh through his fast, but he's fighting his enemy through the Word. He got dual enemies here. One of 'em is your own flesh nature, and the other one is the influence of Satan. He doesn't use the fast on Satan. He uses the fast on his flesh. He uses the Word on Satan, and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'" The Bible says, "And again, he took him up to a high place and showed him, in a flash, he showed him all the kingdoms of the world. And he says, 'All you have to do is bow down and worship me.'" Now he's trying to get Jesus to break his own law because the Father has said that we are to worship God and God only. "I will have no other gods before me". If Jesus violates his own law, then he can't go to the cross and redeem us from the law because now he has fallen victim to His own law. So, he says, "All of the kingdoms of the world will I give you if you bow down and worship me". And this, you see, is a real test. For later, Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane to be able to be the King of all of these kingdoms without the cross.
So now Satan is tempting him, saying, "You don't have to go through that". How many times has he told you, "You don't have to go through that. Come on, I'll show you another way. Go my way. I'll show you a shortcut". Jesus wants the shortcut 'cause he prays in the garden of Gethsemane till great drops of blood fall from his brow, wanting a shortcut, "Father, if it be thy will, pass this bitter cup from me". Here Satan is offering him a way to bypass the bitter cup, and he doesn't take it. Temptation can only occur when you want something. You cannot tempt me with what I do not want, so you have to know me to tempt me. And he says, he takes him up to the pinnacle again, and he says, the third time, he says, "Now, I'm gonna take you up here. Cast yourself down off this mountain, for it is written". Ooh, the devil knows the Word. He says, "It is written that if you cast yourself down off of this mountain, the angels will come and pick you up". This is the pride of life, the temptation to show off. "If you really are who you are, show off, name drop. You know the angels. You know the angels. Show 'em who you really are". "You don't know who I am". You know, every time you go into that mode - that's him.
The Bible says all that's in the world is the lust of the flesh. Turn this to stone to be bread. The lust of the eye. Look at all the kingdoms. The pride of life. The angels will catch you. That's all he's got. How do you know that's all he got? That's all he used on Eve when she saw it, that the food was pleasant to the eyes, saw the food was good for food. When, "She saw the apple was good for food," that's the lust of the flesh. "And saw it was pleasant to the eye," that's the lust of the eye. "And desired to make one wise," that's the pride of life. He's using the same thing on Jesus that he used on Eve, but Eve bit, Jesus didn't. Can I go a little bit deeper? Now, Jesus rebukes him every time using Word. If you don't know the Word, you ain't got nothing to fight with. You cannot fight your devil with my Word. It has to be the Word in you. You can't say, "Bishop said something about, let me see. I can't, it was something, you remember that Sunday when the Bishop was saying something and he had on the blue suit with the red tie"?
That ain't gonna rebuke the devil. You have to have the Word down in your own heart and in your own spirit and say, it is written! Slap your neighbor and say, "I'mma whip that devil when I get home. I'm gonna fight him again. I shook, and I didn't beat him. I dashed, and I didn't beat him. I cried, and I didn't beat him. I got depressed, and I didn't beat him. But if I whip that Word in this hand! When you go through this kinda stuff, and he's in the desert, and the enemy has attacked him sore, and he's passed the test, there is something that happens to you when you've been in a real fight, and the fight is over. You think you gonna shout when the fight is over. You not, not this level of fight. When you go through this level of fight, you don't have nothing left to shout with. You oughtta get the stats on the divorce rate of couples who have fought cancer or leukemia or dread diseases or had dead children. The divorce rate is astronomical.
You say, "How could you love me enough to fight all the way through the cancer or the death or the suicide and then not love me enough to stay"? It's because you're empty. It's you're drained. It's fatigue, it's emotional fatigue. It cost you so much to get out that you don't have anything left to live off of. I had enough energy to take us 40 years, but we spent it in 4. So many things hit us that now I'm empty. And you're hitting the ignition, but I'm out of gas. So, Jesus is up against the ropes, and he is out of gas. How do you know he's out of gas? Because the moment he has emptied himself, fought the fight, overcome the hurdle...
God said, "Go back to that". Yes, Lord. There are people in this room, you do not recognize the extent to which you have been under attack. If you would take a minute and look back over your life and look back at the stuff that has happened in your life, you have been in the wilderness. You have been through trauma after trauma after trauma after trauma after trauma, and you have become habitual in dealing with trauma until you have normalized trauma and you think it's okay. But the stuff you have been through is tough enough you should've lost your mind. You should've went crazy. You should've had a nervous breakdown. You should've thrown in the towel. You should've blown your brains out. You could've committed suicide. Yet with little to no therapy, no encouragement, no help, you take no vacations. You go on no breaks. You get away at no time. You've never had a moment to recover. You've never had a chance to recuperate. You've never gotten over the death and the sickness and the trauma and the stillborns and the divorce and the crisis. You just keep standing up to stuff after stuff after stuff after stuff, and now you're empty and you don't have no gas.
And you're saying, "What's wrong with me"? And you're ashamed to admit to anybody that you're tired because you're everybody's hero. And the Lord brought you here this morning because he gave me something to tell you. Stop being ashamed that you're tired, and stop being ashamed that you're empty. And stop being ashamed that you're up against the ropes, and stop being ashamed that you've run out of smiles and you've run out of courage and you've run out of strength. And he said, "You don't have to perform, and you don't have to impress, and you don't have to stand up and smile and grin and parade around as if you were a machine. You have been punched and kicked and stabbed and rode over. You've lost loved ones. You've gone through afflictions. You've faced crisis and you have never stopped at any time to receive anything. Everybody in your life is pulling at you, draining from you, asking for more, more, more, more. But God said, "That season in your life is over".
Help me tell 'em, Jesus. God says, "Stop it, stop beating on yourself because you can't get no more gas. Stop beating on yourself 'cause you can't stand up like you used to. Stop beating on yourself. Take your boots off and your cape off and all your little Superman stuff off. You've been through enough, test after test after test after test, trial after trial after trial after trial. You've lived your life like you were a robot. Even Jesus came to the point that he was finally emptied out". And the Lord told me to tell you, "The angels are coming". I don't know. Whew, I don't know who I'm preaching to. I don't know who's up against the ropes. I don't know who's out of gas. I don't know who's come to the limit and you can't take anymore.
All I know is that all day long God's been talking to me in my house, giving me this word for somebody. The angels are coming. They're coming to get you. They're coming to minister to you. They're coming to strengthen you. They're coming to put back in you. They're not coming to take nothing from ya. They're coming to give you something back. And you oughtta lift your hands and open your mouth and thank God for angels on the way. And I wanted to preach a shouting message, but it kinda feels like a crying message. But I need you to help me get word to somebody who's about to die, 'bout to faint, 'bout to collapse. Would you just touch two or three people and tell 'em, "The angels are coming, they're coming". The angels are coming. The angels are coming. Don't die, don't die, don't die. The angels are coming. Don't quit, don't collapse, don't commit suicide, don't faint. The angels are coming. God's gonna restore ya. God's gonna renew ya. God's gonna revive ya. It was just a test. The test is over. The test is over.
Somebody take about 60 seconds and find the way to praise, to magnify, to bless, to release, to encourage, to lift up the name of God. Who am I preaching to? You don't realize you don't stop, you don't breathe. You don't treat yourself good. You don't refurbish. You don't refuel. You haven't been on a real vacation in years. You just keep going and going and going and going. And you got the nerve to be embarrassed 'cause you're tired and you're weak and you're empty and you're out of breath, but here come the angels. Here come the angels. And the Lord said, "I'm gonna restore your soul. I'm gonna restore what went out of you, what it cost you to be who you are, what it cost you to do what you do". God said, "I'm gonna put it back in you".
And the Bible said that "the angels came and ministered to him". And I feel ministry in this room. I feel ministry in this room. I feel ministry in this room. You're watching over the Internet. Here comes ministry coming to you right there, right in front of your computer, right in front of your iPad. The angels are coming to lift you up. You have nobody to pour into you, nobody to feed you, nobody who doesn't need ya, nobody who's not draining from ya. Everybody's asking for more and more and more, and God said, the angels are coming. That's why you're losing the battles. That's why you're being defeated. That's why your morals are falling. You're tired, you're empty. You got no strength left. You got no fight left. The angels are coming.