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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Core of Being

Sister Ann Shields spoke about a time when she was living in Steubenville, OH. One of the streets of the city was lined on both sides by rows of beautiful trees. When a tornado came through, both rows of trees were uprooted. Upon analysis, these particular trees were very shallow rooted. Their support system below ground was not strong enough to stand up against the force of the wind. She likened this picture to the difficulties we sometimes face in our spiritual lives. She concludes that if our faith is not deep rooted, we may face the same situation when difficulties hit us. We will be unable to stand firm in our faith.

Dallas Willard, in his book "Renovation of the Heart" says much the same thing. He states: “Our life and how we find the world now and in the future is, almost totally, a simple result of what we have become in the depths of our being – in our spirit, will and heart.” He observes that what is really important in our lives is the reservoir deep inside the core of our being. When we face crises in our lives, it is the well spring deep in our souls that carries us through and sustains us. It has a huge impact on our faith in God.

Both authors, from slightly different perspectives, come to the same conclusion that Jesus does in his comparison of the wise man who built his house on the rock with the foolish man who built his house on the sand. What is, (or is not), in the depths of our soul will determine how we respond when the storms of life buffet us. Without deep spiritual roots, we can easily feel hopelessness and despair in the times of crisis. Like the trees facing the gales, or the house built on the sand, our faith can be easily toppled and destroyed.

Unfortunately, today’s culture does not focus on depth. We are surrounded by shallow sound bites. We go from one to the next. This has infected the church as well as society. Many have described church members as being a mile wide and an inch deep. Others describe us as desiring Christianity lite. Our spiritual roots are very shallow. We often don’t want to take the time and effort to grow deeper. We spend minimal time in studying God’s word and in prayer. We end up with an inferior, inadequate understanding of God. As Willard says, this affects our worldview. It becomes easy to lose confidence and trust in God.

The solution, according to Willard, is to be spiritually transformed so that all of our thoughts, feelings, choices, interactions, and relationships are all in tune with God. This requires us to seriously examine our lives and our priorities. It requires both dedication and discipline. We must spend quality time in God’s word and in prayer. We need to seek to live holy, God pleasing lives. God and his word must be central in the core of our being. The voice of the Holy Spirit must be active in our hearts. Only then will we find ourselves able to withstand the onslaughts that will surely come from time to time. Only then will we have a reservoir when the dry times come upon our souls.

The transformation begins with conviction and desire. We must first become convicted that it is important for God to dwell in the depths of our soul. Then we must desire for this to occur in our lives. The process begins with a self examination. What is in the core of my being?

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