Are You Still Speaking, Understanding, and Thinking Like a Child?

A T.D. Jakes sermon: (verbatim)

Are you blocking love?

when i was a child i spake as a child

This is the love chapter: giving it, receiving it, obtaining it. Is there a barrier? Is there a reason people don’t like you? Or is there a reason that you can’t love them? What’s the blockage? Could there be something that stops you from suffering long, enduring, seeking not your own? Is there something — right in the middle of a dissertation about love, he says, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, and I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

I put away childish things.

I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child.

Spake, understood, thought.

Spake, understood, thought. S-U-T.

Spake, understood, thought, spake, understood, thought: S-U-T: systems under test. This is how you test your systems. You test your systems with how you speak, how you understand, and how you think. If your life is not [reaching] an expected end, do you have the courage to test your systems? Because your systems need to go under test. Is it the way you speak, the way you understand, or the way you think that is stopping you from becoming what God would have you be?

if you're pretty you're pretty but the only way to be beautiful is to be loving

It is NOT the way you look. Look at how much time you spend on how you look. You work so hard on how you look, and there are people who don’t have half the features you do who are much happier than you. You’re fine, but you’re miserable. You’ve got your eyebrows arched, but you’re not happy. You have challenged the way God made your eyes more than you have challenged the way you think. They look pretty, but can they see? I’m not preaching against pretty, I’m just trying to say, “Have you tested your systems?” because I find that people are loyal to dysfunction. They will fight you to hold on to a system that’s not working.

“That’s just the way I am! Speak for yourself. That’s me.”

What if ‘me’ isn’t working?

How long will you hold on to a dysfunctional system and let life pass you by?

The system that is killing you is how you speak, how you understand, and how you think. Now, we’re gettin’ into it. The way you speak, the way you understand, and the way you think is your system, and your system is blocking the rain.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Good God of mercy. I’m trying not to unload it too fast.

could it be that you're still a child

What we’re dealing with is an immature inner life. An immature inner life. Not outer life. The outer life is maturing, but the inner life has not. Could it be possible — don’t nod, don’t nod, don’t move ’cause you don’t want anybody to know — that inside, you’re still a child? Reacting to stimulus like a child? Understanding your life like a child? A child — the reason that children go through trauma when they’re young and people divorce is children think it’s all their fault. Are you blaming yourself for things that are not within your control? Do you understand like a child? Are you carrying weights and crosses that have nothing to do with you, that were completely out of your control? Are you being victimized by you?

I spake, I understood, I thought: SUT.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, and I thought as a child. That’s all cool. You’re supposed to. When you’re immature, you’re supposed to speak immature(ly), understand immature(ly), and think immature(ly).

I have outgrown the way I speak the way I understand and the way I think

Here’s the problem: the problem comes with the but. The but says, “[But] when I became a man, okay, I put away childish things.” The but tells me that the fact that I became a man and then put away childish things — not “I put away childish things and that made me a man” — come on, can you think with me? You’ve got to be my daughter if you got what I just said. Because most people think, “If I can put away the childish things, I’ll be a man.” He said, “I became a man and still had a childish system that had to be put away. Because what WAS appropriate as a system is now inappropriate because I have outgrown the way I speak, the way I understand, and the way I think. I have outgrown the way I speak, the way I understand, and the way I think. I’m too big to be bound by this system. I’m too big to be bound by this system. I am bigger than the system. The system can’t put ME away, I must put IT away.” …

So what I got down into is, “When I became a man, since the childish things weren’t [were] there to put them away, that means that I can develop to a point that all of a sudden, I am developed outwardly but not inwardly.”

Are you a man — or woman — loyal to a system of a child, and are you waiting on the system to leave, or will you put it away? …

I’m gonna talk to you in a minute, but I want to put this iPad away. I put it away so I could talk to you. I put it away means I still know where it is, it still exists, but because it was restricting me from being able to reach you —

put it away

Shake your neighbor and say, “You can put it away.” … Before you lose this opportunity, you can put it away. Because if you don’t change your system, you will lose the opportunity. What I’m trying to say is: if you don’t put it away, it will put you away. If you don’t put it away, it will put you away. It’ll put away promotions, it’ll put away progress, it’ll put away love, it’ll put away life — no wonder [the apostle] Paul brings this up about love: If you don’t change your system, it will put love, life, prosperity — it will put it all away.

When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. I put away the systems. Now, you can’t put it away if you’re holding onto it. If you’re defending it. Are you defending something that’s killing you?

“Don’t take it away! Leave me alone! Get out of my face.”

Are you defending a system that is poisoning your water? Have you ever noticed, for how long you’ve been here, you have not accomplished what YOU think is your destiny? It must be your system. It must be your system.

I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child.

I spake. What do I say? What am I saying? What’s coming out of my mouth that’s childish? “The power of life and death is in the tongue.” What is coming out of my mouth that is poisoning my opportunities?

Can I teach this thing?

God wants you to change the way you speak.

But the one I really wanted to get to is the way you understand. The way you understand a thing determines your expected end.

relationship is healed

Have you ever been mad at somebody for something you THOUGHT they meant? And then when you called them up, you found out you were completely wrong, and immediately the relationship was repaired? It was repaired through understanding. The person is still the same, you’re still the same, but the way you perceive the thing is changed, and the relationship is healed.

Look at how powerful understanding is. Understanding is the truth you stand under. It is the truth you stand under. It is YOUR version of what happened. It is YOUR version of what’s wrong. It is YOUR version of what needs to be fixed, and you could be hindering the blessing of God because of your version of your life. What you choose to see about your life. What you choose to focus on. Because we all remember what happened, but we all emphasize different aspects of what happened. If you don’t believe that, call a family meeting and let everybody have something to say about what happened last September. …

[God] said, in all thy getting, get an understanding.

when you go to a counselor

As a minister, as a counselor, as a pastor, I have learned you cannot help people that you do not understand. You can’t just start throwing random answers at people. You’ve gotta listen before you speak. Do you not know that when you go to a counselor, all they do is help you to understand you? You pay $299/hour to get them to give you a different perspective on what happened to you. I’m not against counseling. I think it’s a wonderful thing. I think it’s a very powerful thing, and I would get it before I would miss the rain. I would get it every day before I would miss the rain. But you could cut down the learning curve if you would break the habit of always going back to the old system of processing what’s going on in your life. Because I think in your adult life, your little child is talking.

Galatians 4:1-2: As long as you are a child, you are differing nothing from a slave. You are a slave to the system. …

His system is blocking the rain, it’s blocking the blessing. He’s living like a slave though he be lord of all. And he is under tutors and governors … because of his immaturity. He is under people that he should be over. I’m gonna say it again: he is under people that he should be over, but until he grows up, he cannot inherit what is rightfully his. And you’re following people you ought to be leading. …

Somebody shout, “Put it away!”

Put it away.

Put it away.

I’ve gotta put it away.

I’ve gotta put it away.

I’ve gotta put it away.

I’ve gotta put it away.

I’ve gotta distance myself from it.

I’ve gotta separate myself from it.

I’ve gotta get it out of me.

I’ve gotta move it aside.

I’ve gotta resist the temptation to react in my old system.

I’ve gotta feel it and resist it till it ceases to be mine.

Slap somebody and tell them to put it away.

Sit down, I wanna talk to you a minute. We’ve gotta get this because we’ve gotta put it away.

We’ve gotta put it away.

We’ve gotta put it away.

First, we’ve gotta know that “it” is not “us.”

Can we embrace the fact that it is not us? The way I speak, the way I understand, and the way I think is not me. It’s a system. I can survive without it. Until you know that, you won’t kill it because you think killing it’s killing you, which stops you from being the new you. We’re going to a new normal, and in order to go to a new normal, we have to put away old things. Old systems. Childish responses.

identify it

How do we put it away? I can hear you saying that. [First] you cannot put away what you do not identify. You’ve gotta identify it every time it shows up and say, you know what, that’s not the way I want to understand it, that’s not the way I want to speak about it, and that’s not the way I want to think.

So when the thoughts come, I have to resist — the Bible said, once you identify it, number two: if you resist him, he will flee. This is resistance training. It’s [pushing] against it that’s going to make you strong. Every time it comes to control how you speak, how you understand, or how you think — the Bible said, if you resist it, it’ll flee. The more you resist it, it’ll flee. The more you cut the thought off and avoid it, it will die. The less you speak out what you thought, it will go away. The more you challenge how you understand it and say maybe it’s not that way, the less power it will have to be your truth any longer.

You can listen to Bishop T.D. Jakes Monday through Friday at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. EST on Radio 1000.