My dad and brother are masters of their trade. They are gifted contractors and experts at historical restoration. I had the privilege of growing up around my father’s work and have seen his God-given skills and knowledge passed on to my brother. The story is told that when my younger brother built his first set of steps–a curved wooden staircase in an historic home–he didn’t make one wrong cut. All of those boards, and not one wrong cut.
Can you even imagine?
Construction is taking place near my home. To many I suspect it looks unsightly. To me, however, what will eventually be unseen is fascinating. I suppose my appreciation stems from growing up around work boots, tools, trucks, and the dust and dirt of renovation. Whatever the reason, the process of reaching a finished product fascinates me. I could even say it’s familiar.
Just like what occurs underground in a construction project is what later determines the enjoyment of the finished project, the quality of any living thing begins underground where people can’t see.
- The root system of a tree determines whether it will live long and survive storms.
- The condition of our hearts determines the quality of our words.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:44)
- The quality of our minds and thought life determines how much room God has to transform us.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Underground is where I like to travel.
It’s in these spaces,
- the underneath,
- the underground,
- the behind-the-scenes,
that I like to converse with people.
Rather than talk about the weather, I like to talk about heart change. Rather than talk about a child’s behavior, I like to explore WHY the child’s behavior.
My entire first book, Live ABOVE the Chaos, is about the foundation of faith, the part of ourselves where the building begins.
Like the construction process, it’s in a place no one sees where God begins to do His mighty work. From deep within comes what the world ends up seeing about our faith.
- Venomous words are thrown at you, but you can stay calm.
- Someone mars your reputation, but you can still hold your head high and continue with confidence.
- A person is broken and can’t love you well, but you can still love them fully.
- Fatigue fills you to the bone, but you can still be gentle and kind.
- You are wronged, but the world watches you forgive.
- When you are the one who wrongs, you rush to sincerely ask forgiveness.
These sorts of things are not learned behaviors. Rather, our responses to the chaotic world around us come from work begun long ago in the hidden places of ourselves with God.
Unless the foundation of our faith is solid, we can’t break ground and display God’s nature to a watching world.
- Want to start over?
- Have you veered off course?
- Do you want a strong faith that won’t topple when life gets hard?
Don’t look at what everyone can see. Look underneath. This is where the real work begins.
Get answers. Gain perspective. Cleanse your heart of the tangled messes life has caused. Only then can we love people well and have our short lives count for eternity. Only then can the stuff people see about our lives not topple, but instead stand firm.
The righteous will never be uprooted. (Proverbs 10:30)
Would you like to break ground with me? Would you like to commit your first and foremost attention to what is underground so that what people see above ground is a display of God’s nature?
The road is not closed! Let’s crash those gates and commit to quality construction of our faith today!
Let’s live in a way that the world can see our faith.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
© 2015 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved