Roots

January 30, 2015

Matthew 3:7-10
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Roots

Roots in our lives come from seeds that were planted either in our lives or perhaps the generations before us. Roots go down into the recesses of our soul, but they produce fruit upward. That fruit can be good or bad, selfless or selfish, spiritual or fleshly. Like any good garden it is the gardener’s desire to enhance the fruitfulness of the good plants and to pull out the weeds that want to choke out what if fruitful and good. What happens to a weed if we only pull off what we can see? We know that if we didn’t get the root, the weed will grow back. Such are the areas of our lives that the good Gardner, the Holy Spirit wants search out in us and root out.
William Law wrote, “Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state. We are without God, because we are in the life of self. Self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking, are the very essence, and life of pride; and the devil the first father of pride, is never absent from them, nor without power in them. To die to these essential properties of self, is to make the devil depart from us. But as soon as we would have self-abilities have a share in our good works, the satanic spirit of pride is in union with us, and we are working for the maintenance of self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking.” He perceived that the major root of sin and separation from God is self. When Christ came into our lives it should be as John the Baptist said, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” All that was built upon the foundation and has the root of self in it must be cut away. That root must be cut out, along with all of the other off-shoot roots that it produces.
Many of us struggle in different areas of our lives. We may pull them off for a time, but then they seem to continue to come back, sometimes even stronger than before. The question is, “Have we found the root?” Unless we trace these strongholds back to their root they may be hard to get free of. Somewhere we or an ancestor as opened a door for a spiritual attachment to come in and find root. It doesn’t mean that we are possessed or anything, but it does mean that there can be a strong soul tie to something that needs God’s axe to sever and separate us from it. It is something that we recognize the fruit of in our outward life, but we haven’t fully identified the root of it and then renounced and cut off that soul tie to it. Sometimes these roots like those of our wisdom teeth can become candy-caned and intertwined in the areas of our life where it is a process of identifying, renouncing and cutting off these roots by the power and authority we have in Christ Jesus. Nothing ever leaves our lives until we have fully repented of them, renounced them and no longer give them permission in our lives. We can go through the motions, but until our will is one with the Father, these roots will not be fully extracted.
Hebrews 12:15 refers to one such root. “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Bitterness, offense, unforgiveness are roots that are prone to try to get a hold of members of the body of Christ. If we don’t recognize and deal with them they can cause division, dissention, backbiting, gossip, slander and all manner of poisonous manifestations that would defile the many. Prejudice is often a root that is passed to us from previous generations.
The Holy Spirit has indwelled us to bring us into the nature, mind and character of Christ. We need to have intimacy with the Father and the time in the Word so that we can say like David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24)”
It is only as we partner with the Holy Spirit that these roots can be identified and cut out. If we want a weed free garden, then it starts with our renouncement of self in every area of our lives and the full surrender to Christ as our Lord and King. As we give the Holy Spirit permission He will search our hearts and reveal things to us that we then must renounce, repent and surrender to Christ. This is an ongoing process in all of our lives, but the more we work in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to give Him place the more freedom and liberty in the Spirit we can come into.
A lot of us want to continue to sweep our issues under the rug and just ignore them, but we are only robbing ourselves of that place of greater fullness through a wholly surrendered life to Christ. Find your roots.

Blessings,
#kent

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Diligence

October 9, 2014

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

Diligence

It is often astounding when we have observed a garden or a lawn that at one time was so beautiful and groomed and then to observe it’s state after a time when it has been abandoned or neglected. What we see are two totally different scenes, first one of beauty and then one of weeds, deterioration and ruin. Our soul can be much the same way. It can be that beautiful garden where we meet and fellowship with God consistently and frequently. It can be a sanctuary of light and truth, filled with joy and blessing. In this state people can look upon it and see the beauty that fills it. What happens when we become less than diligent to maintain that fellowship and groom that garden of our soul? Little by little it will deteriorate. It will dry out, weeds will sprout up and the good fruit and plants will whither and die. A good garden requires continual diligence and so it is with our souls. Many of us can look back over our lives and see times when we have had that wonderful relationship and fellowship with God and our soul has flourished in the sunshine of His love and presence, but then other things came in and captivated our time and attention. We began to neglect more and more our time of prayer and fellowship with the Lord until our garden was one in name only, but not in appearance and fruitfulness. Darkness began to fill the areas where there had once been so much light and life and truth. Weeds began to spring up and choke out the purity, the love and the joy that once abounded there. One day it dawns upon us as we see our life a mess, what happened to my garden? What happened to that relationship and fellowship I once had? The Lord doesn’t abandon us, we abandon Him. He is always there to help us to reestablish that garden and that fellowship again. The thing that I have observed in my life is that when we give ground to the enemy, it is harder taking it back the second time. Yet, the Lord is there for us if we will return to Him in love and repentance.
Diligence is often what we loose sight of. Our Christianity and faith weren’t a one time thing when we walked an isle and gave our heart to Jesus, it is a day by day relationship that rejoices in the good times, but hangs tough and continues to trust even in the difficult and trying times. It is like a marriage, it needs our constant attention or we will grow apart. We want a relationship where every day with Jesus it sweeter than the day before.
Hebrew 6:10-12 exhorts us by saying, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Our faith is not a sprint it is a marathon. It is not about how fast we run in the beginning, but about our steady and steadfast run through life. It is not about starting the race, but about finishing it and that takes perseverance and all diligence. The Lord called each of us to be a partaker of His divine nature and He has given us great and precious promise through which we might enter in. 2 Peter 1:2-10 speaks to this diligence in obtaining all that God has called us too. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The Lord has given us all that we need, but we need the diligence to keep pressing into Him and maintaining that garden relationship with Him. Perhaps for some of us our relationship and fellowship with the Lord has been slipping away and we are loosing that closeness and intimacy with Him. Be diligent to turn back your heart to Him and draw near again. He loves you and delights in your visitation and your fellowship. Be diligent and don’t give up or turn away.

Blessings,
#kent

Conviction

November 14, 2012

Conviction

Hebrews 9:14
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Do you ever find the Holy Spirit meddling with your conscience? You’re going along in life and your pretty happy with most things and then the Lord starts to put His finger on something in your life. Oh no, here comes the conviction. Usually we try to politely ignore it to begin with. Maybe it will just go away after all, what is the big deal? I guess God doesn’t like to have His garden trashy and full of weeds. Those dead works are like dead wood; they are a fire hazard. Given the right condition they can ignite and provide the fuel for great destruction. Such is the case with the dead works in our life. They are not spiritually productive to produce the fruit of Christ in our lives or in the lives of others. And so the Holy Spirit comes knocking on the door of our conscience. Often He will use circumstances, trials or other people to get our attentions and bring the conviction on our lives. Experience has shown that spouses are particularly useful instruments in this regard. They can hold you accountable in ways that rival the Holy Spirit Himself.
Whatever the means that the Lord uses to deal with the dead wood of things like bad habits, behavior patterns, addictions or out of balance lives, to name a few, He will use. Like the saying goes, “He loves us the way we are, but too much to leave us that way.” This is why it is so important that we do not harden our hearts, but keep them in an attitude of humility and contriteness so that we can be sensitive to the area’s the Holy Spirit is dealing with and be quick to repent and obey. The truth is, we, as the people of God, want to be a holy people. That means a death to the areas of affections, desires and strongholds that have taken root in our lives. Our victory and our freedom are in letting go of all that is not of Christ. The thing we have to remember is that God never takes something away, but what He doesn’t give something better back.
“Lord, help us to be sensitive to the areas of conscience, even in the small and trivial things, where we are willing to listen to the conviction you place on our hearts. Help us not to ignore and try to run away from that conviction or harden our hearts where we become spiritually deaf, blind and dead. You are the Spirit of Life, so if you are bringing areas of our lives to the death of the cross, it so that you can sow back into those areas Life and blessing. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness to help us live an overcoming life that is overcoming the issues of sin and disobedience in us. Help us to willing give every area of our lives over to Your complete control and Lordship that You might be Lord of all. Give us the strength to be willing to continually yield these areas of dealing to You. Thank you Lord, in your name we pray. Amen.”

Blessings,
kent

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