I came across a verse over the past year that has continued to reverberate in my heart. I knew it held significance for me – more than what was immediately obvious. Proverbs 12:3 says “You can’t expect success by doing what is wrong. But the lives of his lovers are deeply rooted and firmly planted.” There was more than one aspect of this verse I needed to consider, as I sought to grasp its meaning for me personally, and seek to understand how to practically apply it to my life. One of the most powerful principles I have learned in recent years, that I can honestly say has “worked”, is taken from Mark 4:24 -“Then He said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By your own standard of measurement [that is, to the extent that you study spiritual truth and apply godly wisdom] it will be measured to you [and you will be given even greater ability to respond]—and more will be given to you besides.” Another translation renders this verse as – to the degree I ponder, meditate and study scripture will be the same degree of understanding or harvest that will return to me. For someone who lived life in the fast, busy and highly stressed business world, having more to do than there was day to do it in, I was always looking for an instant solution. Consequently, most of my scripture reading became acknowledgement or a mental assent – I was satisfied with “I get it.” My mind may have processed and understood it but the latter part of Proverbs 12:3 – “But the lives of his lovers are deeply rooted and firmly planted” had not really taken root! Roots which produce good outcomes, or fruit, grow from seed planted in our heart, not our head.
I had reached a point where as I looked back on my repetitive cycles of failure in relationships, I could face and accept responsibility for a significant problem I had. One that seemed to continuously trip me up. 1 John 2:16 AMPC describes it far better than I can – “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].” I realized that I – and perhaps many of us – have a propensity to do the things we as believers say we believe and ought to do: until we face something that challenges what scripture calls the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
Let me put this in more personal and practical terms. I desired to follow scripture – until my flesh or carnal desires came into play. When my overwhelming need to be in a relationship with someone took over – in order to feel loved, valued, accepted and wanted, I began to justify things that deep within me seemed a bit off, things that just didn’t fully add up. Consequently, I began to ignore God’s nudges and warnings. My flesh wanted what it wanted. This is called “hearing amiss” – and it is the result of our willful choices. My ungodly and unwise choices would never lead me to successful outcomes.
If I believe God created me, and I do, it follows I believe He has created me for good. Genesis 1:31 says “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.” It also follows that as my Creator, His ways are for my ultimate good and success in life. Again it follows that the needs of my heart, as His created being, were always intended to be met by the one Who created me – my Creator. Our greatest need as humans is to be loved. And equally important, I needed to come to the understanding, my intrinsic value is only fully realized through relationship with Him – based on a foundational belief that He always has my best interests at heart! In other words – I needed to settle and fully embrace the truth of His Goodness – to find rest and indescribable peace!
There is a very powerful truth that comes to play here. The more we harmonize our beliefs, our choices and subsequent behaviors with Who God is and His ways and righteousness, the more we experience the fruit of success. If we choose the ways of the world (mankind operating outside of God) over the righteous ways of God, we remain stuck in failure, pain and issue after issue. Not because He is punishing us, but because we are experiencing the consequences of our actions. This powerful truth alone, when applied, can change many of our outcomes and situations.
This led me to some questions which I will explore in subsequent blog posts: Do I really believe God is good – do I have an accurate understanding and perception of Who God is? Is He Who He says He is? and Do I really believe I am who He says I am?
It was at this juncture I found myself face to face with the root of a pretty significant issue. My heart, the seat of my identity, was filled with beliefs about who I was – based on what the people in my life from the time of my birth well into my childhood, such as family members, teachers, and school mates, said I was. My life experiences that evolved over my young adulthood seemed to substantiate and reinforce what I believed – the messaging that had been written into my heart. My inner world and the beliefs of my heart were directing my outer world and life outcomes. And not in a good way! For decades I sought books, conferences, and counsellors trying to “fix” myself! But until I was ready to lay down my opinions of Who God is and seriously focus on seeking to know Him as He really is, I could not believe I am who He said I am. And without my identity firmly established in His truth, I would remain stuck in the frustrating cycle of failure.
These were the beginnings of my journey to a transformed heart. In the next few posts I will share subsequent foundational steps which ultimately led to my wholehearted trust in the faithful goodness of God – enabling me to fully trust Him as my Source for every one of my needs. I began to experience sustained life-joy, contentment and satisfaction – something I never dreamed possible!
Watch for my next post coming soon – “The Journey to Trust in God.”
I am so humbled that you have joined me – I pray as I continue to share my journey with you, you will find hope and inspiration for your own heart journey – for indeed – the heart matters!