Are you feeling “closed in” lately with the Stay In Place restrictions we have.
When I think of where we are as a people, church or nation, I get an image in my mind of people being enclosed in a box. As someone said, we all look like The Brady Bunch of years ago.
We are told where we can go and what we can do, unlike any time in our life in this land of the free. But, there are also very good reasons why we have these restrictions, even if some do seem unreasonable and inconsistent. In these times there can be great benefits, if we will allow it.
I think of a little tree that we have all seen called a bonsai tree that looks much like the one in this picture. Do we really know what a bonsai tree is? You would think of a very small tree that lives in a small vase or dish and stays in the home. It fairs quite well and never causes any issues, it just sits there. Actually, Bonsai is not a tree at all but a Chinese/Japanese term that means “planted in a container”, so any tree can be planted in the container and thus artificially prevented from growing. So, Bonsai is not a species of trees but a process that stunts growth.
Many Christians have stunted growth because they have put themselves in a “container” that artificially prevents them from the natural process of growth. That container may be our own self worth damaged by abuse, shame, fear, insecurities, worthlessness, etc. The container may be a limited religious or educational system that we have bought into that tells us what we can and cannot do, even when we have desires that burn deep within to accomplish a dream or destiny in life. Or, the container may be a family of origin that has shaped and limited us with belief paradigms that prevent growth or development, such as ‘no one in our family has ever…”. The bonsai plant will never outgrow its container because it becomes “root bound” and growth stops. So, a bonsai plant is simply a much smaller representation of what it was created to be and in reality could have become.
People are much the same. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Whom have you decided to become? What have you decided to do with your life? We may have government restrictions, but these restrictions cannot alter your God given destiny. Joseph was restricted to prison for 13 years, but God used that time as preparation for Joseph to complete his destiny and God’s plan. (Psalm 105). Esther was taken as an orphan to the king’s palace and for one year preparing for the moment she could hear “for such a time as this, God has brought you to the kingdom”. (Esther 4) How many more? Samuel was restricted to the temple with Eli, only to become the great prophet. Daniel was restricted to the service of Nebuchadnezzar and others only to release the prayers and prophetic words of God into a nation. David was restricted to the service of Saul, after being anointed by God, only to rise as the greatest King ever to reign in Israel. Moses was restricted to Pharaoh’s house; Noah to the ark; Elijah to the cave; Ruth to the home of Naomi; John the Baptist to the wilderness wearing clothes from camel hair and a leather belt and eating locust and wild honey…so many lives where greatness and destiny were birthed while in the ‘restricted place’. We can choose to be the ‘Bonsai Christian’ and restrict our growth or we can flourish into the person we were destined by God to become.
We must not forget a few very important promises from the Word of God, such as:
- We are created in God’s image and have been blessed (” Heb: barek”:endowed with potential for life, health, prosperity, fruitfulness. TWOT) and given dominion and authority over God’s creation. (Gen. 1:27-28; Psalm 8)
- We are God’s masterpiece created long ago to do good works in Christ. (Eph. 2:10)
- We were fearfully and wonderfully made and every day of our life is written in God’s book. (Psalm 139)
- We have been given everything we need for life and godliness, through Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-9)
- What we put our hands to prospers, because we meditate on God’s Word and do not take the counsel of the ungodly or wicked. (Psalm 1:1-3)
- We make our way successful and prosperous because we speak only God’s Word (Joshua 1:8)
- We are more than conquerors through our relationship with Christ and our empowerment of Holy Spirit (Romans 8:31-37; Phil 4:13)
- The blessings of God overtake us because we are obedient to His Word (Deut 28:1-14)
These are just a very few promises that are found in the Word of God. So why do we limit ourselves from being less than we were created to be? Because we have each chosen a ‘life container’ to operate in, not realizing what it is actually doing to our lives. Sometimes we need a divine pause inserted into our life to wake us up to our real potential. Physical walls can not restrict our potential for growth and development unless we allow it to do so. During these times of restriction, let’s refocus, refine and reignite what may be lying deep within. Possibly, we have believed the lie of the enemy that there is more for us than what God created us to be (Gen 3), much as he deceived Adam and Even in the garden. We lose sight of what is important and begin to bow our knee to the god of this world, causing the wall of our container to close in with shame, fear, blame, insecurity… We get root bound by the lies and deceptions of the enemy. But GOD!
This is the word I have for all who believe they were called for such a time as this. This word is for those who know they have lived much too small in the eyes of God and man. This word is the call to rise out of the complaining and frustration of life and become who you were created to become. Break forth! Flourish! Believe!
Isaiah 54:1–4 (AMP) — 1 SING, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord. 2 Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes, 3 For you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. 4 Fear not, for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded and depressed, for you shall not be put to shame. For you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not [seriously] remember the reproach of your widowhood any more.