Refuge

Salvation ... comes from the Lord ... because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Invisible Becomes Visible

            Last time we examined the importance of "self-talk" and each person taking ownership of the responsibility to discover and utilize his\her God-given identity and purpose while living on this planet earth. Motivating the self to change in a positive direction is somewhat like an ant trying to navigate an elephant to an oasis in the jungle. Many theology and psychology experts agree that the subconscious mind has a bent towards negative programming.  The natural mind must be intentionally and consistently submitted to the reprogramming of God Almighty, in order for the Author of Creation to unfold the perfect blueprint for all things right and just (Psalm 89:14).
            Quite honestly, most people are content to muddle through life finding only bits and pieces of their "personal blueprint" for success (oasis).  Most lack strategy to re-program the negative programming. Most treat life much too superficially, not looking deep enough below the surface to make lasting change in their mental, emotional, and spiritual condition.
            One arena in life where this becomes very practical is in our attitudes toward money and wealth building. In a book called, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth, author T. Harv Eker points out that a person's income and ability to manage money is directly related to their internal capacity to grow in character, thinking processes, and belief systems. Research shows that 80 percent of individuals will never be financially free in the way they would like to be, and 80 percent will never claim to be truly happy.  Eker explains why, "The reason is simple. Most people are unconscious. They are a little asleep at the wheel. They work and think on a superficial level of life—based only on what they can see. They live strictly in the visible world."              Eker goes on to explain how the roots create the fruits,  "Imagine a tree. Let's suppose this tree represents the tree of life. On this tree there are fruits. In life, our fruits are called our results. So we look at the fruits (our results) and we don't like them; there aren't enough of them, they're too small, or they don't taste good.
            So what do we tend to do? Most of us put even more attention and focus on the fruits, our results. But what is it that actually creates those particular fruits? It's the seeds and the roots that create those fruits.
            It's what's under the ground that creates what's above the ground. It's what's invisible that creates what's visible. So what does that mean? It means that if you want to change the fruits, you will first have to change the roots. If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible" (p12).
            He goes on to say, "In my experience, what you cannot see in this world is far more powerful than anything you can see. You may or may not agree with this statement, but to the extent that you do not apply this principle in your life, you must be suffering. Why? Because you are going against the laws of nature, whereby what is under the ground creates what is above the ground, where what is invisible creates what is visible.
As humans, we are a part of nature, not above it. Consequently, when we align with the laws of nature and work on our roots—our "inner" world—our life flows smoothly. When we don't, life gets rough.
            In every forest, on every farm, in every orchard on earth, it's what's under the ground that creates what's above the ground. That's why placing your attention on the fruits that you have already grown is futile. You cannot change the fruits that are already hanging on the tree. You can, however, change tomorrow's fruits."
            Our physical plane of existence is directly tied to three other realms: mental, emotional, and spiritual  These four spheres together feed a primary law which governs life: the principle of cause and effect. Money, wealth, health, illness, body weight, habits, addictions, etc. are all results. A lack of money, for example, is never a problem. Sometimes it is tempting to assert that a lack of money is a problem. A lack of money is merely a symptom of what is going on underneath. Whatever results one is dealing with, whether rich or poor, good or bad, positive or negative, always point to the outer world as simply a reflection of an inner world reality.  If things aren't going well in the outer world, it's because things aren't going well in the inner life. The only way to change results (outer world), is to first change the roots (inner world).
            Eker also expounds something called the Process of Manifestation. That is: thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions, and actions lead to results (T>F>A=R).  The engine to this process is our preset programming (or conditioning) from parents, siblings, authority figures, teachers, religious leaders, media, and other things like culture. Individuals are taught what to think and how to act, about money, for example. Eker describes three forms of conditioning: verbal programming, modeling, and specific incidents.  These influences create a storage and retrieval system in the human brain like file cabinets which hold data and help make critical decisions for responses.
            Eker's insights align with teachings from the Bible including Proverbs and parables from Jesus Himself. "As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man" (Prov. 27:19). "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart" (Prov. 17:3).  "A man's own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord" (Prov. 19:3). "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out" (Prov. 20:5). Jesus says, "But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean'" (Matt 15:18).  He says, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.  The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks" (Luke 6:43-44).
            Jesus tells a story about a farmer sowing seed which falls on four different types of soil. Three types were bad and only one was good soil producing a crop (Mark 4). The "tree of life" mentioned above will only produce good fruit if it is plugged into good soil. I emphasize this point in a book I authored a few months ago called Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart. I show how disappointments and offenses can contaminate the soil and cause bad fruit even sometimes without us being aware of what is going on. In my opinion, one of the greatest needs in the life of most people is a reprogramming of their understanding and practice of forgiveness. Common effects (bad fruits) of unforgiveness include stress and anxiety, self-inflicted condemnation, lack of trust and love, anger and bitterness, perpetual conflict, building of emotional walls, depression and hopelessness, chronic illness, and sleeplessness or appetite loss (p121). If any of these are consistently bad fruits in your life, may I encourage you to allow yourself to take a deeper look at the invisible roots. At the very least, soil cleansing (rooting out disappointments and offenses) in these areas will increase the quality of fruit produced in your life.
            Why do 80% of us only address the symptoms and not the cause? Besides human nature's propensity to take the path of least resistance (or being "unconscious" as Eker puts it), it is because 80% of the time we look in the wrong folder of our file cabinet for the solution. The three most common unhealthy folders we draw from are complaints, blame, and justification. First, we over inspect the bad fruit, becoming stuck focusing on negative smells, sights, and sounds that rob our imagination of creative resolution and gratefulness. Or, we play the blame game and point to everyone else's failed responsibilities that created our mess.  Or, when we run out of others to blame, we use our favorite excuses to justify our own errant actions. For those of us who want to be planted in the good soil of the Kingdom of God, the first step is surrendering to the kingship of Christ who promises to light our path to the correct folder (Psalm 119:105).
            Fortunately, although we are bound to the natural laws which govern life, we also have access to a supernatural realm with God providing an oasis of love and faithfulness unmatched in the universe. In this Easter season we are reminded of some verses in the book of Romans that give us great hope, "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you" (Rom. 8:9-11).
            The spirit part of our being can also influence the results of what we experience in the other three planes of our existence. When we allow God to take His rightful place as creator and ruler of our heart, the conditions are in place to get planted in the right kind of soil to grow into a healthy tree for bearing good fruit.
  
            Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: http://imprbooks.com/shop/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=0&idproduct=2074 . If you get anywhere near PA for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at  http://bluerockbnb.com 
           

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry