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.

Steps To Release

Nearly 40 years ago I journeyed through a process of being set free from a variety of personal problems. Insecurity, fear, pride, immorality, attitudes and other things were brought to my attention and graciously dealt with.

The eventual end result of that process is the Steps to Release which I formulated as my ministry tool for helping others and myself step into personal freedom. What I want to do is share those steps with you, as part of the Christian Counselling material that you can apply to yourself or in helping others.

The Steps to Release are taught in my first book, Family Horizons, available from http://familyhorizons.net/html/shop.html

Several things prompted me to define these steps into a workable process which I can apply widely and share with others. While at Bible College in 1978 I shared my testimony of release and inner restoration with some of the students. Two girls, Janet and Jean, asked me to explain how God had set me free. I was unable to do so. They taunted me with the challenge that I had no right to share about my freedom if I couldn’t also show others how to enter into freedom too.

When I reflected on their challenge I remembered a discussion I had with my older brother. We had both encountered the infilling of the Holy Spirit at about the same time. A year or so later I said to my brother, “You know how God gets inside your life and starts dealing with you once you’ve received the Holy Spirit?” He looked at me and told me he had no idea what I was talking about. I tried to explain myself but he could not relate to my descriptions of having God convict me and reveal things to me. Up to that point I had assumed that everyone who received the Holy Spirit had the identical resultant experience.

So, when those fellow students challenged me to define God’s dealings in my life I went to prayer. I asked God to remind me what it was that He had done in me and how He had done it. I had no clear idea at first. I just took it all for granted and expected that everyone else was on the same journey of transformation which I enjoyed. Now that I knew each of us were on uniquely personal journeys and that my journey had produced some fruit others wanted to sample, I looked to the Lord to remind me how He had done His work in my life. There had been about seven years of various impacts, so I had to revisit that journey.

Piece of piece God began to awaken my memory. I began to remember specific preachers and sermons which were part of God’s work. I recalled various Bible verses which touched me at a deep level. I also remembered my responses to what God seemed to be saying deep within me.

My journey had been a deeply personal one. It touched my fears, pride, selfishness, vulnerabilities, inner pains, insecurities, shame, hurts and more. But as I recalled God’s gracious dealings a clear pattern began to emerge. God had taken me on a journey. It was a profound and personal venture that led me through my own personal quagmires and ruins into the glorious light of a new day in His presence.

There are many anecdotes I could share about the various stages of that journey, and in time I may well use them as illustrations here and there. What I think I should do is give you a summary of the overall journey then take the time to give you a more detailed description of the various steps in future posts. So for now, here is a summary of the landmarks that have become my Steps to Release.

1. The first thing I had to do was admit my need. This did not come easy, but I now see it as an essential element of the journey.

2. The second thing I had to do was identify the real problem, not just the symptoms. In the process I found it extremely valuable to uncover the root cause of the problem, such as an initiating event, if at all possible.

3. Once the problem had been identified I was led to take three important steps to deal with it. So the third thing I had to do was to repent of any part I had in bringing the specific problem into my life.

4. The fourth thing I had to do, and so the fourth step in my Steps to Release, was to forgive all those who were part of the problem. This includes those who caused the problem and those who added to it after the fact.

5. Then the fifth thing I was led to do was to renounce the evil of the situation. This is effectively the legal process of breaking the connection between the problem and me.

6. Having attended to those three steps of responsibility, repentance, forgiveness and renouncing, I could then enter into the spiritual warfare process of resisting the evil. This is the sixth step. I would break the power of the evil associated with the problem.

7. The final, seventh step is to fall at the feet of God. Another way to describe it is to cast my cares on Him, because He cares for me. This is the process of giving to God the ruin of my life and all that remains as a consequence of the problem which existed in my life. God is invited to take charge and to heal, restore and re-invigorate my life for His purposes.

8. If, after going through those steps the issue was not completely resolved I would see two things to do. One is to repeat the process, looking for even greater insight into what the problem is and where it came from. I would also be more diligent in working through the related steps. The other thing to do is to join forces with another Christian of strong faith who would add their faith to mine in working through the issue.

Well, that’s an introduction. I’ll elaborate at some time in the future. Meanwhile there is enough in this summary to empower you to tackle some of your problems. So go to it.