|GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
By Geoff Dunn
The last year has been the greatest year of my life and several recent events have brought these events into clear focus. I believe that you may be blessed by what I have to share
Many years ago, when I first heard God's Word, I was drawn to it because of the great power it promised. God's Word taught me (among many other things) that Jesus Christ came that I could have an abundant life now, that I could be more than a conqueror in every situation, that I could have every need met in life, that I could have perfect health, great joy, peace and love in my life, and that I could help people in a powerful and dynamic way.
Yet, as I had walked the Word these many years I had failed to see many of these promises of God come into full fruition in my life. Had I grown in the Word? Certainly, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this today. But the great power of God was still not completely evident in parts of my life and in other parts, not in evidence at all. That was simply wrong and must be corrected.
Now is God's Word not true? You can draw your own conclusions but the flaw was not in God's Word - I believe it's true even if it never comes to pass - but the flaw was my failure to apply the Word as it was taught to me. Rather than believing it in totality I had rationalized my failure into unbelief.
As I pondered my life I saw that I had done many of the right things through the years - I confessed the Word mentally and verbally every day. I studied the Word and fellowshipped with believers regularly. I ministered the Word to people and operated the nine manifestations. I abundantly shared to move the Word. But doing all these things had only given me mediocre results when held against the standard of God's Word.
Now, some Christians are OK with that and will maintain status quo. I, however, had determined in my heart that I would see the Word live just as it is described in God's Word. I made a renewed determination to reign in life by the power of Jesus Christ regardless of my past failures.
If you, too, would like to do the same then read on. I believe this will open your eyes to a major flaw in doctrine and practice that has caused the Word to not live up to its billing in many believer's lives.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
All the events of the last year were brought into sharp focus recently when I was working in my vegetable garden. I recently moved into a house where there was a neglected garden (the owners intended on moving and it wasn't their priority). Being an avid gardener I wanted to prepare the garden for next spring. I got my turning fork out to till the soil and remove the weeds but to my chagrin I discovered that the plot was overrun with bindweed. Bindweed is a particularly stubborn weed that once established is very difficult to remove. It's not the type of weed that you just grab at the base and yank out because its roots go very, very deep (I had to dig down 30" to get to the end of the roots). To further complicate things when you dig it up every little piece of broken root left in the ground will sprout. In order to get it under control I had to dig one small, deep section at a time and then carefully screen all of the soil with my hands and remove as many of the roots as I could find. This required many hours of labor.
Most people wouldn't work the soil this hard but I love gardening and it was like play to me because I enjoy working the ground and, more so, enjoy the ultimate fruit it will bring - an abundant garden not choked out by weeds next year. My experiences with God's Word over this last year were much the same - a lot of work but fun especially when I consider the great benefits.
As I worked the soil I also was working the Word in my mind (a garden is a great place for thinking). I was thinking over the issue of why the Word hadn't lived up to its billing in the past. As I dug at the roots I remembered a quote of Henry Thoreau's:
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."
Digging in my garden it occurred to me that I had simply plucked at the weeds on the surface of my life but hadn't taken the time to dig up the roots. I was not "striking at the root." Considering this I changed that phrase to:
"There are a thousand believers who are hacking at the branches of evil in their lives to one who is striking at the roots."
And therein was the problem in my life (and maybe yours, too). All the things I did in and for God's Word were good things but as Jesus Christ said, "…these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." (Matthew 23:23b). I had been pulling weeds but left the root intact. I needed to do both.
But what is the root? Dr. Wierwille told us in several of his writings.
"The "synchronized life" is simply stated by this formula: confession of belief yields receipt of confession." (1)
Many believers, myself included, took this to mean that all I had to do to change my life was memorize a verse, say it out loud over and over and voila! like magic, it would come to pass. It turns out that there was a little more to it. Consider these quotes:
"If you want to get rid of something today, you must focus, dwell on what you want." (2)
"If you want to get out of your prisons today, immediately change your thinking about your situation; change your subject of focus. As you change your thinking, you will draw a mental pattern for the things you do want in your life, which in turn will dispel and root out the things you do not want…However, if within half an hour you have forgotten to keep your thinking changed and you fall back into your own negative rut, you will be back living the same way you were before." (3)
"The picture that you carry of yourself with clearness and concern is what you are." (4)
"What a person confesses in his innermost being is what he brings into manifestation in his life… If you will confess with your mouth at the same time that you confess in your heart what the Word says, you will have power." (5)
"So long as I cannot get my mouth and my heart coordinated on some point that
is confirmed by The Word, I have no power with God." (6)
The problem wasn't with my mouth. The problem was with the thoughts of my innermost being. The picture I had developed wasn't aligned with God's picture of me. My spiritual self-esteem was far below where God said it should be. My heart and my mouth were saying two different things. The picture I carried had many flaws because it was a painting based on past failures in my walk, not the successes.
Many believers will go to a fellowship and hear the Word and leave refreshed and blessed but within a day (sometimes hours or even minutes later) are back to their negative ways. They "reign in life" but for a brief moment. Why? Because they only temporarily changed their thinking. During the fellowship they pulled a few weeds instead of digging deeper with the shovel of God's Word and digging at the root of their problem.
Someone once defined insanity as, "to keep trying the same things repeatedly expecting a different result." That's what I had done through the years. I kept trying the same things repeatedly in spite of the fact that they failed. I rationalized my failure by blaming it on the adversary, my old man nature and people who had hurt me (to name a few). But the reality is that the failure was because I failed to understand and apply the simple principles of God's Word. Instead I tapped my own cisterns instead of drinking from God's fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13).
Dr. Wierwille also taught:
"Many born-again believers are spiritually defeated in this life because of sin-consciousness. They have been saved, but Satan comes to their minds and tells them they are not good enough for salvation because of the years they lived in sin." (7)
For many of us we don't have a problem believing we're good enough for salvation but that we are good enough for all the other great things of God. The reality is that we will never be good enough for any of these things in and of ourselves or by our good works. The promises of God are 100% available to us today by His grace through the Lord Jesus Christ. To bring them into reality in our lives we must change our heart-image and still do the good works. But remember we don't do the good works to earn them but rather we respond in love because of all that God has freely done for us.
It's the Heart, Stupid!
While we need to continue to confess the Word, we must also work at changing the heart image of who we are. We must identify the "weeds" in our life, dig them out and plant positive images of who we are in Christ. This is a "heart matter."
To understand the mechanics of this we need to understand that our soul life consists of two primary parts: the mind (the conscious thinking) and the heart, which is the root of that thinking (often referred to as the subconscious). To put it in computer terms, your heart is the hard drive of your soul and the mind is the software. No matter how good the software, if the hard drive is flawed the software will never run correctly but will constantly crash.
In order to make the software of our lives run right we must fix the hard drive. Then the software will run smoothly. This is how we "strike at the root."
God's Word speaks of changing the heart, which is the hard drive of our soul. Note these verses and pay special attention to the fact that God doesn't say "thinking" or "verbal confession" but "heart."
Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
"Apply" is elsewhere translated "brought" as in Genesis 2:19, "and brought them [the animals] unto Adam to see what he would call them:" or Genesis 2:22 "and brought her [Eve] unto the man [Adam]." In Genesis 4:4 it says, "And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof."
We are to bring the instruction of God's Word and present it to our heart with the intent that our heart will accept it.
When wisdom entereth into thine heart [not your mind], and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee [once it is in your heart]:
"Entereth" is the same word as "apply" in Proverbs 23:12. "When wisdom is brought into your heart and presented with the intent of acceptance."
Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart [not your thinking] in the way [of God's Word].
The word "guide" is most often translated in the Old Testament as "blessed." We are to bless our heart by bringing it into the way of God's Word.
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
"Keep" can also be translated as "guard" and is the root word for the watchman at the gates or a gatekeeper. Our heart is to guard God's Word and not allow it to be stolen once it is in our heart.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
A literal translation according to Biblical usage could read, "Guard your heart with the effort, care and diligence of a prison guard for out of your heart come the borders of your life and determine how much of it you will dominate and how far you will allow yourself to go."
What are the borders of your life that you have set in your heart? Here are a few I had confessed in my heart and some I've heard others share:
"My career will only allow me to make just enough to live therefore I will never make a lot of money - but I just need to be thankful."
"I have abundantly shared for years but still I don't see any real abundance but hopefully someday…."
"I have prayed and prayed for ________ (fill in the blank) and still not gotten an answer to my prayer. Maybe God doesn't want me to have it."
"Why have I failed at getting healed so many times?"
"I have stood for God for many years yet the promises of God still don't seem to come to pass."
"I wish I could walk like that other believer. I guess I'm just not as good at the Word as them."
"Why do I, after all these years, still fall into that sin?"
The list could go on and on and maybe you could add a few, but you get the picture.
A believer recently shared that human beings tend to avoid the hard things in their lives and focus on changing the easy things. We ignore the things that require effort in favor of those things that are simple to change. Occasionally we take them out, look at them but stick them back in the drawer to deal with later. People often say to themselves "I need to deal with that problem but I'm just not ready today. I'll deal with it tomorrow." Or they say, "I don't have what I need to deal with that now but when everything is right then I'll tackle it."
Most people are not experts at many things but most people are experts at procrastination. Someone once defined procrastination as "putting off until tomorrow what you should have done yesterday." Experienced procrastinators change tomorrow to "next year." The gold medal winners get through their entire lives and cross the finish line having never done the things that would have helped them the most.
Maybe that's OK for unbelievers but for us as believers we need to take the high road. We don't have an eternity here on earth. We only have so much time to see the Word live in our lives. So, if Jesus Christ really came that we could have a more than abundant life we need to make up our minds to stop procrastinating and start dealing with the roots of failure.
In order to change the root problems in your life you need to recognize a few things.
1) According to Ephesians 4:22 the old man nature "…is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." That is, it is steadily rotting away and only gets worse with time. We have to recognize that it is a deep-seated root that will attempt to sprout but if we keep ourselves busy with planting the Word deep in our heart it will not have room or means to grow.
2) This work will, like my garden, require some serious effort (in the form of meditation).
3) It won't happen overnight. It will take more than a few minutes a week or going to fellowship now and then.
4) It will require prayer.
5) Once started it will become so exciting that you will wonder why you waited so long.
It is said that the great things in life don't come easy. The truth is that Jesus Christ did the really hard part and our part is the easy part in comparison.
This is what I did to turn things around and get at the roots of the problem:
1) I locked myself in my office for the day, shut off the phone and determined that I was going to work at a solution and not quit until I had a definite plan. I made the commitment that I was no longer going to avoid my problems but face them head on with the Word and the power of the holy spirit within me.
2) I got quiet, spoke in tongues and talked to the Father looking for insight into identifying the areas of my life that did not align with God's Word. I wasn't looking so much for the sins in my life but rather the areas where I had not allowed God and His Word to live.
3) Once I identified the specific areas where my self-image did not align with God's Word I wrote them down.
4) Next, I wrote down everything that I still wanted to do in my life regardless of how silly or impossible.
5) Once I had written them down I considered deeply what these things said about my self-image in comparison with God's Word.
6) I then proceeded to "draw" a written description of who I really am in Christ.
7) After that I spent an hour dwelling on that image mentally seeing myself doing the things this new image would enable me to do.
8) Everyday I read the written description of who I am and where I am going aloud several times. Then I meditate on it for however long it takes to make that picture the prominent image in my mind that day.
9) During my daily routines, whenever possible, I reflect on the new image. When I am driving (or any time I am alone) I recite the written picture aloud.
Having done this faithfully over the last year I have seen my fellowship with the Father become the most treasured thing in my life. Because of that I have cast off much of my old sin nature and tendencies to sin because I love being with the Father so much that I don't want to jeopardize that wonderful relationship. It's like the line from the song, "turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace."
In addition to that I have been completely healed of a degenerative disk in my neck which caused me great pain and tension, I have the "perfect" job that is fulfilling yet not overly taxing on my life and time, I have far more time to devote to speaking and teaching the Word, our household income has tripled and God has opened the doors so that I am able to do the many things in life that I had all but given up on. And (as "an added bonus") the joy and peace I used to know has returned.
This is the method I used but it is not necessarily how you would go about it. Do it whatever way works for you. However, the important principles that you have to apply regardless of method are these:
1) Make a serious decision to do it.
2) Invest serious thought and meditation.
3) Invest serious time knowing that you must take heed unto yourself first and in so doing you will be far more effectual at helping others.
4) Be persistent.
5) Do whatever it takes to maintain and enhance your new image and your ability to focus.
6) Putting things into writing helps immensely in identifying and clarifying issues and maintaining your focus. Somehow, we take written statements much more seriously.
7) Get busy doing things to move the Word as an ambassador for Christ. Fellowship often, witness often, share of your time, money, resources and unique abilities.
Remember we are all that God has in this day and time. The Word will never live for you unless YOU do it. We have a God-given job to do and God doesn't have time to wait for us to be perfect. So, don't lay around in self-pity nursing old wounds. Get up and get out. He needs us to live a more abundant live and it is our unique privilege and honor. We glorify God when we believe His Word. Let's get busy glorifying Him.
In closing I'd like to quote a profane writer, Aldous Huxley. Being British, it is an understated tongue-in-cheek quote and in a different context altogether from this article but, nevertheless, still apropos:
Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrong-doing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.(8)
1 The Bible Tells Me So by Dr. V.P. Wierwille; 1971; The American Christian Press: Pg. 31
2 Ibid: pg. 6
3 Ibid: pg. 7
4 Ibid: pg. 8
5 Ibid: pg. 31
6 Ibid: pg. 33
7 Ibid: pg. 67
8 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; Perennial Classics 1998 reprint; foreword paragraph 1
Colorado Springs, CO
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