Eating of the Tree of Life – Proverbs 3:18

EATING OF THE TREE OF LIFE – (Proverbs 3:18)

As we continue to try and find “God’s destiny for our life”, we must admit this is definitely a worthy pursuit as it seems that especially young people do not always know which direction to go. For the unsaved, identifying the “right” occupation would be nearly impossible even when following dreams or particular talents that feel right. For the saved, even though it should seem easier to connect with the Lord’s will, many times it is still a struggle. Why is that? Because our emotions are very convincing and temptations can distort our spiritual perception. As we have talked about how crucial it is to listen to the Holy Spirit concerning raising children and choosing a mate, another decision on the list would involve our employment and our calling. Proverbs is considered a book of wisdom and is filled with advice on how to accomplish our destiny such as “Trust in the LORD with ALL thine heart; and lean NOT unto thine own understanding. In ALL thy ways acknowledge Him, and HE shall direct thy paths.” (3:5-6) Most people usually run to anything that seems right without praying or listening to where, what or who they are becoming involved with, but how many lives have been detoured by NOT allowing God to reveal and explain His blueprint of our intended path?

Young people need all the knowledge and understanding they can find (and all the prayer they can receive). I look back on my life and see that I should have had a clear vision of the calling to ministry when I was young but I became satisfied with mediocrity. Going to seminary would have been nice and could have qualified me for several different professions and opportunities to serve The Lord. This is just an example of not knowing God’s direction and drifting on the sea of hoping things turn out OK. All of God’s children can know their direction with prayer and counseling and this investment is crucial to discover the destiny that GOD has chosen. Are there ministers that did not go to seminary and are still anointed and called by God? Yes, I believe that God can spiritually anoint and empower His vessels and super-naturally use them for His glory. Likewise, (unfortunately) there are many that have graduated seminary that were NOT called to be pastors! Amen.

When our children were born, we left a denomination and set out to blaze a trail with the “independent” groups and a pioneering way of following Christ. These are the small churches that set up in shopping centers or gymnasiums and have services. This is not bad in itself but it can be devastating to young adventurers like me who had a vision for ministry but was not trained properly (my leaders were not either). In this, I mean there must be sound teaching on the “development” of gifts and talents from strong, dedicated and experienced pastors and elders that can demonstrate authority by example. I have mentioned that all ministers and church leaders do not need a Seminary degree but on the other hand what would it hurt? It shows the seriousness and discipline of the individual while learning valuable Biblical knowledge. Serving in an intern residency program would also teach accountability and provide “hands on” training that brings experience and maturity.

For example, if a person wants to be a doctor, they realize it will take an enormous amount of school and sacrifice, but would you trust a doctor that never went to medical school? Does seminary make a more qualified minister? It depends – the important thing is that maybe the structure and wisdom that is gained could somehow bring a more keen discernment into what being a “servant” truly means. Don’t we all want our children to have an advanced education? Why? Because we are convinced this will make them more successful. We believe that knowledge is leadership POWER and the understanding of truth evolves into divine wisdom and revelation. Both parents should take an active role and be concerned and interested in the children’s learning and career. Father’s especially should be very encouraging and passionate about listening to their children in what they feel called to do and how they are going to do it. One reason parents are not pro-active toward higher education is because they have no formal education themselves and were not RAISED with college being a top priority. Here we see the generational cycle once again with those who repeatedly emphasized that education was a “natural” part of life – verses those who were raised with this NOT being an important issue. The point is that we should invest the time with our kids and show we are very interested in THEIR future. Most importantly we should demonstrate following the Lord so they can SEE what living for Christ is all about.

Do I believe that things would have turned out much better for me and my family if I had followed the Holy Spirit more closely? Of course. I realize that my children are now adults and can have as much of God as anyone, but I am saying that raising up children with daily Bible studies and devoting personal “one on one” time to talk about life and how to walk with God will make a huge positive impact on their entire life. I’m talking about things like the importance of doing a good job, being wise in finances, being humble and sensitive, working hard, respecting authority, developing a life of prayer, following God’s Word, asking God to help them choose a mate, living with integrity, having a reverence for God and a hatred for sin by being a person that believes in sanctification and holiness.

You see, when I was a young minister I did not have it all together. Yes, I had general Bible knowledge and I knew how to play and sing Christian music but I was NOT a leader. I thought I was – that was the problem. I started ministering in areas that I knew nothing about which caused me to automatically lean on my own thinking and my own ways of doing things. I was a novice that needed the spiritual maturity that comes from having a revelation of knowledge. I knew “about” things but I did not understand them and I am still just scratching the surface! Let us see the definition of a novice in the Oxford dictionary; “a new convert, a beginner, amateur, an inexperienced person, someone who is learning, newcomer, apprentice, and trainee.” We realize that when young people start out in an area, they are many times operating by the seat of their pants however; it is the intervention of the mentor and solid training from other experienced leaders that can make the difference. Whenever there is an environment where the ones who are in authority are not qualified to lead the young ones, you have a “blind leading the blind” situation. Carnal leaders in the church world are a HUGE problem! There are so many pastors and ministers that have NO business working in public ministry because they are not trained, filled with sin, and operate in their emotions. There are some that may be qualified educationally but God has NOT told them to launch out yet. They may have a calling on their life but might have moved ahead of God’s timing and are making a mess and turning many away from the church.

It is God who ordains His servants and officers and all others need to patiently learn how to wait until they know their calling. We can always blame others and come up with tons of excuses for our failures, but in the end we can agree that our actions have consequences. The lack of knowledge or “ignorance” of an area brings hurt, offences and many damaging wounds while wisdom which is the revelation of knowledge can bring healing and restoration. Selah. Knowing the “reasons” why things turned out the way they did, can open our eyes to the world of discipline, prayer and wisdom and usually there are no shortcuts. Instruction and demonstration begins in the home with the parents investing their life first into God – then into their children and there is NO substitute for building these solid foundations of spiritual and practical truth. I admit it is difficult when young parents have not had the guidance and nurturing from their family because breaking the cycle is like climbing a cliff. I personally believe this tragedy of not training children in the Christian home has devastated the last several generations and sadly has given the world the opportunity to inject their worldviews and mold young minds. For the Christian parents who thought that taking their children to Sunday school was fulfilling their responsibility of child rearing – it might have helped but it was not enough! It is NOT the responsibility of the public school teacher or the Sunday school teacher to RAISE the child. If a child grows up in a decent home but is “ignorant” about HOW to live a life of integrity and spiritual sensitivity, I’m sorry but the parents have failed! Are there exceptions when parents have done all they know to do and their child still turns our wrong? We have never done ALL we can do but if there comes a season of rebellion, we know the Word of God never fails and the love, faith and prayers of a righteous parent are mighty tools in the hands of God who changes hearts and fulfills His promises.

It does not take a genius to look at the world and come to the conclusion that there is a huge difference between those who are wise and those who are foolish. Those who are trained in the principals of God and choose to “LIVE” upright and holy before the Lord will be rewarded with God’s blessings and favor. For example, if children were raised by parents that did not look to God for His intervention and they struggled financially and lived a difficult life, the repetitive hardships of living in mediocrity will probably be considered as normal. Thoughts are like seeds that planted within the mind and usually are developed as an attitude; in this case the familiarity of “survival” becomes dominant instead of a mindset of being successful and happy. Without the faith and encouragement found in God’s Word, we can see clearly how the “environment” can influence the mind with either a positive or a negative outlook. If these thoughts are allowed to take root within the conscience, there will grow a thinking process that these children will most likely carry over into their own family. Let’s say that if a boy from a depressed atmosphere and pessimist type of family begins dating a girl from a similar background – who is there to help teach them that God has an abundant life of peace, happiness and victory? I know someone who lives in a low income government housing project and I visit them on a regular basis. When I walk through the complex, there are always many children running around and at the front doors of the apartments there are many young women sitting on the steps. The person I visit tells me that many of these women live there because they have several children, are not married and do not work. They draw assistance from the social service programs and their rent is based on what they make from their checks. I sat in my car the other day and thought about these problems and how it is multiplied thousands of times and places all around the country. I am not talking about being judgmental or condemning about this circumstance, but most of these difficult situations could have been avoided if there had been planted seeds of God’s wisdom within the heart. Now brother, you can’t go around and say that the revelation of God’s Word can cause everyone to live in God’s perfect destiny! Why not? Are we afraid that maybe God’s Word does not mean what it says or maybe there are situations where it might not work in certain people’s situations? Faith is standing on the perfection and infallibility of God’s Word! Would it have made a difference in these women (and the men who they were involved with) if their parents (especially their father) had taught them, prayed with them, invested time with them and demonstrated God’s Word? Absolutely! If there is ever a circumstance where it seemed God’s Word did not work – it was not God’s failure! Amen! God’s Word becomes activated according to the faith and obedience of the hearer! When God’s Word is planted and saturated into the conscience, it will produce the conviction to follow His guidance. Jesus does not lead us into ERROR or bad decisions. His Holy Spirit desires to LEAD us into God’s truth and walking in obedience to His Word produces the “Covenant life” he died for us to have. 

“Heavenly Father, we come before you today in humility. We repent of our sins and ask you to reveal to us the attitudes of our heart that offend you. Forgive us of our lukewarmness and our apathy toward sin. Stir our hearts and re-kindle the flames of our love and the burden for lost souls. Revive us O God and breathe on us the power of your Holy Spirit. We reverence your Holy Name and bow down before you worshipping and adoring you for who you are. We ask you to increase our compassion so that we might be more concerned with the needs of others. Teach us Your Word Father, that we might in turn lead others into your truth and help them find their purpose and divine destiny. In Jesus Name, amen.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s