TD Jakes - I've Got What It Takes
Look at your neighbor to the left and right, and say, "I've got what it takes. I've got what it takes". Isn't it so easy to say things like that? "I've got what it takes". I'm the man for the job. "I'm the woman for the job". "I'm the one you need". I can handle this. It's so easy to say that until this becomes unbearable. And suddenly, you find yourself in situations, and if the truth be told, I doubt there are very many people in this room that aren't experiencing some degree of being overwhelmed by life itself. My wife and I were in the theater the other day, we'd gone to see "The Words", and the girl walked up to the gentleman in the scene, in the movie, and she said, "What happened to you"? And he looked at her and said, "Life".
If you live very long at all, all of your youthful idealism gives way to the harsh realities of life itself. When you were a teenager, you thought you knew everything, but when you got to put everything in practice, you found out it wasn't as easy as you thought it was. Life has a way of humbling you. Life has a way of making you close your mouth. You were critical of other people's children, but life, life will make you shut up. Life will make you hold your peace.
You looked at other people's marriages and said, "Why doesn't she do this"? and "Why doesn't he do that"? But life will mute you, shut you down, make you pray, because all of us, if you live long enough, will go through a period of feeling so overwhelmed that you think if one more thing, if the phone rings one more time, if I get another text, if I get another email, sometimes I question technology. We had so much more peace when we were not so accessible, when our phones weren't vibrating, and emails, and texts, and everything goin' off around the clock. Before you can get off the phone, your leg is vibratin', another text comin' in. You get off of there, you gotta check your email. Somebody rang the doorbell, and sooner or later you feel, "Oh, God, get me out of this".
There are moments in your life that you feel overwhelmed by life, by people, by your own issues, by your own circumstances, and by demands, by struggles, and yes, by temptations. It reminds me very much of the fight scenes in the movies. If you watch the fight scenes in the movies, and it's five guys fighting one guy, it's interesting how they come one at the time. In the movies, you can do karate if they come one at a time, but if all ten of them come at the same time, you only got two legs to kick, what are you gonna do with the other eight?
And sometimes, we'd like to think that life comes to us in courses, but it does not. In reality, sometimes you got ten issues, and they all hit you in the same weekend. And it's not long before you feel overwhelmed, say to yourself, "I can't take it anymore". There are moments like that, that come into our hearts and our spirit, and this is what the text is talking about. It is coming to the church at Corinth, and yes, it is talking about morality, and yes, he's challenging sin, and yes, he's challenging all the issues that are prevailing against this church who has converted to Christianity from a hedonistic background, from promiscuities, and lust, and self-indulgences, and now they're trying to walk circumspectly before God.
Walking before God, circumspectly, is not easy. Now, I'm gonna lose some of you on this text, because we're in an era now where people think serving God is just comin' to church. They really continue to be who they were before, it's just that they added another day, and now they come to church. But, if you really take seriously living for Christ, and have a consciousness of morality and responsibility, there's a certain amount of pressure, because there's a constant war going on in you between what you're supposed to do and what you want to do, between how you're supposed to respond, and how you're tempted to respond. Have you ever had somebody say something to you, and you just say... Yeah.
See, that silly grin you see on my face is combating all the things that are coming into my head, and there's an argument going on in my head of all the things that I could say back to you, that I used to say, that I would like to say, and yet, the Holy Spirit is muzzling my mouth, and holding me down, but it's not without restraint, and it's not without pressure. Because there is another part of me that says, "Oh, if you just let me yet". These people are trying to fit into something that does not feel like them. Because when you put on Christ, you can't feel like you and put on Christ on the same time.
This was the city that was filled with debauchery, and whoremongering, and lust, and depravity. Orgies were a way of life. Incest was normal. They were doing whatever they wanted to do, however they wanted to do it, and then they got say. They embraced the spirituality, the gifts of the Spirit, the working of the Spirit moving of the Spirit, but when it came down to the morality that was associated with it, it was not appealing to them, and there was a struggle, and they though like it wasn't fair. It's not fair, my course has already been set, my habits are already on course. It's not fair that you would expect anything of me.
And Paul writes to them and says, "There is no". Somebody holler "no". There is no temptation, not one, not of any kind, not your brand or mine, not your style or brand or mine, not your style or mine, not your mood swing or my mood swing, not your lust or my lust, not your craving or my craving. "There is no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man". Then it says, "God is faithful", that's the good part. It didn't say we were faithful, it said God is faithful, "Who will not suffer you to be tempted above ye are able".
It didn't say he wouldn't suffer you to be tempted above your comfort, it didn't say he wouldn't suffer you to be tempted above your convenience, it said, "He will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it", able to bear it. He will always give you a way out that you may be able to bear it. The faithful God enters in midstream of the text, and the first thing we learn about him is that he is faithful. But the second thing that is faithful God knows your ability.
The faithful God knows your ability, which brings us into an aspect of God that I want you to think with me about today. God is your architect, that he has designed you like an architect designs a construct on a building. You must understand that though the architect does never drive a bulldozer, or pick up a hammer, or nail, or lay a brick or block, he builds the building with specs to determine what grade of concrete, what level of steel, what type of wood can be put in the building. He designs the construct to determine how much weight that building can bear.
Yes, you are a designer's original, designed by God who has been your architect, designing your strength, and your will, and your personality, and your tenacity to determine what ye are able to bear. So, when God says that you are able to bear it, it is not a word of encouragement, this is the word of an architect who knows your construct, and knows what you're designed to do, and will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able. That's why you're not going through what the lady behind you is going through, because your test and your temptation is determined by your construct, and God won't put on you what he put on her, 'cause you can't take what she can take, and she can't take what you can take.
Oh, you don't hear what I'm saying. You have a divine design. saying. You have a divine design. Touch your neighbor and say, Touch your neighbor and say, "I've been designed". I've been designed, yeah, I've been designed. I didn't just get here, I didn't just happen, I'm not just a incident, I'm not just a mistake, I have been designed. I have been designed, created in Christ Jesus, designed to bear things that other people can't bear, and do things that other people can't do, and put up with things that other people can't put up with. I have been designed, glory to God.
That's why you ought not covet your neighbors anything. Don't ask for their car, don't ask for their house, don't ask for their wife, don't ask for their husband, don't ask for their job, don't ask for their ministry, because the worst thing in life is to be pushed into a position that you are not designed... oh, you all gonna help after a while. You've been designed for it. You've been designed. You've been designed. But just because you've been designed doesn't mean you don't feel the hit.
Three times, Paul for example, goes in prayer himself, saying, "Lord, take this thorn out of my flesh. This is uncomfortable, this is unreasonable, I don't like this, take it away". God looked at the specs and said, "My grace is sufficient". Oh, and the things that we want God to lift off of us, only to hear him say, "My grace is sufficient".. "Fix me, so I don't hurt anymore". " No. My grace is sufficient".
Moses, a great man of faith and power, the man who withstood the sorcerers and the magicians of Egypt, is about to break tryin' to help people who won't help themselves. I'm wondering if there's anybody in here who's tryin' to help people who won't help themselves, whose constant whining and incessant adolescent attitude, they're childish grown people, are enough to make you fall down on your knees and say, "God, what did I do wrong"? You look across from your desk to the person's desk in your office and say, "God, what did I do wrong"?
Some of you roll over, and look at somebody and say... What do you do when life does not seem fair? How do you deal with it when it is not what you expected, when you find yourself with mighty visions, and mighty goals dealing with people of mediocrity? How do you manage your miracles while you live with your miseries? These are the questions laying before us today. How do I survive in an unbearable situation? What do I do when it is no longer fun to be me?
I think, for the rest of my life, I will remember a question I got in a Bible class in this church. We were still in the old building, and I was teaching Bible class, and during Q&A, and a gentleman on the third row, on the right-hand side stood up and said, he says, "Bishop, I've got a question for you", and I said, "What"? He said, "Will I ever be happy"? With tears in his eyes, the weight of what he said has stayed with me the rest of my life, "Will I ever"? Not, "Will I be saved", I'm saved, but will I... not, "Will I have a job", I got a job, but "Will I be happy"? I got a spouse, but will I be happy?
Just keep looking straight ahead, don't look to the left or the right, nobody will know I'm talking to you. Just look straight ahead, and if you really want it to go good, look confused. Act like you don't know what in the world I'm talkin' about, and that way you won't have to explain this on the way home. I'm gonna get you out of this. There are days that you can be really blessed, and still be really burdened. There are people who have experienced miracle-working power, and still feel miserable. "What did I do? Why can't I have the life she has, she looks so happy? Why can't it be like Bishop and them? Why can't it be like".
God is faithful. He will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are temptation also make a way of escape that ye may be able to... run from it, oh, that you may be able to escape it, no, that you may be able to bear it. My question is, can you live with being you? Can you live with being you?
Moses couldn't, he said, "God, if my life is gonna be like this, let me die". Moses, wait, man, you're the man of God. I mean, you're the guy who parts waters and stuff. And in your private prayer life, you want to die. Why do you want to die? Were you a fan of Pharaoh and his 600 chariots? Absolutely not, but the constant pulling of people who want more, and more, and more, "Give us fish, we don't like this". "Give us at leeks and onion, we don't want this". "What's this manna we got"? What's going' on with that? "Why you bring us our here to die"? "I'm thirsty, I want something to drink". "It's cold out here".
Does your phone ever ring like that? Do your emails ever look like that? Do you ever feel like, "Can you do something for yourself"? I need to talk to you about my problem. I need to talk to you about mine. When are you available? But you don't get to say that, do you? He says, "God, being me hurts". What do you do when being you hurts? And God says to him, "Alright, set aside 70 elders that you know to be elders, and bring them down, and I'm gonna come talk to them".
And he says, "I'm going to take of your spirit, and I am going to put it on 70 elders. I'm gonna teach you how to delegate. I'm gonna teach you that you are a limited resource. I'm gonna show you how to delegate your responsibilities into a wider array of people, so that you can cope with your calling, deal with your situation", handle being a single mother, deal with running your business, and your bills are past due, deal with how hard it is to be you. But here's the thing that got me, all of that I knew, but then I looked at something.
When God comes down to meet with the 70 elders, and the glory of the Lord moves down into the pain of being Moses, God does not bring his Spirit to give to the 70 elders, he takes of the spirit of Moses and gives it to 70 elders. Look at Moses's capacity. Moses was a man strong enough that he could be divided amongst 70 men without God having to do anything new. He said, "Let me show you what's in you. You got enough in you that I can take what's in you and put it in"...
Y'all don't hear what I'm saying. Do you hear what I'm saying this morning? Help me preach this thing. Shake your neighbor by the hand and say, "You got what it takes". You may not like what you're going through, you may be stressed and overwhelmed, you may not be comfortable with your situation, but stop the next devil that tries to tell you, you don't have what it takes. Even if you delegate, it was yours to delegate. You got what it takes.
Oh, I'm talking to somebody. I don't know who it is, but I just saw a few devils running for the exit right then, because they will try to tell you that it's too late, or you're too old, or you're not smart enough, or you can't handle another thing, but the devil is a liar. God is faithful. He wouldn't put it on you if he didn't put it in you. I said he wouldn't put it on you if he didn't put it in you. And the more he puts on you, you gotta discover what's in you.
See, see, when you start talking this kind of stuff, hell gets nervous, demons start trembling. As long as you're saying, "I can't handle it, I want to die, I'm about to lose my mind", then demons are happy, but when you start saying, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me", hell gets nervous, demons start trembling. Oh, it's not enough to believe in God if you don't believe in yourself. Oh, you got what it takes. Storms come, winds blow, lightning flashes, things aren't fair, things are upsetting, they're nerve-wracking, but the very fact that he allowed it to happen, seeing as he is the architect, it is a sign that he's looked at the specs, he knows what he put in you, he knows his grace is sufficient to get you through this moment in your life, and somebody...
Oh, I'm about to feel like preaching now. Somebody in this room knows you've been through some stuff, that if anybody would have told you that you had to deal with that, you'd have said, "Ain't no way I can handle it", but every time you got ready to give up, there was something on the inside that kept telling you, "Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead". If you're in here today, slap your neighbor, and say, "I'm still here". I've been tried, but I'm still here. I've been burdened, but I'm still here. I've been lonely, but I'm still here. I've been frustrated, but I'm still here. I cried, but I'm still here.
Somebody help me praise! Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, high-five your neighbor and say, "You've got what it takes". You're gonna make it out of this storm. You will survive this attack. You will get through this stage in your life. You have got... hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. I don't know who I'm preaching to, but I know I'm preaching to somebody. The devil's been telling you you're at your breaking point, but the devil is not your architect. He don't know what God put inside of you.