Monday, September 10, 2007

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Revealed in Action

A new impressive building, many stories high, was built for a large company.
Several years after moving into the building, a staff member came to the CEO and pointed out that there was a crack in the wall on the 42 floor.
The CEO immediately called the architect and made an appointment to meet him. The CEO left instructions to be notified of the architect’s arrival.
Dutifully, his staff alerted him the moment the architect stepped foot in the building and the CEO went up to the 42nd floor to meet him.
He waited, but the architect did not show up.
Finally, he called his staff and said, “The architect is not on the 42nd floor, where is he?”
He was informed that the architect was in the 6th floor basement.
The CEO went down to the basement and asked the architect why he wasn’t up on the 42nd floor where the crack was.
The architect answered “The crack may be on the 42nd floor but your problem is here in the foundation.”

In every building the most important part is the foundation, but then it is covered up and no one sees it again. Unless, an action manifests itself somewhere higher up in the building.
The condition of the invisible foundation will manifest itself as a symptom in the visible part of the building.

There is a wonderful lesson here.
The person we are is like a building.
What we believe is our foundation.
Our foundation cannot be seen, but our visible actions will reveal what our foundation is made of.

Characters we find in the bible illustrate this so precisely because we are given both their ‘actions’ and their heart ‘foundation’ beliefs.

We have Abraham who lifted the knife to kill his own son, and we marvel at his action.
What was his foundation belief that made his obedience to God’s Word such a natural thing?
Hebrews 11:19 tells us that Abraham’s foundation belief that God would be true to His promises was so strong that he knew if he did kill his son in obedience to God, God would simply raise him up from the dead.
His obedience was a natural action resulting from his core beliefs.

Admiring Abraham’s actions is much like admiring someone who walks to the edge of a roof and stops. His foundational belief is that if he takes one more step, gravity will have its way with him. So the fact that he stops is not amazing….it is the natural action of a strongly held foundational belief.
What we should admire is Abraham’s foundation belief that made his actions the actions of a faith giant.

Take the example of Moses.
He had been raised with every comfort and privilege, adopted by the Pharaoh’s own sister. He had a position of affluence and authority.
His life held every promise of earthly glory.
But then we see his ‘actions’ when he choses to take the side of the slaves that were his people.
Why was he willing to give everything up??
We are told why….because his foundational belief was that the temporary treasures of Egypt were not worth comparing to the eternal treasures of God. (Heb.11:26)
Moses gave up nothing; he simply chose what he believed to be the most valuable!
An easy, natural choice.

We have the example of Lucifer, who was heaven’s most beautiful angel; in fact he was the worship leader. We see his actions of rebellion against God. And wonder - Why?!?!?
We are told what his foundation was. Pride in himself was his core belief.
(Ez. 28:15,17)
His attempt to take over heaven was a natural action.

There is a verse that says, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”
(Prov. 23:7)
Our heart is our 'basement', the foundation of our life, where our beliefs determine the strength of our life.

What you believe will determine how you act.

If you believe that as long as you have enough money, life will be worth living, then your actions will reflect this belief. Walking over people to get what you want, being dishonest in business practices, becoming a workaholic and neglecting the emotional needs of your family would all be natural actions coming out of your foundation belief.

If your foundational belief is that Jesus meant what He said, about God not forgiving you if you do not forgive others, then your actions will reveal that belief – you will be quick to forgive those who offend you, or hurt you. (Matt. 18:35)

People have asked me if I don’t get angry at the pain, angry that I struggle to do even simple things. I have thought about it and wondered why I really never do. Anger is not an emotion that I have ever felt regarding my RA.
I believe my ‘actions’ come naturally out of my very strong belief that God is in control of my life, what comes into my life was first cleared by Him, and I know that everything will work for good and for His purposes.

Do I enjoy the pain and disability? Of course not!
Do I want to be healthy again? Of course!!
Do I try to get better? Take medication? Of course!
But I am not anxious or upset because I know that God is with me…what more do I need?
I remember when I was first diagnosed and I saw my life as it had always been slipping away from me.
My first emotion was keen disappointment, “But Lord, I wanted to serve you! I wanted to do so much for you, and now I can’t!”
But immediately the answer came. "When my plans for your life were laid, I already knew that you would have RA.
You physical condition will not hinder you in serving me.”

Well, then of course, I will walk this path for as long as I need to walk it!
And pray that I be faithful in my glorifying Him.

Are there other ‘actions’ in my life that need some foundational repair?
Yes, I am not perfect --- yet!!
I say with Paul , .”“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:12)

Think about your actions…. Especially the ones you are not proud of and wish you could change….Check your foundation. Out of what beliefs do your actions spring? Trying to change the action will be futile, you need to go down into the basement and examine and change your core belief.


Carolanne said...

Very good post, Julie!

"What you believe will determine how you act."

"I believe my ‘actions’ come naturally out of my very strong belief that God is in control of my life, what comes into my life was first cleared by Him, and I know that everything will work for good and for His purposes."

It's the staying true to those beliefs that can be most difficult at times.

Lovella said...

This has proven true in my own life. . .absolutely.

Kathy said...

God is certainly using you Julie! This fall (almost fall) God has pointed out very clearly some foundational work in need of repair in my own life. He has used some interesting ways to show this to me, and affirmed again to me that all things are in His control and I can most certainly trust in My Solid Rock. Kathy

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Like Puddleglum in the Narnia series, sometimes all you have to cling to is that there is a God. From that one thought, the rest of the foundation forms. Occasionally I re-think what faith and fellowship means. I tear those thoughts apart, but the foundation-God!-stays put.