This blog was first posted in May 2017. I felt impressed to post this blog again because I know many of us struggle with feeling stuck in the same place after years of being saved (same song just second verse). We appear to be failing in the same areas over and over again, like riding a merry-go-round. Here are three things to consider which may help us in understanding the important ingredients of maturing in our relationship with our Lord.
When I was a therapist working with clients or even now as a pastoral counselor, my goal has always been to try to get to the ‘root’ of the problems which were presented to me. I look at each person as a tree. When you look at a tree that has matured, its foliage usually is green and healthy, right? However, when you look at a tree that is diseased, the leaves are missing. If it has
The ‘root’ of a tree establishes its permanence and its firmness in the soil which covers it. If the ‘roots’ are not planted deep in the soil, held firmly in place as the tree grows, it will eventually become weak, fragile, and ineffective. Some trees die especially when a gust of wind blows. Another factor is, if the tree’s ‘roots’ are growing in unhealthy soil or mixed with impurities, it will die. There are many problems which cause trees to get diseased or die, let’s examine three of them:
Root Rot: Excess water makes it very difficult for the ’roots’ to get the air they need, causing them to decay. To avoid root rot, it’s best to only water trees and plants when the soil becomes dry, and keep it well-drained. Overwatering a tree can be damaging to its health. How many of us, read and read, study and study the Bible, or go to church constantly and not allow what we have learned to become a part of who we are. We are listening, but we are not obeying. James calls us hearers of the word but not doers, we deceive ourselves thinking we are growing in the Lord.
Poor Nutrients in the Soil: If the soil is not at the right temperature, does not have the right balance of nutrients to feed on, the tree will die. Another reason for not growing or bearing fruit is that we do not allow the Lord in us to remove or cut out things in our lives that are choking the truth. We are ever learning and reading but are not taking Him seriously to surrender the debris hindering our growth.
What if the tree has the water it needs and the right nutrients it needs to grow and is still unhealthy, we must look at another possibility? The most serious thing which can weaken or kill a tree are insects?
Insects: Insects are known for eating away and infesting the tree so it stunts its growth and keeps it from maturing and becoming what it was designed to be. The greatest insect every child of God must ward off is ‘unbelief’ which manifests in our lives as doubt and fear. It is the monster we must face and fight with faith and truth every day, or it will eat us alive! This little insect appears to be harmless, but it clouds our judgment and our perspective of who our Lord and Father are and who we truly are In Christ. It tells us, “God is not who He says He is. God will not do what He says He will do. You are not who He says You are, so don’t believe Him?” And, we choose to listen to him and fall for his lies every day. Just listen to his lies… “Your Father or Jesus don’t love you. You can’t really trust them. No one understands you. You don’t need the Lord, You can make your own decisions. You are all alone and have to figure life out for yourself.” The lies go on and on then we allow it to get into our minds, our hearts, and our lips. We speak its words through our lips and we believe the lies it tells us. ‘Unbelief’ is a liar and came from the father of lies. In Hebrews 4:12, our Lord warned us of this pesky little critter but how many of us listen to and obeys what our Lord through His word tell us? He states:
“Be careful, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.” Listen to its strategy… to turn us away, even for a moment, from our Father!
When we are listening to and interacting with ‘unbelief,’ we can’t rest in our Father’s arms, trust in His words to us, sit in His lap and cuddle with Him. Instead, we hide in books, social media, movies, food, shopping, and other activities. We are anxious, fearful, worried, trying to figure out life on our own, making our own plans, wrestling, and discontented. What do I do Tresca when I find myself this way? Here is what I encourage you to do. First, repent, then use your will, to say No! Tell that voice speaking to you through the flesh, “That’s a lie! That’s not the TRUTH!” Then, submit to the Lord and resist the evil one and he will flee. This is a battle that has already been won! BUT I must participate and do my part by standing in the Grace and Freedom my Jesus has purchased for me!
Prayer: Father I am sorry because I have been listening to the voice of the evil one, ‘unbelief.’ I have turned away from the truth, ONLY YOU ARE THE TRUTH, NO OTHER. I stand in the facts of who You say You are in Your Word and also who You say I am. I choose to moment by moment turn to you when I hear its stinking voice. Thank you that I am forgiven and never condemned by my disobedience, right now, I rest in your Grace and Love. Amen