Full text of Bishop TD Jakes’ sermon titled “I Didn’t Know I Was Me” which was delivered on September 29, 2019 at The Potter’s House, Dallas. [Edited to suit for smooth reading of the message, omitting certain portions]
Scripture: Judges 6:11-16, 18 ; Jeremiah 1:4-5; Romans 8:29-30 NIV
Notable quote from this message:
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
TD Jakes – Bishop of The Potter’s House
I’m going to go right into the word of God. We can [indiscernible]… and I’m ready to unload this thing. I’m ready to unload this thing, kind of heavy I want to get it out. Amen.
How many people came to get a word from the Lord this morning? God has been dealing with me about this message all week, and I’m excited to be able to share it with you. I believe God’s got to do great things.
Go to Jeremiah Chapter 1 verse 4 through 5. Yeah, yeah… and then go to Judges 6: 11… I’m going to read Judges 6… 11 through 16… Judges 6:11-16 , and then I am going to pick up eighteenth verse.
It’s our custom to stand for the reading of the Word, that’s why people are standing all around you, they’re not leaving. I don’t guess. Say Amen, somebody.
When you get to Judges 6:11, we will read down to the 16th verse, and then we’ll read the 18th verse, and we’re going to go further.
Verse 11: “The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.”
Watch that closely: He was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. Now, really zoom in on this.
Verse 12: When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
Verse 13: Pardon me my Lord, Gideon replied, but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all His wonders that our ancestors told us about, when they said: ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midianites.
See, this is going to be real good for all of those people who are going through something right now and you feel abandoned. And you wonder: is the Lord with you?
Verse 14: The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have…” isn’t that good? Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of the Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Verse 15: “Pardon me my Lord… or say, what?… Gideon replied, but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
Verse 16: “The LORD answered, and said I will be with you and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
Oh my God. Gideon is so moved that he said, (verse 18) wait, wait, wait, please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you. And the LORD said, I will wait till you return. That’s good, amen.
Now remain standing, I’m going to pray with you, and then I’m going to preach. And this is the subject: preach, teach, whatever it is. I got a little bit of drainy, so don’t let it distract you.
This is my subject this morning: I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS ME.
I didn’t know I was me. I would have done it differently but — I didn’t know I was me… I would have paid more attention but I didn’t know I was late. I would have been more careful, but I didn’t know I was me. I would have resisted the enemy better, but I didn’t know I was me.
Am I in the right house? Let’s pray while we’re standing.
Spirit of the Living God, we stand here right now in need of You. There is no other attraction; there is no star; there is no vanguard; there is no attraction here, but You. Anybody cannot come, but You; we need You. You are the centerpiece of all that is set at the table, and I want You to manifest Yourself in this place that we get more than we expected, that we receive more. I want us to receive so much that we eat off it all week. I want to receive so much in our spirit, Lord, that we walk out of here stronger than when we came in. I want You to touch us in a supernatural way, inform us, inspire us, educate us, impart to us, invigorate us, motivate us, liberate us, saturate us, Great God that You are. I believe you for stuff I don’t even have the intellect to articulate. I’m asking You for things I can’t even express; I’m asking You to answer the question that comes out as a groan, the pain that comes out as a sigh, the question that falls like a tear, I want You to read the sign language of my pain, get in the DNA of my spirit and move in a supernatural way. I thank you in advance for what You’re going to do. I don’t even need to see You do it. I praise You now, You can do it later. In Jesus name.
Come on, Potter’s House; do what you do.
You may be seated. Let’s go to work.
I’m going to spend the first five or ten minutes getting into some fairly heavy stuff, which is the framework through which I’m going to put the picture of Gideon’s experience. If you miss the opulence of the frame, you will not be able to appreciate the details of the picture, for the frame dignifies the picture with context.
And what good is a text without context? What good is music without score? What good is dance without feet? What good is rhythm without music? So putting the text in context requires that I begin this discussion from an unusual place.
I want to begin it with God. With God… God Himself… the notion of God, not Church, not religion. God, the One who rules and super rules and reigns, and has absolute control, the Auspicious One, the Omnipotent One, the Omnipresent One, the All Sufficient One, the El Shaddai, the consolation of Israel, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace… GOD… not appointed, not elected. GOD… nobody put Him in, nobody can take Him out: God. With all power, the Sovereign One; nobody can impeach Him: God… the One who sits on the circle of the earth, that heaven is His throne, and earth is His footstool: God… who gives you oxygen and movement and freedom and liberty and life and activity, who kept your heart beating while you were sleep. You know you didn’t do it but it was beating… it was still beating because God regulated your temperature, your blood pressure, the rhythm of the way the blood runs through your cells, was God orchestrate all things up under His power, I call Him the Puppet Master because He manages all the artifacts on the stage of my life.
Where does God live? Where can I get to God? Where do I find Him?
God lives in eternity. Eternity doesn’t deal with geographical locations or addresses. God lives in eternity, and we live in time. We live in time!
God lives in eternity. Let’s think about that God lives in eternity, which transcends time. Time is a matrix inside of eternity. Think of time being something that God created, not subject to.
In the beginning, there was God before there was a first day. So God existed before there was a calendar, before there was a watch. Before there was a tick or tok, there was God. Before there was a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, there was God.
Before there was a evening or morning, there was God. Before the sun rose or set, there was God. Before the moon glistened against a dark sky, there was God. Before the first earthquake tremored in the ocean, there was God.
There was God before there was an angel; there was God before there was a choir. There was God before there was anybody there to acknowledge Him as God. God is God; God alone is God, and beside Him, there is no other.
God lives in eternity, and if you don’t get that into your spirit, then your prayer life is going to go kaput because you’re never going to understand being a creature of time with things like birthdays, you won’t understand God. God doesn’t have to get in a hurry because God doesn’t get old.
God doesn’t get old because He’s not subject to time. Anything subject to time gets old; anything born out of time is ageless, as part of being eternal.
So when you start talking about being eternal, eternity supersedes time. Time is a child of eternity, an offspring of eternity. Eternity created time; the celestial created the terrestrial; the divine created the human; the supernatural created the natural.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep, but God was there to create it before there was [anything] to create.
Are you following me?
David says about God from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. You are God before there was where or when or this or that, you were God. You were God before there was anybody there to tell you were God: You are God. God alone, God all by Himself, God of the universe, God of the world. That’s why I don’t pray to the universe, because He created the universe.
Why should I pray to what He created, when I could pray to the One who created it? This is good. From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God, from as far back as I can see there was God and as far ahead as I can see there was God; God is eternal.
So when you read the Bible, the Bible says all kinds of things that don’t make sense if you don’t understand that. For instance, it says that the Lamb was slain from the foundations of the world (Revelation 13:8). In other words, talking about Jesus, He was crucified before Adam and Eve were born.
That means that God had the answer in eternity before time produced the question. So whatever you’re asking God to do in eternity, it’s already done; it’s already settled.
Let me prove: Job said my witness is in heaven; my record is on high (Job 16:19). In eternity it’s already done, it’s already finished; in eternity, I’m already healed; in eternity I’m already blessed. In eternity, I’m already loose; in eternity I’m already set free. In eternity there are no wheelchairs. In eternity, there are no broken limbs; in eternity, there is no sadness. In eternity there is no abuse.
God lives in eternity; He created time so I would have an address, so I would have a concept, so I would have appreciation of days: teach me the number of my days so I may know how frail I am (Psalm 39:4).
He created time, so I wouldn’t take life for granted. He created time so I would appreciate my life and your life. He created time so I would get the courage to say things to you that I wouldn’t say because I’m running out of time.
If I was an eternal being, I would think about it longer, maybe not say it ever, because I have the eternity to think about it. But since we’re running out of time, the older I get the sharper I get, the quicker I’ll tell you.
When I was thirty, I might not would tell you; but at sixty I will let you have it. I will let you have it and not look back to see how you felt about it, because I’m running out of time.
Running out of time makes you get to the point. Running out of time makes you say what needs to be said. God lives in eternity we live in time.
So God is neither coming or going; He is always here. Remember when Moses said, who shall I say sent me? And God said I AM THAT I AM; not I was or will be; I AM because He’s always present. He is the same, yesterday, today and forevermore. I am in today, I can’t go back to yesterday, I’m waiting on tomorrow but God is in tomorrow while I’m in today. That’s why when God gives me a word today, it can heal something that broke yesterday because He’s not subject to dates. He can say something now that heals something that happened 20 years ago. He can speak something now that changes the outcome of something that happens thirty years from now because God lives in eternity; I live in time.
I have to go deeper. I got to go deeper. If you read the Creation Story in the book of Genesis, over and over again you will see the word re… He restored, He replenished, He redeemed… re is to do over again. Okay, He did it over again; He did it over again that has been done before.
Oh wow, it’s been done before. Somebody say: before.
See, the problem is I can’t remember what was before, because I am here present now, but I can’t remember what was before. When the Bible says that God redeemed us or restored us or redelivered us or redeemed us from the curse of the law or from sin or death, it suggests that there was something between me and Him before.
Before what? Before time.
Okay. Jeremiah is going to help me out. I got myself in trouble but Jeremiah’s going to help me out.
Check this out. He’s still in frame; I haven’t got to the picture.
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, word of the Lord came unto me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.“
Before I formed you, before you had your first birthday, before you were one week old, before you were one day old, before your mama was pregnant, I knew you. Before you were born…
Before you were born, I set you apart…
I set you apart, I meant for you to be different, before you ever even got here, I meant for you to be different, and you spent the first 20 years of your life trying to fit in. But the reason you never fit in is that I set you apart before you ever even got here. You didn’t even fit in with your neighbors, you didn’t fit in with your friends… oh you don’t even fit in your family.
You’re the only one in your family who thinks like you think, because I set you apart before I formed you in the belly, I meant for you to be different. So don’t be upset over the people who didn’t like you, who thought you weren’t cute, who didn’t like your hair; I don’t care how you change your hair, change your walk, change your talk, I meant for you to be an outcast, rejected, ostracized; I meant for you to be different before I formed you in the belly, I knew you, I ordained you, I set you apart.
Oh my God, this is good.
So He knew me in eternity past. Okay, this is eternity. Eternity past is an oxymoron. Eternity past is an oxymoron; it is two things that totally disagree with each other. Eternity can’t have a pass, but the Eternity is my only way of describing God and past is my human attempt to express an anthropomorphic reality.
And an anthropomorphic reality… anthro is human, is a human attempt to describe something that is divine. So eternity past, present and future, past present and future are human terms; eternity is God terms.
Eternity past before I was born, He knew me. He knew me; He formed me because He knew me. I had a relationship with Him before. I had a relationship with Him before I met my mother.
That’s why when He called me, I recognized His voice. He said my sheep know My voice, a stranger they will not follow. That’s why you go to church and get blessed, and the person you went with did get nothing; maybe they didn’t recognize the voice.
I knew the voice before I read the Bible. You know the word but I know the voice. You don’t hear what I’m saying. A lot of people know scripture but they don’t know the voice.
He said, my sheep know my voice, a stranger they will not follow. And some kind of way His voice resonated with me because I knew him before. He said before I formed thee in the belly, when you were just a spirit and I was just a spirit, we knew each other on a spiritual level, we connected, we hooked up, we got together. I agreed to send you in the time but here’s the deal, if you go in the time, you’re going to forget what we had in eternity. That’s what being lost is about.
The reason I’m lost… first of all, I can’t be lost if I don’t belong to somebody. And I can’t be lost if there’s not a place for me. So the whole notion of being lost is not just about sinful activity, it’s about not remembering.
So He chose me in Him before the foundation of the world. That’s what the Bible says. He chose me in Him… He picked me out and then sent me in the time… I am sending you in the time. When I send you in the time, you will walk in the time, and the moment you come out of your mother’s womb, you won’t remember that you knew me before. But I set you apart, I won’t lose track of you. I set you apart.
And when I get ready for you, I’m going to call you. And when I call you, you’re going to recognize my voice, though you don’t remember what we had before.
Can I prove this to you? Okay, go to Romans 8:29-30, look at this right quick. It’s just a frame, it’s not the picture.
For those God foreknew…. We’re going backwards; those are people that God before knew, that’s what foreknew means… He also… this is future… predestined… because I knew you before, I predestined you… to be conformed to the image of His Son… that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. And those He predestined, He also called…
For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. All of that He did without me knowing it, I can’t remember it.
Come on, and those He predestined, he also… this is when I found out, He also… He also… He also… that’s when I found out I was His. When He called me, that’s when I realized that I wasn’t what they called me. I wasn’t what he called me; I wasn’t what she called me.
Are you hearing what I’m saying? So when He called me… but when He called me, that’s when I realized that’s Him, and because He told me, that’s when I became aware of who I was before. And it doesn’t matter what I was in when He called me, He called me.
I could have been at a strip club, but He called me. I could have been in a gay bar, that He called me. And all of a sudden what used to make me happy doesn’t make me happy anymore, and what used to give me joy doesn’t give me joy anymore, because God has a way of disrupting your life, because He called you.
When He called you… but I like the scripture, Ephesians 1:9:
He made known unto me the mystery of His will… I meant for you to be raised the way you were raised; I meant for you to go through the pain you went through; I meant for you to be rejected; I know it’s a mystery but all things are going to work together for your good, I’m going to make know there’s a purpose in your pain; you’re not just having pain to have pain. I’m birthing something in you, I’m birthing something out of you. This is not just arbitrary pain; this is pain for a reason. I’m bringing something out of you.
I’m going to show you who you really are, because who you really are is a mystery. Who you really are is a mystery. You work with people who don’t really know you. You live around people who don’t really get you. You may have married somebody who didn’t get you.
I may not even get me. I could spend a lot of energy doing something that I really wasn’t predestined to do. Maybe I did it because you wanted it from me; maybe I did it because my parents wanted it from me; maybe I did it because my wife wanted it from me; maybe I did it because it was easy for me. Maybe I did it because I had some talent in it; but it doesn’t give me fulfillment because it is not it.
When we step into this text, we step into utter chaos. I want to paint it for you. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
The Amalekites were more massive than the Israelites. They were more dominant; they were brutal warriors. The Amalekites were brutal in how they killed; they preyed on women and children. They killed off those that were weaker physically first. They would do anything to get advantage of a nation; they were cruel. And worse still, they had hooked up with the Midianites. People who don’t even like each other will get together to hate you.
In another class, I call them comrades. Comrades are people who the only thing they have in common is what they’re against. Constituents are people who the only thing they have in common is where they are going. And confidence, the only thing they have in common is you.
So you have confidants who are for you; you have constituents who are for where you’re going. The only thing about constituents, if they see somebody getting there quicker, they’ll leap out of your car into their car because they never liked you, they liked where you were going. And comrades, the only reason they are together is, the only thing they have in common is their hatred of you or something.
So the Amalekites and the Midianites were comrades against Israel, and it was working. Israel has given up everything and they’re now hiding in caves. The people God delivered — in last Sunday’s message — the people that God set free, last Sunday and we were shouting all over the place, the people who danced on the dead bones of Pharaoh, these are their children’s children’s children and they’re in trouble again.
And now they’re back in trouble again, and the Lord is using their enemies to teach that should have rung home, if that didn’t ring home your bell is broke. God uses your enemies to teach. He doesn’t use your enemies because they’re stronger than you; He uses your enemies to teach.
So God is using the Amalekites, the Midianites to teach Israel: you have gotten out of control. You have left the teachings of your fathers; you have started worshipping idol gods, and I’m going to allow you to be defeated until I get your attention. Because you’re so impressed with yourself, I’m going to break your heart till I bring you to your knees, so you will discover Me.
You were too successful; you were too powerful; you were winning on every front, and I had to show you something to humble you to make you submit. So God is using the Amalekites and the Midianites, He’s not using the Israelites, even though the Israelites are His people.
God uses your enemies. If you won’t hear His word, then He had to speak to your circumstance. Then He uses your circumstance because you ignored His word, and God uses your enemies to bring you in line.
Israel’s beat up; bad famine is in the land, every time they grow up crop, the Amalekites, Midianites come out and kill and destroy it, and now we come into a text where Gideon is hiding his harvest.
Have y’all ever hid your harvest? Has God ever blessed you, but you didn’t want to show it?
Has God ever done something for you, given you a blessing, you were afraid to wear it; you were afraid to drive it, because you know how they are, and they can’t handle what he did.
When you step into the text, Gideon is hiding his harvest in the winepress. The Bible says: he is threshing wheat in the winepress, for fear of the Midianites, because if they find out that they got any kind of harvest, they’re going to take that too.
It’s a hard thing to live around haters. Is it uncomfortable reality when you have to dumb down how bright you are, so because you’re around somebody so insecure that they can’t handle the brilliancy of your intellectual capacity, and so you got to go into a hood talk.
Because if you appear too bright, often the person who hired you, how could you pick me and then want me to be stupid? But the person who picked you often paid you, or the people around you, they were after his harvest. And so he’s trying to cultivate his harvest and he’s down in the winepress threshing wheat. Now I can stay there all day. I can’t tell you how many times I had to put my wheat in the winepress.
You got a new house but you can’t tell your cousin Joe. So you act like you listen. I’m talking about threshing your wheat in a winepress. And there he is threshing his wheat in the winepress, because Gideon sees himself as a farmer. He raised his wheat. He has a harvest; he thinks that’s who he is, and he’s down in the winepress harvesting, but fussing.
Now look at this: here is his strength. He is winning but his people are losing. And inequity in your sociological environment creates a painful experience, because the people who love you don’t love what you got, and the people who love what you got don’t love you.
And now you got a little bit of wheat, but you got to get down in the winepress, and he’s threshing his wheat in the winepress. He understands himself to be a farmer and he’s angry. He is angry, because he never met the God of the Red Sea I preached about last week, but he heard about it, his grandmama. And then they told him about the God that delivered the children of Israel across the Red Sea and brought them through on dry ground and delivered them up safely on the other side. But he sees no — Millennial — he sees no relationship with traditional religion, and where he is in his life and he’s mad about it, says where is the God of our fathers?
If it worked like grandma said it worked, how come the Amalekites and the Midianites are killing our people? So I have concluded: ain’t nothing to this. If God was this good, why aren’t you helping me?
About every 100th comment I get on social media is some version of this. That’s nice what you’re saying, but if God was all of that, why am I hood…
God will not overrule your choices. It is easier for you to be angry at God than to take responsibility for the mistakes you made that brought you into the situation that you were in. And by the way you never asked Him before you made the choices that you made, but now He gives the punishment for the choice you made and you’re never going to get out until you take responsibility…
And he doesn’t know that while he is complaining about… where is God and he is looking for God, that God was looking for you. And the Bible says that the Angel of the Lord sat down by the winepress.
Now we got the Angel of the Lord sitting down by the winepress. We got Gideon who thinks he’s a farmer in the winepress, threshing wheat. I need to underscore that the winepress is a place of transition. I need to underscore that the Lord has you here this morning because you’re in the middle of a transition.
And anytime you’re in transition, every emotion in the world comes out of you: anger and sadness and frustration, and fear and doubt and strife, and everything comes out of you because you’re in an unstable environment. You’ve heard me talk about being with a weight trainer, being on a ball, I hate them ball, they are demonic, they’re from the devil, they’re from the pits of hell.
But they put you on the ball in an unstable environment, because unstable environments make you activate core strength.
Now you’re in the threshing-floor, it’s an unstable environment and he’s having to activate core strength and everything is coming out of it. And he’s upset with God, that he’s upset with the religion he’s been taught, and he says, who’s going to come and deliver us out of this?
This is your fault, God… it’s always when all else fails, blame God, just blame God. The woman Thou gave me, remember that with Adam. I’m in this, but you gave her to me. That was a subtle way of saying it’s your fault, not I ate the fruit, not I ran out on her, not I cheated, not I’d have worked in two years. No, the woman Thou gave me… it’s your fault.
Conviction is good for the soul; it’s going to be all right. Breathe in and breathe out; breathe in and breathe in; you’re going to make it.
And all of a sudden, he’s trying to figure out why doesn’t God work the way I told Him to. And isn’t that what most of us are trying to figure out: why doesn’t God work the way I’d told Him to, the way I expected Him to, the way I wanted Him to?
Why didn’t God do what I wanted Him to do, when I told Him to do? Excuse me, God doesn’t work for you, God is not on your payroll; God doesn’t have to listen to you. God is God.
An Angel is just checking him about. The Angel is just sitting by the well, watching this fool, I don’t guess I should have said that. I don’t know whether you can say that on Sunday morning. Well it’s out there now. He’s watching this young man, he’s watching him go through what the wheat is going through.
The wheat is being beat down to fruit, all the chaff is being beat away so that the wheat falls to the ground. And whenever God puts you in an uncomfortable situation he’s sifting you. What matters, what doesn’t matter, what’s real, what’s not real, what counts, what doesn’t count, who I can have, who I can live without. Where my real people at? Holler at your boy.
You go through these periods where you get stuck in this winepress and He starts shaking away stuff that you thought you had to have. And it’s uncomfortable and it’s painful and it’s brutal, and he’s beating me like wheat, in the winepress away from the crowd, trying to get me down to my core values, trying to fix me in my roots, trying to get me together where it matters, not in my image, he’s not tenting my picture for Instagram, enhancing my accessories, accentuating my positives, he is beating my heart, because he is beating the wheat in the winepress.
I’ve talked to you today because the Lord has showed me that I would get to talk to people today whose wheat is being beaten in the winepress. And if that’s you and you’re here today, I want you to know that you’re not in there by yourself. I want you to know that God has sent an angel down to the winepress, to help you make sense out of this time in your life, because sometimes life doesn’t make sense:
How could You bless the Amalekites and the Midianites and not me? Where is the God that I hear about on Sunday morning? Where is He on Monday? Where is He in this unemployment line? Where is God in this divorce? Where is God and I’m HIV positive? Where is God and I’m being beat in places I can’t talk about. I’m being beat in the winepress, I’m down in something being beat and waking up in the morning and talking about: Welcome to JC Penney’s. Good morning. May I help you, this way? Anything you need. Oh I’m so glad I can help you.
And all the while I’m smiling for people, I’m being beat in the winepress. Now y’all tell me did I hear from God this morning?
The winepress is the place where the grapes find out that they’re meant to be wine. The wheat is being beaten so that it may become bread. And what’s going on in the winepress with the wheat is going on in the life of Gideon who understands himself to be a farmer.
And the angel is sitting on the side watching him do to the wheat, what God is doing to him. Only instead of Gideon beating the wheat, God is using the Amalekites and the Midianites to beat his wheat to. Only his wheat is us, trying to get bread out of wheat, trying to get wine out of grapes, trying to be Gideon to discover who he is.
So the angel says to him: I’ll finish next Sunday; God bless you.
He said you got jokes.
The Angel in his greeting creates disruption. He says to Gideon: Hey mighty man of valor; you’re a warrior.
What? Could it be possible? One of us have got to be wrong because I think I’m a gardener and you think I’m a warrior. Why did you call me that? I am kind of attracted to it but I mean it would be nice. But I’m from the smallest tribe, and I’m the youngest in the family.
This is when we build up evidence to talk us out of dreams. We build evidence to dissuade us from going forward. He has rationalized, this is not no immediate thought, this is not like something you cough up off the top of your head; he has given this to thought: I belong to the smallest tribe; I’m the youngest person; don’t expect much from me. Don’t expect much from me, I’m a woman. Don’t expect much from me, I’m a minority. Don’t expect too much from me, I didn’t finish school. Don’t expect too much from me, my mother didn’t raise me. Don’t expect too much from me, I didn’t have father.
We build up this story to support who we think we are and then the reasons that make us able to cope with the limitations, and it gives us somebody to hate; that’s what I like about it. That’s why I like about, you get somebody to hate. If he’d raised me, if he’d have stayed home more, if you’d loved me like you were supposed to love me, I wouldn’t be like this. It gives me a license to hate you and blame you for why I didn’t become.
And here comes a call, a high calling, a divine calling, a supernatural calling that has classified information about me that I don’t have on myself. And the Angel is speaking out of his knowledge of how I was designed and I’m living out of my knowledge of what I grew up around. And I have to decide, in this struggle, which one of these entities is going to win this fight, what I grew up around or what I was created to be, because one of them are going to determine what the trajectory of my future looks like. Who am I preaching to?
You remember with me and Jules started that window and siding company, you remember that? I got laid off at Union Carbide and then he started the window and siding company, and did me a favor hiring me to come in there, we was going to do like daddy and we was going to build a family business. And we opened up the windows and siding company and we kept getting into trouble and ran out of money, and I ended up losing my car, and I didn’t have no car because I was following his vision for my life.
When I put my car up to get the business out I did it because I loved my brother and I did it because I wanted us to win, I did it because I wanted us to succeed, but I also did it because I didn’t know I was me. Had I known I was me, Jane, I would’ve stepped right over top of the window and siding company.
Gideon is in the winepress because it is possible not to know who you are, who you really are at your core, at your essence, what you were created to be; what your potentials are, what you can reach, what you can become, what you can withstand, what you can endure; how tough you really are, how strong you really are, how tenacious you really are. It is possible not to know it because your feelings don’t always validate your reality.
You can feel like collapsing and still be fighting, you can feel like the victim and be the victor, you can feel limited and still haven’t exhausted all that’s inside of you.
You cannot define yourself by how you feel, your feelings cannot be trusted, your feelings will lie to you, your feelings will deceive you; your feelings will have you in the winepress, your feelings will have you down in the winepress beating up wheat.
Oh my God, you cannot trust how you feel because your feelings are a conglomerate of your experiences, they are built off of your history, not your destiny; they are your response to what happened, not what’s about to happen. Your praise is about what’s about to happen, your praise is expectation that this isn’t over yet, your praise is about a happy ending on the other side of this cloud, your praise!
I’m not praising God because I’m emotional, I’m not praising God because I’m religious, I’m not praising God because I’m black, I’m praising God because I have an expectation, that I may be down here right now but it ain’t over, devil. I said it ain’t over. Give me 30 seconds of crazy praise. Yes, yes, yes. Yes! Good God Almighty. I’m feeling the power of God in this room. Somebody shout yes! Shout yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yah-yah-yah-yah-yah-yeah, yeah-yah-yah-yah-yeah, yeah.
Yeah, I’m going to tear down some stinking thinking, I’m going to get rid of some limitations that have been imposed upon you, that are limiting you from achieving what you were put on this earth to do. I rebuke every lying spirit that ever spoke up in your head that is contrary to your purpose.
Everybody who’s tracking me, everybody who’s tracking this word this morning, touch your neighbor and say I think there’s something else inside of me. I think there’s something else inside of me, I think there’s something else inside of me, I think. I think there’s something else inside of me, I think, I think I’ve got something. I don’t know what to call it yet, I don’t understand it yet but I think I got something, I think there’s something else inside of me. I know I act a fool but I think there’s something inside of me, I know I’ve been strung out on drugs but I think there’s something else inside of me, I know I’ve been living with this man but I think there’s something else inside of me.
Open your mouth and shout unto God. I don’t think I’m going to die today because I think there might be something else inside of me, I don’t think I’m going to give up right now because I think there’s something else inside of me, I don’t think I’m going to quit just because I think there’s something else inside of me. I may be going through a bad season, I may have to cry myself to sleep, I may have to rock my pillow until I go to bed at night, I may have to go to work in a raggedy car but I think there’s something else inside of me. I might be in a bankruptcy but I think, I think, I think.
The moment the angel tells Gideon he’s a warrior he throws him into conflict. How can this be? My tribe is Manasseh, it’s the smallest tribe, I’m the youngest person, how can this be? We’re at war with Amalekites and the Midianites and they’re winning, how can I be a mighty warrior?
I’m at the lowest point and I’m the youngest person in the smallest tribe in the worst situation, and God comes and says something absolutely retarded like, “You are a mighty man of valor”.
That’s what it’s like coming to this church sometime, because everything all week long says give up and die, and then you come here on Sunday morning and I’m telling you, you are the head and not the tail, you are above and not beneath, you are more than a conqueror, you can do all things through Christ which strengthens you. God didn’t bring you this far to leave you, God didn’t take you through everything you’ve been through for you to get here and die in the winepress. I came to tell you something.
So I was out in Kenya two weeks ago, and I was doing an interview with the lady. And she said — she was talking about my different business ventures, and we dabbled in real estate and doing some films and done all of that stuff, and she said, “And what do you think about all of that since you are a preacher?”
I said, “Wait a minute, let’s correct something. June 1957 when my mama pushed me out, she didn’t push out a preacher. Just because you met me when I started preaching don’t define me by how she let me. I was a person before I was a preacher. I didn’t start living when I started preaching. I had gifts and talents and passions and dreams and vision from the beginning. So don’t put me in your little cubicle of your understanding of me and exile me to spend the rest of my life living up to what you’re comfortable with. I’m going to make you uncomfortable, because I’m going to do me. I’m going to do me; all the way to the end of the game I am going to do me. There has never been another me. There will never be another me. My son got my name, and he ain’t me. When I do, what I do like I do.”
Did you hear what I said?
You are original, one of a kind. Nobody has your fingerprint; nobody has your voiceprint; nobody has your style, your flap, your grace, your creativity.
I’m seeking… I’m seeking for somebody, I’m seeking like a drone sent on a mission, it is haunting, nagging feeling. It is a disturbing restless feeling. It is a feeling that you can’t get drunk over, smoke over, layup over; it interrupts all of those human proclivities with the haunting suspicion that I might be more than I thought.
I’m honing in, I’m honing in, I’m honing in on somebody who got in the back of your mind. I’m not talking about arrogance; I’m not talking about superfluity; I’m not talking about opulence and excessive ignorance. I’m talking about this nagging angelic voice that keeps calling you something that you don’t see yet, and it’s in the back of your head… I think I might be more.
And so you try to talk yourself out of it. You say I’m too old to be anything more. If I was going to be more, I should have been more when I was younger. But if Harland Sanders would have done that, we wouldn’t have KFC. Who starts a business at 65 on social security?
We tell ourselves these stories to lull our dreams to sleep, to anesthetize the pain of becoming, because we don’t want to wrestle with, who I might be. An Angel has called me something that does not reflect in my situation, does not reflect in my feeling, so it’s not reflecting my circumstances. And I didn’t know…
Check this out. I didn’t know I was me. I let him beat me because I didn’t know I was me. I became a slug because I didn’t know I was me. I dropped out of school because I didn’t know I was me… I thought I needed you because I didn’t know I was me. I thought you had more power than you actually do… I thought your opinion wouldn’t make me a Britney because I didn’t know I was me.
I didn’t know I was me but it haunted me, it worried me, it frustrated, made me discontent on all my jobs, and wherever I went, wherever I tried to rest, the sole of my foot I found the rest, because in the back of my mind that was this haunting nagging feeling that I was born to do something else.
Why wouldn’t I be happy to be on the ground when I think I can fly, what is going on, because I see colors where everybody else sees black and white, I see possibilities where other people say that’s impossible. And I don’t know what this is down inside of me, what am I supposed to do with it? I’m from the smallest tribe; I’m the youngest person; I’m broke. How am I supposed to do this?
I’m talking to somebody, the drone is getting closer to your head… I didn’t know I was me and so I became yours, because I didn’t know I was me. And I’ll let you use me because I didn’t know I was me, and I let you do stuff to me, and now I’m embarrassed about me because I didn’t know I was me.
If I would have known I was me, I’d have never met you… I’ve met you in the absence of me. I met you to fill the void of not knowing I was me. I didn’t know I was me.
So when you left me, I almost lost my mind because I didn’t know I was me. When they fired me, I felt like war my brains out because I thought I was my job, and then I woke up and realized I’m bigger than my job, and I’m bigger than my church and I’m bigger than my city and I’m bigger than my circumstances, and you know what, I’m bigger than you; I’m bigger than you.
Because I know who I am and I know where I am and I know what I got going on and I know what I could do and I know… watch this:
Gideon dropped his wheat… Gideon dropped his wheat because somebody called him a warrior and it made him know that he was more than what he was doing.
And after wrestling with God and struggling with God and putting fleece before God, he started living in the middle of his life, because life doesn’t begin when your mama pushes you out, life begins when you find out who you are.
Life begins when it hits you in the back of your head, “I’m better than this, I’m bigger than my circumstances, I got a destiny and a purpose on my life. God created me for a reason, He called me for a purpose, I am in this world to do something”. Who am I preaching to in here?
And Gideon doesn’t even know that he’s going to be in the book of Judges, he doesn’t know that he is going to lead the army that drives out the Midianites, renders helpless the Amalekites; that he is going to take less men and kill more people with less men than we have ever seen done in the history of the Scriptures, if he can get out of this pit.
And somebody in this room, you are one pit away from supernatural purpose. And the Lord told me that if I would preach this message this morning, it would wake somebody up to get up out of that pit, that they would come into another understanding of who they were, that God would do something amazing in their life.
God told me, if I preach this message this morning, somebody would drop their wheat and grab their sword, and stand up on their feet again and understand who they are. Who am I preaching to this morning?
You got something to do in this stage of your life that is greater than anything you have ever done in your entire life. In fact, everything in your past was getting you ready for what you’re about to do in your life. If I’m preaching to you, make some noise in this place, make some noise in this place. Yes! Yes, yes, yes!
God picked the smallest tribe and the youngest guy with the worst attitude to lead a mass of people, and Gideon starts out with 9000 and then God says take them down to the brook and only choose the men who lap water like a dog. And when they got down to the brook, all of the men who drank in a fancy way were not chosen because you can’t have too-cute people, not when you’re in a fight. You can’t have somebody who got to have on the stilettos, not when you’re in a fight. You can’t have somebody who got French fingernails on, not when you’re in a fight. He said pick out 300 men that will lap water like a dog, that will get down on their knees and start lapping, 300 men that don’t have nothing to lose, don’t care what they look like.
This is a season that you have to surround yourself with people who know how to get down. This is a season that God is going to take you… who am I preaching to?
So this is where we’re at right now: the anointing of God is in this place, the Spirit of God is here, the glory of the Lord is in this place, the Lord has you here for a reason, there is something that God is getting ready to do in your life. There’s something that God has for you that’s important.
And I’m telling you, not knowing is a problem, not knowing who you are is a real problem. Living your life according to what other people said about you is a real problem, living your life based on your net worth is a real problem.
The message is called, “I Didn’t Know I Was Me”. Lord, have mercy, I feel like I’m supposed to preach this today, I feel like I’m talking to somebody today, I feel like the Holy Spirit is pushing in on somebody today.
Gideon would be shocked to find out he made the Bible, Gideon was shocked to find out that he could fight. Gideon was shocked to find out, watch this, that he was the guy he’d been praying, asking God to send. He didn’t know that he was the people he’d been waiting on.
Let me bring it down. He didn’t know that he was trying to get other people to love him because he didn’t love himself.
Let me bring it down to reachable goals. He didn’t know that he was trying to find in other people what God has placed inside of him. He didn’t know that he was asking God to send what he already was. That day in the winepress, with wheat everywhere and chaff on the ground, the angel called him something that he couldn’t see but, he became what he was called.
Before God formed you in your mother’s belly, He knew you out of the millions of sperm cells your father shot into your mother. Before you ever read a Bible, one cell out-swam them all. The odds were against you before you got here, and when you were on a cellular level you out-swam the rest, that’s how you got here, that’s how you started.
Sometimes, when you come from eternity, in the time, you don’t remember who you were before, but in services like this, where God calls you and He makes you know things about yourself that you didn’t know, this message is a confirmation.
Jane, I was the last person to know I was T D Jakes, I didn’t know that. The books were being translated into different languages, I didn’t know it, I saw it but I didn’t see it. The stadiums were full, people fighting outside trying to get in, I didn’t know I was me.
I don’t like saying it because it makes you sound stupid. I was on the New York Times Bestsellers List, it still didn’t add up to me that I was me. I think sometimes grace puts blinders on your eyes. I could see all of you, I couldn’t see me but there was a nagging voice in my head that was correcting damaged thinking, honestly.
And I learned something as I got older. I didn’t know I was me because I was afraid; winning has so much responsibility to it. Losing is easy, all you have to do to lose is just let go, nobody expects nothing from you, nobody demands anything of you. Sometimes you’re afraid of what God has next for you.
And I’m being transparent because I’m after something and I don’t even know who it is. Most of the people who wrote about me had never met me and they wrote about a person that I didn’t even understand, they wrote about a person that I didn’t even understand. They wrote about how they would feel if they were me. I didn’t feel like that, because I didn’t know I was me.
I’m telling you, I was playing the piano for people, loading their cars with bags and driving them around; I didn’t know I was me. That doesn’t mean that it should’ve happened any sooner because I think it is the menial things that develop you.
I think it is the blind spots that give you focus. I’m not trying to rush the process, I’m just trying to describe a place you might be right now. All I knew is that whenever I got around something that had my destiny in it, I was drawn to it, I was attracted to it and I would do anything to be in the room with it, and I admired it but I didn’t think I’d ever be it because I didn’t know I was me.
I got off the track a lot of times, looking for things that were lesser than what was already mine. I shot too low when I could shoot high, and when I did shoot high, I didn’t enjoy it, because I didn’t know I was me.
I am trying to get you ready for a paradigm shift. Join hands with somebody for just a moment, and let’s just make an assumption about you. Let’s assume that they have done some stupid things; let’s assume that they have some secrets; let’s assume that they’re afraid sometimes. Let’s assume that they’re coming to church because something keeps drawing them.
Let’s assume that right now they’re in a situation that is the weakest of the tribes and youngest of the group down in a pit, maybe in some area of their life, something that’s not going very well. You can be on top in one area and on the bottom in another area; everybody needs ministry.
Let’s assume that God loves you, but they don’t always feel His love. Let’s assume that God sees them but they don’t always see that God sees them, and let’s assume that God is going to help them but they don’t always feel the help of God. And then squeeze their hand and let them know they’re not alone.
Let’s assume that God called them to church this morning and brought them here because God wanted to get their head together. Let’s assume that today is your last day in the winepress. Let’s assume that your destiny is calling you, and that God is about to do something amazing in your life, and it might be something that you don’t even have a background in, that goes against the grain and blows your mind but God is going to do it. Squeeze that hand and you got to be willing to go scared and go nervous and go not feeling sufficient and go feeling inadequate but God is…
Holy Spirit, sweep this place. If one person in this room has an awakening, it was worth the whole message. If somebody logged online streaming right now, just has an awakening and their eyes are open and they see that you might be handling wheat but you’re really a warrior.
Lord, I don’t want to — at this stage in my life I don’t want to preach stuff for the entertainment of people. I don’t want to do things that don’t matter. I feel like I have something to impart to someone, let somebody receive this word. Hallelujah!
Down in the depths of their being, let them just really really really embrace what it’s being taught right now, redefine themselves, refocus, refire, refuel themselves. I thank You for what You’re about to do. I pray that what You’re doing in their life right now will last longer than the service. I pray to get in the car with them, and get in the house with them but get in their decisions and get in their choices and get in their situation. I pray that every Gideon in here would find his 300. Squeeze that hand.
God is about to put you in a new circle of people. You’re about to find your 300 chosen men. You’re about to find the people that will get down and lap water like a dog and fight till you get the victory. A change is coming in your life.
I want you to pray for the person you’re touching, everything the Holy Spirit gives you the pray over their life. I want you to pray for them right now.