Step Towards Transformation
Illustration; During a rainy season, several years ago one of the big oak[baluth] trees in a residential area was blown down by the winds. It had been raining for several days and the ground was very flooded. It wasn’t a storm. The winds were strong but wasn’t anything unusual for that part of the country. A municipal workers came out to remove it. One man said to the foreman, “i can’t believe those small winds were able to blow over this big sturdy tree”. He explained that while the oak tree has an extensive root system that extends even beyond the covering, most of those roots are less than 12 inches deep. Because the ground was so flooded and when the wind started blowing, those surface roots didn’t have anything to anchor to. The roots and the ground came loose and the tree toppled over”. The man said, “we have some tall pine[chid] trees in our yard as well. Some close to the house. I hope it doesn’t happen to them.” The foreman said, “it won’t. That type of pine trees don’t rely on surface roots for stability. Its roots go down deep. It won’t be affected by a lot of rain, by high winds or by loose soil. It has deep roots”.
It’s the same principle in life. We all have things that come against us: a health issue, finances go down, a child gets off course. The winds and rain come to every person; what’s going to determine whether or not you stand strong and outlast that storm is how deep your roots are.
The reason some people are always worried, upset, offended, is that they have shallow roots; they’re moved by the problems, the weather, a grouchy boss, what somebody said, always being tossed to and fro.
You’re not moved by everything on the surface.
When your roots go down deep, you’re not moved by what doesn’t go your way; you live from a place of peace. The winds may blow, the storms may come, but you know that when it’s all said and done, you’ll still be standing, praising, smiling, and victorious.
The scripture tells us:
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NASB)..58 therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the lord
This is a choice that we have to make:
Are you steadfast, immovable, do your roots go down deep?
If not, life is going to be like a roller coaster; your joy and peace will depend on your circumstances, how people treat you, what goes your way. That’s surface living, shallow roots.
God is saying, “be steadfast, immovable.” You have to dig down deep. As long as you’re allowing circumstances to determine whether or not you’re happy, you’ll never have real victory. And sometimes, we’re using our faith to try to control our circumstances; i’ve learned that it’s better to use my faith to control myself in the midst of those circumstances. When you’re in peace, that’s a place of power.
Here’s the key; if you don’t have peace on the inside, you’re not going to have peace on the outside.
Some people wonder why they can’t have good relationships, be successful, get ahead; it’s because they have shallow roots. If you’ll stay in peace on the inside, not fight everything that doesn’t go your way, then you’ll see things on the outside begin to improve.
Every morning, before we leave the house, we should make the decision, “nothing that happens to me today is going to upset me. I have the grace to handle anything that comes my way.”
You have to decide ahead of time;
That’s having deep roots.
Illustration: Ruth and i were at a lake not long ago. The water was like glass. It was as calm and peaceful as can be. I took this little rock and threw it way out to the centre. It sent ripples across the whole lake. It looked like i’d created a big disturbance. I had affected all the water. The truth is, a foot down that water didn’t move. It still is calm and peaceful. There wasn’t one fish there who said, “i’m worried to see that ripple”. Not one turtle call the helpline to say that something’s wrong.
Nothing on the surface affects the water down deep. It stays calm.
One way you can tell how deep your roots are is, how easily do you get upset?
If the pebbles that are getting thrown into your lake are causing you to lose your joy, be frustrated, you need to go down deeper.
When you have deep roots, you’re grateful to be alive, have a job, be healthy; you’re not focused on what’s wrong, you’re too busy thanking God for what’s right.
“i didn’t get the promotion, the medical report wasn’t good, a friend betrayed me, that’s why i’m discouraged”; i’m not making light of those things, but in the big picture, those are pebbles. When you know that God has beauty for those ashes, that he’ll pay you back for the unfair things, then even though the surface is disturbed, deep down, where you choose to live, you’ll feel at peace, rest; you’ll know this too shall pass.
Paul tells us in Colossians:
Colossians 2:7 (VOICE)…7 let your roots grow down deeply in him
What are your roots going deep down in?
But when you let your roots grow down deep in him, you say, “God, i know that you’re my provider, healer, vindicator. I recognize, you are the source of everything good.” Then, when difficulties come, somebody does you wrong, you have an unexpected challenge, you won’t fall apart, live in self-pity; you’ll be strong, stable, immovable. Why? Because your roots go down deep in him.
Illustration : This is what a lady did in the scripture:
2 kings 4:18-20 (NLT)..18 one day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters. 19 suddenly he cried out, “my head hurts! My head hurts!” His father said to one of the servants, “carry him home to his mother.” 20 so the servant took him home, and his mother held him on her lap. But around noontime he died.
This wasn’t a pebble; this was a boulder; everything on the surface was disturbed, it looked like it was all out of control. But this lady had deep roots; she knew that that unexpected challenge was not a surprise to God. She didn’t fall apart, get bitter; she was steadfast, immovable:
2 kings 4:24-26 (ESV).24 then she saddled the donkey… when the man of God [Elisha] saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “look, there is the shunammite. 26 run at once to meet her and say to her, ‘is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?’” and she answered, “all is well.”
How could she make that statement when she was in the middle of a crisis? She wasn’t living on the surface, responding to how she felt; she went by what she knew, and she knew that God was still on the throne, and that he could make a way even though she didn’t see a way.
2 kings 4:32-35 (ESV)..32 when Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed… 35 then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house, and went up and stretched himself upon him. The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
A great miracle. But like with this lady, sometimes it’s not a pebble thrown into your water, so to speak, it’s a boulder. We all face unexpected challenges, things that we didn’t see coming: a loss, lay-off, divorce, sickness. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, go around in self-pity, wondering why it happened, but if you’ll go down deeper, not talk about the problem, complain about how bad life’s treating you, but instead, like this lady, have a report of victory, “all is well, God is still on the throne, this too shall pass,” because you have deep roots, then even when life throws you a boulder, even when you should panic, you will feel a peace that passes understanding, and will have the strength to endure what should have taken you out.
The enemy did his best, he thought for sure that you’d be toppled over, depressed, given up, but he miscalculated; he can only see the outside. What he couldn’t see was what was underneath the surface; he didn’t realize that you have deep roots, you are steadfast, immovable. Yes, he changed your circumstances, but you weren’t rooted in your circumstances, you were rooted in the most high God. He never changes; he has all power.
Illustration; A man was diagnosed with what looked like a terminal disease. It was a virus that he picked up overseas. He has several children, beautiful wife, successful career and he had always been healthy and active. Life was good. Then this unexpected challenge. He could have been depressed and started complaining but like this lady, he had deep roots. He didn’t tell anyone about the diagnosis. He just kept doing what he had always done.
When you faced unexpected challenges, something big, don’t let that become the focus of your life. Don’t let it consume you to where all you think about is my sickness, my mistake, my breakup, my loss. Keep living life. Keep to your same routine the best that you can.
Some people let the problem become their identity. They become known as the crisis, so to speak.
That’s what happened to you, that’s not who you are. Don’t let a temporary event become a permanent label.
In the in the scripture, Thomas doubted that Jesus rose from the dead:
John 20:24-25 (ESV)
24 now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 so the other disciples told him, “we have seen the lord.” But he said to them, “unless i see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, i will never believe.”
Eight days later, Jesus appeared to Thomas, and changed his mind:
John 20:26-28 (ESV)
26 eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “peace be with you.” 27 then he said to Thomas, “put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “my lord and my God!”
Thomas’ doubting was a very short period of time, a little over a week, but he became known as doubting Thomas.
Sometimes, people will try to label you; if you don’t stay on the offensive, and keep moving forward, you can become what happened to you, instead of becoming who you were created to be.
When you have deep roots, not moved by circumstances, you’re saying by your actions, “God, i trust you. I know you’re bigger than this sickness, greater than this opposition, stronger than this difficulty.” That’s when God will make things happen that you could never make happen.
This young man, he just kept going to work, loving his family, not letting that sickness dictate his life. He was taking an experimental drug. The doctors had told him, how he’d probably lose his hair, not have the energy he need, how he’d have to cut back on his schedule.
But he kept going to work. Nobody knew anything was wrong. There were times he’d get tired and have to go lay down but he didn’t complain about it. He just kept doing to the best of his ability what he would have been doing if he didn’t have that sickness.
When he was first diagnosed the cell count of the infected cells was 2.7 crores. Just two months later that cell count had come down to less than 2,000. The doctors were baffled. They said, “we don’t understand it but we consider you are cured of this disease. This disease is undetectable in your body.”
That was years ago. Today he’s still healthy and home.
What am i saying?
When you have deep roots, when you’re not moved by circumstances -you’re saying by your actions, “God i trust you. I know you’re bigger than the sickness, greater than this opposition, stronger than this difficulty”. That’s when God will make things happen that you could never make happen.
Illustration: The apostle Paul, in the scripture, he had a lot of challenges, unfair situations: he was falsely accused, beaten with rods, lied about, put in prison, shipwrecked, went without food and water, it was one challenge after another. But Paul gives us the secret of living a victorious life:
Acts 20:24 (NKJV)…24 but none of these things move me
He was saying,
Paul wrote over half of the new testament, much of it from a prison cell. How could he do this? He had deep roots. He said, “none of these things move me.”
We all have “these things”: grouchy boss, negative medical report, business that slowed down. There’s always something trying to move us, pull us out of peace, rest.
Are you allowing “these things” to move you? You can’t pray them away.
“these things” are tests that we must pass. Jesus said:
John 14:27 (AMPC)….27 … stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed
John 14:27 (CJB)..27 … don’t let yourselves be upset
He didn’t say, “if you’ll stay in faith, pray hard enough, i’ll take away all the traffic, opposition, criticism, disappointments.” He said, “they’ll come, but you don’t have to get upset, or be moved by them.”
Illustration :Jesus told Peter:
Luke 5:4 (NKJV)..4 … “launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
Jesus was saying, in effect, “Peter, get out of the shallow waters, quit living on the surface. As long as you’re letting your circumstances determine your joy, that’s going to limit you.”
Luke 5:6 (NKJV)..6 and when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.
When you do it God’s way, you’re not moved by people, circumstances, disappointments. Because you’re in the deep, you’re going to have an abundance of joy, of peace, of what you need.
I wonder how much more we would enjoy life if we’d quit living on the surface and go down deeper. We let too many things upset us.
The scripture tells us:
Proverbs 25:28 (NKJV)…28 whoever has no rule over his own spirit, is like a city broken down, without walls.
It doesn’t say to rule somebody else’s spirit; you can’t control what other people think, say, about you. If you’re trying to rule them, that’s manipulation; you’re going to be frustrated. I’ve learned; it’s a full-time job to try to rule my own spirit. I don’t have the time, energy, wisdom, responsibility to try to rule somebody else’s. We spend too much time worried about what they’re saying, trying to change their mind. Quit letting that move you.
Part of ruling your spirit is to not let that poison in you.
Ships don’t sink because there’s water all around them; they sink when the water gets in them.
There may be negative circumstances all around you, somebody’s spreading rumors, you’re dealing with an illness, finances have gone down, you’ve got good reasons to be upset, offended, worried.
Here’s the key; don’t let it get in you. Rule your spirit.
You can’t rule your boss, neighbour, the internet, stock market, but you can rule your own spirit. It’s powerful when we can say, with Paul, “none of these things move me.
That’s ruling your own spirit. That’s a sign that you have deep roots.
But Bro Melwyn, “this sounds good, but i’ve made a lot of mistakes, i got off course, it was my own fault”; if you just stay on the surface, you’ll live guilty, condemned, down on yourself. The accuser will constantly whisper, “you blew it, you’re done, God’s never going to bless you.” But when you have deep roots, you know that God’s mercy is bigger than those mistakes, his calling on your life is irrevocable:
Romans 11:29 (MSG)..29 God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.
That means, God doesn’t change his mind because we make mistakes, or give up on us because we’re not where we’re supposed to be.
When God hand-picked you, before you were formed in your mother’s womb, when he breathed life into you, he put you under a full lifetime warranty, saying, “they’re mine, no matter where they go, what they do, i have a destiny for them to fulfill.”
What am i saying?
Your mistakes did not cancel God’s plan for your life. Quit believing those lies, “you’re washed up, settle for second-best”; get back in the game. God is not finished with you. He knew every mistake that you would make, and he has already lined up a new plan.
You may have fallen down, but the right attitude is, “i’m not staying down; i know that i am under full warranty, and God will still get me to where i’m supposed to be.”
Illustration: It’s interesting; when the winds blow a tree back-and-forth, put pressure and strain on the root system, you would think that was damaging the tree and making it weaker, but researchers have found that it’s actually strengthening the root system. It seems like the pulling and the stretching would be tearing the roots apart, but the movement is making it easier for the roots to grow.
Illustartion: Parnell Bailey visited an orange grove where an irrigation pump had broken down. The season was unusually dry and some of the trees were beginning to die for lack of water. The man giving the tour then took Bailey to his own orchard where irrigation was used sparingly. “These trees could go without rain for another 2 weeks,” he said. “You see, when they were young, I frequently kept water from them. This hardship caused them to send their roots deeper into the soil in search of moisture. Now mine are the deepest-rooted trees in the area. While others are being scorched by the sun, these are finding moisture at a greater depth.”
It’s the same way with us. That difficulty should’ve toppled you, damaged your roots so to speak, brought you out weaker, but just the opposite happened; you came through that challenge stronger, with greater confidence, your character was developed.
The storm was sent to stop you, but God turned it around, and used it to strengthen you. That mistake, divorce, sickness, should have left you defeated, lonely, discouraged, but when you come out, you’ll not only still be standing, you’ll be better than you were before. Your roots are getting strengthened.
I’m asking you today to quit living on the surface, being bothered by everything that doesn’t go your way. Go down deeper; quit being moved by “these things.” Life is way too short to let circumstances determine your joy; start ruling over your spirit. The next time you’re tempted to get upset, worried, offended, discouraged, try a new approach; be steadfast, immovable.