Yesterday I mentioned that the Park Service at Yosemite National Park was reconstructing a meadow where new pines were growing that would take quite a few years to grow to maturity.
Another lesson we can draw from this illustration is that just as it takes time to grow a tree, it takes time to retrain your brain to biblically process daily life. You’ve been used to thinking the way you think for many years. What makes you think you can reverse this method of processing life overnight? The Bible calls overnight success a miracle. God can replace your drug of choice with Christ-like character in any area of your life right now.
What if, on the other hand, He chooses to use the other life change process He laid out in Scripture – the Set Free Nowww principles? If He chooses to have you walk with Him through the later, the “N” principle is very important to grasp. Never give up on yourself, Jesus won’t. The biblical process of changing your thinking, thus changing your behavior, takes time.
I heard a very successful author once say that it takes 10 years to make an overnight success. The Park Rangers know it takes time to grow a tree. And your Heavenly Father knows it takes time to change your life. This is why He not only loves despite your drugs of choice, but He also gives you His grace and mercy to grow through His change process as He removes them. So keep practicing the SFN principles each day. Christ-like character is on it’s way!
Set Free “N”owww
My wife, Jan, and I were working our way to the Soda Springs in Yosemite National Park when we came across a meadow that was under reconstruction. The Park Service wasn’t allowing anyone to walk in this particular area in order to allow the plants to mature without interference. In this same meadow were young pine trees, which you see in the picture. What’s interesting about this process is that it will take quite a few years for them to match the size of the trees in the background.
A lesson we can learn from this is that if you want a pine tree you’ve got to plant the seed and you’ve got to plant it sometime. Full grown pine trees just don’t appear out of nowhere!
It’s the same if you want to become more like Jesus and experience all that He has for you. You’ve got to plant the seeds sometime. If you want to be able to filter out the garbage thoughts already in your head or screen out the incoming lie-based messages that rob you of your peace and joy, you must plant the seeds of God’s Word – truths at the point of the lies – into your brain today.
If the Park Rangers hadn’t decided to protect this meadow today, there would be no future shade and beauty for humans to enjoy or homes and food for animals later. They had to start sometime.
Yes, it will take to experience total victory over your drug of choice. This victory starts, however, with admitting your way of living doesn’t work (barren meadows) and seek the shade of Jesus (the full grown pine trees) by planting seeds of truth into your brain. Make the decision to plant those seeds today. Open your Bible. As you read it (you’ll find a yearly reading schedule under the Resources tab) ask Jesus to show you what seeds you need to plant (i.e. memorize and mediate) into your brain. Get starting today in planting the seeds for future growth.
S“E”t Free Nowww
Can you picture yourself free of your drug of choice (i.e. repeated sinful behavior) and in the presence of Jesus experiencing the “good stuff?”
When it came to entering the Promised Land only Joshua and Caleb could imagine the grapes they would eat, the homes they would live in, and the figs they would pick and devour while resting in the care of their great and awesome God. Keep in mind this is not mere positive thinking on their part. God said He would give them this land (Num. 14:5-9). They simply allowed their minds to explore and believe what God was saying. In other words, they took God at His word and believed it! I call this positive believing. God said it and that was good enough for them.
As children of God, we are asked to be positive believers in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Are you focusing on the challenges of life or what could be if you let God help you deal with those challenges? Do you trust in your way of thinking or in truths at the point of the lies given by One who can “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”? If you want to experience victory, will you allow yourself to believe what God is saying He can do?
What truths about what your God can do are you focusing on in the midst of the challenges you’re facing? Can you see yourself tasting the fruit of being closer to and more like Jesus? It’s time to taste the sweetness of victory in your life. Begin to imagine all that Jesus can do in and through you.
S“E”t Free Nowww
The Israelites constantly looked backward when they came out of Egypt. They focused on their drug of choice, in this case slavery in Egypt, even though God gave them freedom. Every time they faced a challenge, they wanted their drug of choice. Think about that for a second. They chose slavery over freedom! Why? They focused on the challenge rather than the promises of God. They didn’t focus on the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. They only saw garlic and leeks!
It’s the same for us. Jesus has set us free. It’s our choice to go back to slavery (Gal. 5:1). If we’re going to defeat our drugs of choice, slavery, we’re going to have to focus on God’s promises. Jesus has promised to provide living, not rancid water; abundant life, not death; and victory, not defeat. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Is my way of thinking and living working?” If not, it’s time to change. It’s time to focus on, trust in and step out on the “truths at the point of lies” that you’ve already put into your brain. (You’ve already done this, right?) Victory comes by focusing on where you’re going, being like Jesus, rather than on where you’re at, eating garlic and leeks.
Set “Free” Nowww
Yesterday, we learned that Israel stayed in their drugs of choice because their view of God was too small. Today, their view of themselves was also too small. In Numbers 13:33 they thought they were bugs! Before, God was going to get squished. Now they were going to get squashed. Neither their God nor they were strong enough to defeat the giants and yet they were “the people of God”, who could defeat them?
We’re called children of God, who can defeat us? We’re children of the King of the universe who has enough power to defeat our enemies. It’s time to believe the truth of Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” What part of that verse don’t we understand? Because I’m God’s child I can have victory each and every day of my life, no matter what giant situations I face – from snippy bosses to overbearing mates.
What gets in the way of our victory? The same mental block that hit the Israelites. We have a hard time filtering out the slave mentality to focus on the truth of who we are, children of God. We’re on God’s team now and can accomplish His purposes for our lives, which means He gives us all the power we need for victory.
God is telling us to let go of the slave mentality (“I can’t do anything.” “I can’t win.” “I’m worthless.” “I don’t have anything to offer God” and whatever other garbage thinking you want to add) and believe the truth about ourselves, “We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ;” and, “If our God is for us, who can be against us?”
Get rid of the loser mentality and grasp the truth, you are victorious in Christ. Go forward and live out the victory over your drugs of choice that is yours. Your life can be changed. You’re much bigger and more valuable than you think.
“S”et Free Nowww