Archive for November, 2009

I recently moved into an apartment but have lived in a house with a front yard and a back yard for many years.  I took pride in what my lawn looked like.  I would mow, trim, fertilize and water with incredible discipline.  Because of the hard work, each year the family could enjoy the plush green grass that felt so soft and comfortable on our bare feet…well, at least the front yard was that way!  The back yard was a different story.

The backyard is the area no one sees.  It is hidden behind a fence, keeping the weeds and the yellow spots hidden from the “lawn gockers”.  The front yard got mowed twice a week, the back once a week and sometimes one every two weeks.  The back never received frequent watering and only received fertilizer when there was some left over from the front.  Why does the backyard need to look good?  No one sees it!!!

Unfortunately, many of us treat our character the same way.  We keep the visible well-groomed, watered and fertilized.  Besides that is what people see.  We take pride in maintaining the appearance of a very disciplined manicured life so that others can look and applaud.

However, character goes beyond the visible (or the front yard).  I know I have character defects that I don’t want others to see.  So, I hid them and work harder on the ones I want everyone to see.  Character is truly defined by how well you maintain the parts that no one sees.  Think about it, you can be a great employee in the office, but be a terrible husband or father; you can be a great husband but struggle with lust and pornography; you could be a great business person but be terrible with your personal finances.

Character development begins in the backyard.  It begins with the areas that no one sees.  Working on unseen character defects is hard and it takes time.  After all, these areas have been overlooked for so long and weeds take time to get rid of.  The good news is with a little discipline and attention the backyard will look great and so will our character.

What does your back yard look like?

“You Gotta Believe”.  That was the phrase that my high school baseball team had plastered everywhere.  It was on our bags, painted on the locker room wall and on the letter head used by the head coach.  Believing is very important but it wasn’t enough to win a state championship (even though we had the highest quality of talent our high school had ever seen).  We need more than belief, we needed “trust”. Many people believe but few move into the arena of trusting.  Trusting is placing your confidence in someone or something else.  Trust is the action point of belief.

Not long ago, I believed in God and his provision, direction, and wisdom.  I believed, as long as things went well for me I was in the center of His will for my life.  Then something happened.  Things seemed to start to turn south for me.  My visual picture of the future started to become scarred and torn.  Things were not turning out like I had hoped or planned.  Was belief enough?  Or was there something I was missing?  That is when my belief collidated with the reality of trust.

I believed God had great things planned for me but I had never placed my trust in him to do those things for me.  Because of my circumstances, I needed more than a belief.  I needed to learn how to trust God.  I did everything I could in my own power to no avail.  I was forced to trust God.  Trust Him for my provisions, trust Him for my security, trust Him for peace, trust Him for significance and trust Him with my future.  The journey has not been easy, but is one that has taught me a valuable lesson.  He has met my needs, He has given my security, He has taught me to trust Him.  While I wish I had a reserve tank filled with things that I can dip into if times get tough, I have learned to trust God every single day.

My friend Barbara King put it this way, “I believe there is a bridge across the royal gorge, I can see it. but do I trust that it is good enough for me to cross over?  Even the devil believes and trembles over the name of Jesus, But I trust him with my everything. Believing is the not same as trusting.”  I have believed.  But now, my belief is filled with trust.  Do you see the bridge God has planned for you and do you trust Him enough to start walking?