Back to the Source

Here I go again with another analogy on the subject of our ‘source’. You can see that it is an itch in my thinking that I keep scratching. I think that’s because God wants me to articulate this theme for your benefit (as well as my own). So let me take you into yet another imaginary scenario, where we can better see how choosing our source impacts our whole life.

Two men are church friends and they often share together. They both have high hopes for their future and they both profess faith in Jesus Christ. In time both men face a challenge where they must wait on God for provision. This is quite trying for both men and their families.

Both men are introduced to a business opportunity which could make them the funds they need. However the deal has a shady quality about it. It may be that money is made at the expense of unsuspecting people. One of the men steps away from the deal. The other goes into the deal.

Some time later, when the man who entered the deal is doing financially well, he calls on the other, who is still struggling. He reveals how well he is doing and exhorts his needy friend to join in the deal too. The friend questions the integrity of the deal and confirms that it does involve exploitation of others. He challenges his wealthy friend about the moral compromise he has entered into, encouraging him to trust in the Lord.

The wealthy man says that he has tried trusting the Lord and it did nothing for him, pointing out that his poor friend still trusts the Lord and it has done nothing for him. He pats his wallet and says, “This is what works. I am secure now and I don’t need the Lord. Money is what is going to get me out of trouble.”

The men part and don’t catch up for many years. In that time the poor man has found his feet financially and established the things he needs for his family. The man who loves money has gone on to greater heights of financial success, although his faith is now just a religious façade.

Then their nation entered a time of immense upheaval. Law and order crumbled. Factions fought violently to take control of the country. Banks collapsed, industry stood still and commerce crumbled. The assets of the rich were taken from them and many people died in the civil strife and mob rule which erupted in the land.

The men met again by chance. The lover of money was being herded into the back of a truck, to be taken away by mercenaries, possibly to his death. He called to his friend and said, “Do something!” The friend replied, “What can I do? Why don’t you use some of your money?”

The richer man replied with despair, “It’s worthless! I’ve lost everything!” Then he called to his friend as the truck pulled away, “Pray for me!” “You can pray too!” His friend called back. The rich man shook his head, “No I don’t think I can.”

The Bible warns us not to place our trust in ‘uncertain riches’.
“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” 1Timothy 6:17

This does not mean that some riches are sure and others are unreliable. It means that monetary riches and physical assets are in and of themselves ‘uncertain”. They are subject to theft, decay, destruction and devaluation. Some riches mean great things in the right circles, but nothing at all in another context. Whole currencies have been scrapped, making the money worthless. Can you imagine how a priceless Ming Dynasty vase would be used in a refugee camp?

The wonderful thing about having God as our source, rather than wealth, is that He is not subject to devaluation or inflation – He changes not. He has always been priceless. He is equally and supremely relevant in every economy and in every place across the planet. He cannot be stolen from you, nor will He decay. You cannot be swindled out of God. There is no currency collapse which makes your connection to God of no consequence. You don’t need an ATM, traveller’s cheques or a stable economy in which to access your Creator.

When you make God your source you are vastly better off than everyone who looks to anything else. Make God your source! Don’t be beguiled by uncertain things, even job security, the promises of men, material assets, or the privilege of your birth or national heritage. God is your only truly reliable asset in all of eternity. Be vitally connected to Him, first of all and above all else.

Cursing the Roots

Do you spend time pruning things in your life, only to have them grow back again? Are you struggling to deal with issues in yourself and our culture, without going to the roots? It’s time to rethink your strategy.

I have a laurel bush growing on my fence line. The neighbour is often frustrated by its virulent growth and I have to deal with it several times each year. One day, when I am ready to change the fence, I will get it dug out from the roots. But for now, as long as the root system remains, I have an on-going maintenance challenge.

And that’s how it is for many of our personal problems. We prune away the excesses and the worst elements of the problem, but we often leave the roots. Thus we must deal with the issues all over again.

Jesus once talked to a fig tree and cursed its roots. A short time later His disciples noticed that the tree was dead, having dried up from the roots. Jesus dealt a death-blow to the hapless tree, not by cutting back its branches, but by going straight to the source of the tree’s life.

We use the expression, the “root of the problem”, reflecting the same concept. When you have a problem you need to find the real root issue. The symptoms might mislead you. The real cause, the root may take quite some digging out. But unless you deal with the root system the problem will continue to shoot up again and again.

In my Steps to Release I advocate finding the real problem at hand. In order to best remove the problem it is ideal to find out what you are really dealing with, so the root of the issue can be dealt with and the problem resolved.

Your personal problems have roots. Pride is a root problem that leads to various results. We know that pride leads to destruction and a haughty spirit leads to a fall. Fear is a root problem that causes torment in people’s lives and leads them into slavery.

At the same time you need to keep in mind that social issues also have roots. Feminism, for instance, is anchored in fear. Materialism has roots in insecurity and lust. I recall one observer suggesting that the root issue behind the ‘get fit’ mania that has taken the western world is actually ‘fear of death’. People are desperate to maintain health, out of their fear of ageing and death.

For those of you engaged in confronting evil in the broader context, make sure you seek God for wisdom about the root systems that nourish that thing. Don’t waste your time pruning branches, when you have the authority and power to curse the roots.

Building Generations

The individualised concept of life is prevalent in the west today. It robs us of a real appreciation of what we are doing as parents. We are not just caring for children until they can care for themselves. We are not just giving them a valid set of values to take into life. We are not just setting them up for as successful a life journey as they can achieve. We are BUILDING GENERATIONS.

Here’s a way to think about it that might help you get the message.

Imaging a young lady, somebody’s daughter, who has tow potential suitors. One suitor is a fine young man. He is slim, athletic, handsome, articulate, smart, achievement oriented, with good grades, strong personality, good communication skills, a winning smile, animated and caring tones in his speech, and so on. This young man is not only an ideal choice, he is voted so by many of the young ladies and their mothers. He is surely going to be a popular choice and make the young lady the envy of all who know her.

The other suitor is more of a plodder. He is a steady chap from a stable family. He is more retiring and less adventurous, but he is polite, reliable, and genial. While not striking in appearance he could be considered good looking. He is not athletic in build, and may tend toward being overweight, as his father is. What makes this man attractive as a suitor is his expressed affection for the young lady. He seems quite struck on her and he would certainly make a reliable and loving husband.

Telescoping through time we now look two generations ahead and see the generational outcomes of these choices.

The grandchildren of the enviable suitor are a mess. His unfaithfulness and the breakdown of his married caused his children to enter into a range of relationships looking for something to ease their pain. Because he violated the values he taught to his children they lost faith in values and religion and became increasingly cynical of life itself. The children that they bore, in turn, were raised in broken homes, in unsteady relationships with very little anchor in normality.

The grandchildren of the other suitor are lost in materialism. His steady life was lived in self-reliance, in pursuit of human happiness. His children also learned to live to themselves and each chose their best course to achieve that. The grandchildren, then, were born into homes devoid of spiritual reality. They each set out to find fulfillment in the collection of material goods, pursuit of human happiness and quest per personal achievement.

There was no happy choice between these two. For the daughter’s future is not invested in Mr Right. It is not found by a well-suited marriage. It is not achieved by the luck of the draw or the happy choice of someone who will do them proud.

Human happiness and success comes from the Lord. Promotion and good outcomes do not come from the north, south, east or west. They do not come from clever choices, good luck or the reliability of others. They come from the Lord.

To make matters worse, those who look to humans to bring them anything at all are putting their trust in “man”. The prophet Jeremiah warns us that we are cursed if we put out trust in man and look to human resources to provide for us – see Jeremiah 17:5-8).

Generations are built as a result of the matches made. We do not find a bride or a “hubby”. We do not just have some “kids” as part of our own personal journey. We are building generations. The children and the children’s children will be seriously impacted by the choice of spouse.

For further comment on this topic see the posting “Why did you choose HER to be my mother?” at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/family/“why-did-you-choose-her-to-be-my-mother

In summary – recognize that you are BUILDING GENERATIONS, not pursuing your own ends or your own happiness.

But then realize that YOU NEED GOD TO BE IN CHARGE OF THE PROCESS – since you are surely not able to control it yourself. You do not know the end from the beginning – but God does.