Ellis Washington
Symposium--detours of destiny
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By Ellis Washington
December 10, 2015

Socrates (470-399 B.C.) was a famous Greek philosopher from Athens, who taught Plato, and Plato taught Aristotle, and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great. Socrates used a simple but cleverly profound method of teaching by asking penetrating, revelatory, and psychologically probing questions. The Greeks called this form Dialectic – starting from a thesis or question, then discussing ideas and moving back and forth between points of view to determine how well ideas stand up to critical review, with the ultimate principle of the dialogue being Veritas – Truth.


Peter Paul Reubens (1577-1640): Samson and Delilah (circa 1609-10) – After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. ~ Judges 16:19

"Strong minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Weak minds discuss people."

~ Socrates

"To become a man is to enter in to your destiny and your life's purpose. And if you never do that, anybody who comes along and touches you can pollute you. Anybody that comes along and touches you can dilute you. Anybody that comes along and touches you can distract you... I'd rather be lonely going up than to have company going to Hell."

~ Bishop T.D. Jakes, Manpower 1998 Sermon – Detours to Destiny

Characters:

Socrates

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Everyman
{represents various modes of manhood}

Socrates: What is Destiny? What is Purpose? To not understand Destiny is to lose sight of Purpose and when you lose sight of Purpose you can never monitor success. Let me tell you what I mean by Destiny – I mean it is to be cognizant of the fact that you have been called by God; that God put you here for a reason. That He has a purpose for your life regardless to how you got here, the very fact that God breathed into the breath of life, declared you a living soul. No matter what you do – large or small, mighty or great, if you fail to accomplish that purpose you are going to be an absolute failure.

Destiny and Purpose are the two central ideas for our consideration and exposition. Thus, we are gathered here today at my Symposium at Manpower 98 with Bishop T.D. Jakes whose sermon – He loved me enough to be late, which is taken from the Book of Judges 16:20-31. Let us hear the Word of the Lord:
    16:20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

    21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

    22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

    23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

    24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.

    25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars...

    30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

    31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.
Bishop T.D. Jakes: I think that one of the most important things you can know or understand is to become cognizant of the fact that you have a destiny. If you don't recognize that you have a destiny, you will pilfer your life away in foolishness and rhetoric and fail to recognize that every day you waste you are spending time that you will never have again. To not understand destiny is to lose sight of purpose and when you lose sight of purpose you can never monitor success. For the Bible says, "That a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses."

You can own whatever you want to own, you can buy whatever you want to buy, you can build whatever you want to build, but that is really not living. [Football prodigy] Dion Sanders...a voice from the grave, a voice resurrected from the pit of Hell to declare graphically and pointedly to us that we don't have time to play games. That many of us that are distracted from God are too busy for Him – That we are failing to realize that if we gain everything and lose our souls then it will mean absolutely nothing at all.



The Enemy is killing our family – He's killing our future. He's killing our career – He's killing us spiritually, emotionally, physically, and economically while we are trapped by the sensation of – If it feels good do it. Little boys trapped in big men's bodies still living out fantasies from their childhood when Paul said, "When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things." To become a man is to enter in to your destiny and your life's purpose. And if you never do that, anybody who comes along and touches you can pollute you. Anybody that comes along and touches you can dilute you. Anybody that comes along and touches you can distract you.

And the Bible is full of men far better than me who have been distracted and detoured from their destiny. It is full of men; there are enough men in the Bible who have detoured from their destiny for all of us to run out of here scared and fall down on our knees and pray until daybreak. Because let me tell you something – If you miss your destiny nothing else that you do is going to matter worth a hill of beans. And the reason why you see so many old men who are bitter and frustrated and resentful and killers of young men – They are old men who have lived their life and come to a stage of regret because they recognize that they have pilfered away an opportunity God had given them to live and to be used, and now they are left with nothing but the sad memories of a loss opportunity.

Socrates: I am a Universalist, thus I believe in learning universal truths through what other great men have achieve from antiquity. The Great Roman Statesman Cicero wrote of my Universalist Philosophy in this manner, "Socrates was the first to call Philosophy down from the skies, and establish her in the towns, and introduce here into people's homes, and force her to investigate ordinary life, ethics, good and evil."

Bishop, will you declare to this Symposium about men in the Bible who delayed or even missed their Destiny by falling into the Devil's Detour – the Enemy's trap?

Bishop T.D. Jakes:
  • Abraham detoured from his opportunity and went down to Gerar and almost lost his wife – almost lost his life – almost lost his everything he had.

  • Samson's obvious detour was with Delilah.

  • David's detour was Bathsheba...

  • Jeremiah detours and ends up in prison.

  • Elijah detours up under the juniper tree and loses his purpose.

  • Peter detours warming himself by the fire, curses a woman out and denies knowing the Lord.

  • Thomas detours in his pilgrimage doubt and begins to doubt that Christ was the Messiah.

  • John the Baptist – the forerunner of Jesus Christ who preached repentance for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand, later locked up in jail detours from his faith and says, "Art thou the Christ or shall we look for another?"
And there are hundreds upon hundreds of men in this room who were created for a divine purpose. And some of your mothers knew it – They prayed for you. Grandmothers knew it. They knew that God had a destiny for you and for your life. And you believed the Enemy's lie and settled for the crumbs when you could have had the cake. And whether you know it or not you are on a detour road and if you don't turn around {deliberately} you-are-going-to-miss-your-destiny!

The Bible says some powerful things about Samson and I want to go over these things with you. The Bible says that they took him – And they put out his eyes – That they brought him down to Gaza – That they bound him with fetters – And caused him to grind in the prison of social disgrace. The Bible says that there are 5 Consequences to a Detour that I want to give you. If you get on a side road this is what you got to deal with. This is the plot of the Enemy.

No. 1It is the loss of control. They took him – Samson, the Mighty Man, the one who was used to taking control over every situation, now finds himself under the control of something that was weaker than him. It is a sure sign that you are on a detour road when something that you used to control is now controlling you.

No. 2 – The loss of vision. They put out his eyes. When you get a detour the second thing that the Enemy wants to do besides take control of you is to cause you to lose your vision. For the Bible has said that, "Without a vision the people perish." – We are coming into the Enemy's camp and take back what he stole. But you can't take back what you can't see. Do you see anything beyond where you are?

God told Abraham, "Look out from where you are." You need a vision beyond your circumstances, beyond your neighborhood. I don't care if you growing up in the worst Red Light District in the city, you need to see outside of that city. Drive your children in a better neighborhood and tell them, "Someday we are coming out of this mess." Put a vision down in your children, because if you don't get a vision to get up, you cannot get up if you cannot see.


Samson grinding at the mill

No. 3 – The Loss of Position. The Bible says, "...they brought him down." When the Enemy gets you on a detour it always brings you down. Avoid anything or anybody or any association that brings you down. There are some people you have to cut lose. There are some people you have to leave alone. The way to judge those you need to leave alone is where they are taking you. If you notice that being around them is taking you down, cut them lose. Paul said, "I'll let nothing separate me from me from the love of God – neither height nor depth, nor powers, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor any other creature."

He said now that I've got my head on straight I'm not going to let my association with anybody become so important to me that I'll allow you to take me down where I just came up from. Some of us have been so close to Hell that our clothes smell like smoke and we don't ever want to go back down again. And I'd rather be lonely going up, than to have company with me going to Hell!

No. 4 – The Loss of Mobility. The Bible says, "They bound him with fetters." Anytime you get into something that restricts you and locks you up where you can't move and you can't do and you can't praise. Some of you even in this room, you can't even praise. They can't see it, but you've got handcuffs on your hands. You've got fetters on your feet. You feel funny praising God.

Everyman: {Collected frustration} Well Bishop you don't understand the situations of all the men at this Manpower 98 Conference. We feel awkward demonstrating feelings and emotions. It's not manly to be emotional, right Bishop?

Bishop T.D. Jakes: {Skeptical} You feel awkward raising your hands and you tell yourself it's because you are not emotional, but I want to ask you a question – You express Anger real well. Is not Anger an emotion? You express Lust and Passion real well. You can become real passionate about sin, but when it comes to praising God you are too macho to praise God.

Let me tell what's really wrong with you. The Devil has got you bound – Your joy – Your Peace – Your emotions are dead. You just as frigid as a Frigidaire [refrigerator] and you need to come to the altar and say, "Create in me a clean heart and renew within me a right spirit." I'm tired of dragging these chains around on my hands and feet. We ought to stop having Woman Thou Art Loosed and start having Man Thou Art Loosed. {Praises to God}

No. 5 – The Loss of Status. The Bible said, "He [Samson] found himself grinding in a prison." He lost all status. He come to a basement. He come to absolutely nothing. He is doing the menial when he was called to do the mighty. You detour from your destiny and you find that you are doing menial things when you could have done mighty things. Now menial things are not bad when you're not called to do mighty things. But when you have the potential to do mighty things and you find yourself so messed up that you're tied up with menial things and you lose respect for yourself, it's a sure sign that the Enemy has put you on a detour road.

And if we as men would stop making the mistake of Adam. When God asked Adam, "Where art thou?" Instead of Adam doing a self-analysis and admitting he had drifted away, he immediately started blaming other people and said...

Everyman: {Accusatory tone} "The woman that thou gave me, she made me..."

Bishop T.D. Jakes: Sooner or later you gotta stop blaming your daddy who didn't raise you – Blaming your mama who sent you to live with Aunt Agnes – Your neighborhood because it wasn't a good neighborhood – The color of your skin – Who didn't like you down at the school. Sooner or later you have to conclude...

Everyman: Well I came through Hell and high water, but I'm coming through. I'm coming through if I've got to slide on my belly. I'm coming through if I've got to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I'm coming out of this mess because I've got too much in front of me to let the stuff behind me hold me back.


Bishop T.D. Jakes: You too young to throw in the towel and tell the Devil it's over, you better slap yourself in the face and tell yourself to wake up! {Praises to God} ... You need a coach. You see coaches bring out the best in you. And generally coaches aren't real nice. And instead of some us preachers trying to be popular, we need to become confrontational because... Most of us didn't have any daddies and if we didn't have any pastors we're not going to get any daddies. So you need somebody who will get right in the corner of the ring and say...

Everyman: {Channeling a surrogate father or life coach} Hit him in the knee! Hit him in the leg! Hit him in the eye! Get back in there! Get back! You can do it! What you mean you going to give up? – The devil is a lie!

Bishop T.D. Jakes: You get back in there and fight. Wipe the sweat out of your brow and go to War! Hit somebody and tell them – This Means War! Before I let the Devil destroy my Destiny, I'll go to war. I'll go to war and fight. {Bishop to the prisoners} If you can't get out of the prison, start ministering in the prison. While you're still in the prison start you a Bible class. Become the First Bishop of the Correctional Facility. You got to do something, Baby! {Praises to God}

Walk up and down the cell block and start casting out Devils and laying hands in the name of Jesus and rebuking the Enemy. Stop the raping and the molesting and the abusing. You were already abused that's how you got in the mess you were in. You don't need to let someone else abuse you, the Devil is a lie. You got to get yourself together and say, "Wait a minute, Devil – the abuse is over. You should have killed me while you had the chance, but I'm getting my sight back now and I'm going to War!"

And so there he [Samson] is, grinding at the mill. When God gets ready to do something in your life He gets you by yourself. He's alone – No lights, No action, No camera, No big name, No big reputation. He used to be the Judge of Israel, now he's just a beast of burden. He's been reduced down to his lowest common denominator.

But they taught us in school that if you get ready to multiply a fraction, you had to reduce it to its lowest common denominator. And anytime God gets ready to multiply your life He has to reduce you down to your lowest common denominator because when your numbers were real big you wouldn't listen to Him, but when he gets finished with trimming you down to a workable size you'll be ready to hear what [God has to say]. And that's why some of us are here right now. We've been reduced down to our lowest common denominator. {Bishop to the Devil} But Devil don't mark me out – God didn't reduce me down to kill me, He reduced me down to multiply me. And before it's over I'm going to come back stronger than I ever was before. Touch somebody and say, "He's talking about me now!"

Socrates: Well you have spoken, Bishop nevertheless I am compelled to add this addendum to this existential narrative – How can Men in modern times have the requisite discipline and faith to order their Purpose to fulfill their Destiny? – How can Destiny and Purpose unite to defeat the Spirit of Delilah, a strong, Seducing Spirit that has vexed Mankind since Eve tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden?

Bishop T.D. Jakes: Understand as men, because we are so vulnerable to Delilah's – in all of their shapes and forms and facets, when I speak to you about Delilah I do not speak about Women alone, because women may be your Delilah, but it may not be your only Delilah. Delilah doesn't have to be a woman at all. Delilah can be a drug of choice. Whatever it is that saps your strength and cuts your hair, it becomes Delilah to you.

Delilah doesn't have to be a drug, she can be a drink. She can be a man. It doesn't matter what Delilah is, it is a Seducing Spirit that distracts you from your Destiny and causes you not to recognize who you are... Satan doesn't have any new tricks, he just has the same old tricks, but he uses them over and over and over again. There is nothing in this world but the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. That's all he can ever use against you. If you overcome these three tests you have licked everything that the Devil will send against you.

Sometimes God has to get you by yourself to get you to come to yourself.

... Detours of Destiny.




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Ellis Washington

Ellis Washington is a former staff editor of the Michigan Law Review (1989) and law clerk at the Rutherford Institute (1992). Currently he is an adjunct professor of law at the National Paralegal College and the graduate school, National Jurisprudence University, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics, American History, Administrative Law, Criminal Procedure, Contracts, Real Property, and Advanced Legal Writing, among many other subjects... (more)

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