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SELF-CONFIDENCE:"THE TRUNK"




 

Our life lesson for the month of MARCH is SELF-CONFIDENCE! Throughout each lesson we are using the different parts of a TREE to illustrate steps and spiritual disciplines that we can implement to become more SELF-CONFIDENT. Last week we discussed the role of the “ROOTS” which exposed the difference between a KINGDOM POV and a WORLDLY POV! We established that GOD gave us free will to choose but we also determined that apart from our father GOD we could never bear fruit.This week we’re diving into the layers of a TREE TRUNK and how each function can teach us a little something about how we should operate in LIFE! Here are the functions of the tree trunk: 

 

  • The Outer Bark: Serves as protection for the tree. It’s mostly dead tissue but the renewal process of the bark is produced from within. It prevents the tree from losing moisture when it’s dry and keeps out moisture when it rains. It acts as a barrier to deter insects and it helps to insulate the tree in the cold!

  • The Inner Bark: Serves as the pipeline to deliver the nutrients, food, and water to the rest of the tree. The inner bark contains Phloem which is a vascular tissue that distributes nutrients to the plants. 

  • The Vascular Cambium: Serves as the growing part of the trunk. Its main function is to separate the Phloem and the Xylem. Xylem is the vascular tissue that grows inward and is responsible for transporting the water and nutrients to the plant. Xylem is separated into both the Sapwood and the Heartwood. Phloem is the vascular tissue that grows outward and is responsible for transporting sugar and other large molecules. When the Vascular Cambium cells divide it creates more xylem and phloem which causes the tree to expand in girth. Trees generally grow about 2.5 cm per year. 

  • Sapwood: Serves as the younger outer living wood of the tree; generally this wood is lighter in color and moist. It continues to absorb water up from the roots to be passed to the crown. All wood starts as sapwood but over time it all turns into heartwood.  

  • Heartwood: Serves as the older innermost central layer of the tree; generally this wood is darker in color. It’s made up of dead cells that don't transfer water or nutrients. It’s the strong spine that supports the tree and it won’t decay or weaken as long as the outer layers are intact. 

  • Growth Rings or Tree Rings: Serve as a way for us to measure the growth of the tree and what the weather conditions were like during each year of the tree’s life cycle. Wide rings indicate that there were warm days and consistent water, narrow rings indicate that there was inclement weather, lack of water, and short growing seasons.  


In order for a tree to thrive the trunk has to be solid and every part must be functioning properly. The trunk is like the heart of the tree. It protects the living tissue, physically supports the tree, and transports water and nutrients to the branches for growth. The trunk is the most valuable part of the tree, because it’s the area that IMPACTS REPRODUCTION. If a tree trunk experiences major damage it could cause the tree to decay, die, or become lifeless. Most trees are able to adapt to any type of season because each layer of the tree trunk serves as a barrier system to sustain the COMMAND CENTER! Much like the tree trunk, we must put layers of protection in place to make sure our HEARTWOOD stays secure.  Enduring unnecessary storms can leave us feeling dead and lifeless, and living life without boundaries puts us in a position to decay prematurely! This week we’re going to take some time to explore and establish our layers of protection. Let's break it down…..


Our SKIN would be equivalent to the OUTER BARK of the tree. It is the barrier between us and the outside elements that protects us from harm!  Whenever we get a cut or scrap it’s healed from the inside out, and it serves as insulation! Over time we as humans go through extreme high and low seasons. We get banged up, criticized, and straight up done wrong. Sometimes we experience things that are simply not fair and we get scars from our experiences that cause us to lose trust and hope in people! In order to bounce back and continue to journey throughout life we must pray for thick skin and a soft heart.


LAYER #1: PRAY FOR THICK SKIN AND A SOFT HEART

GUIDING SCRIPTURE: “If any of you want to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but  lose your own soul?” - Matthew 16:24-25 (NLT)


  • THICK SKIN: When we answered the call to follow JESUS CHRIST we agreed to take up our cross and follow him. This implies that we’re willing to shoulder the weight of the cross just like JESUS did. JESUS endured unfair treatment, he was mocked, criticized, and ridiculed. Ultimately he died a horrible death in order to create a pathway for us to connect with GOD the father. So if JESUS did it we should also be aware that we may have to endure it as well. We were also called to give up our lives for the sake of JESUS. What he means by this is letting go of our ego and personal ways of handling things. How we would handle things on our own isn’t how we handle things in the KINGDOM. 


ACTION: The beautiful thing is JESUS left us a blueprint to follow! JESUS didn’t always want to complete every task he was called to complete but he did whatever was asked of him because it was GOD’S WILL. Whenever things got hard or JESUS always turned to Father GOD for direction. In those moments of vulnerability JESUS laid his burdens down by:


  • Expressing his feelings and frustrations to GOD

  • Asking GOD for another way if it was possible 

  • Relinquishing all power to GOD’S WILL

  • Trusting in GOD’S WORD and BELIEVING that all things would be made whole

  • Declaring GOD’S TRUTH, speaking his WORD over your life


He was willing to fulfill his purpose and he allowed GOD to LEAD HIM. By releasing his own desires to react or respond he was able to be filled with GOD’S POWER and LOVE. He was able to endure his portion of carrying the cross because GOD gave him the GRACE to endure it. GOD intended for us to handle adversity in the same manner. We will have unfair and unjust acts happen against us but we must remember that we’re not in control, GOD IS!. He’ll correct everything and put things in ORDER in his way. Having thick skin requires us to extend grace, give our burdens to GOD, and have a soft heart.


GUIDING SCRIPTURE: “Since GOD chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of the body you are called to live in peace.”   - Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT)


  • SOFT HEART: Having a soft heart doesn't mean you’re soft or a pushover. It simply means that you understand that GOD’S WILL reigns supreme and revenge is for the LORD! You won’t always understand why you have to endure certain trials or experiences. You won’t always understand why certain people mishandled you and hurt you. It’s extremely difficult to overcome this layer of skin that we call FLESH. It has a mind of its own, it’s petty, and it wants to get its LICK BACK! But reacting in a negative way only takes you out of character and puts your vulnerable positions to suffer even more.  In those moments you have to work to see other people the way GOD sees them, as humans! You have to remember that GOD forgave you so you have to mirror those actions. If we allow the negativity and pain to dwell inside of us it will harden our hearts and become a bolder blocking our love from flowing. You have to let everything roll off of your back and remember that GOD has you covered. Forgiveness is the key to maintaining a tender heart. 


ACTION: One thing is for certain GOD knows how to flip everything the enemy tries to use for bad, to work in your favor. Let GOD FIGHT your battles! Romans 12:19-21 (NLT) says, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of GOD. For the scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back, “ says the LORD. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”

  • FORGIVE others even when it hurts. Forgiving them doesn’t mean they have to give them access to you again

  • Exude the FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT in every season

  • Extend GRACE AND MERCY 


The  INNER BARK serves as a pipeline to deliver nutrients, water, and food to the rest of the plant. The HOLY SPIRIT functions the same way inside of us. The HOLY SPIRIT serves as an ADVOCATE and HELPER. He feeds us wisdom, living water, and provides guidance that serves as the nutrients we need to continue to grow! John 14:26 (NLT) says, “But when the father sends the advocate as my representative, that is the HOLY SPIRIT he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”


LAYER #2: LET THE HOLY SPIRIT LEAD YOUR LIFE

GUIDING SCRIPTURE: “But the HOLY SPIRIT produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against these things! Those who belong to CHRIST JESUS have nailed the passions of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the SPIRIT, let us follow the SPIRIT’S leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” - Galatians 5:22-26 (NLT)


  • BEING LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT: Allow yourself to simply do the right thing even when it hurts. Being led by the spirit simply means that you will exude the fruits of the spirit, you will plant seeds in good soil, and you will be persistent in showing others that goodness of the LORD through your actions. The HOLY SPIRIT will prompt you to do good works and provide you with steps to follow, but your obedience is going to be the major key. GOD speaks directly to the HOLY SPIRIT and he sent him to live in us to guide us throughout life. Invite the HOLY SPIRIT in to dwell in your heart and give you wisdom. 


ACTION:

  • “Be strong in the LORD and in his mighty power. Put on all of GOD’S ARMOR so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in the dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” - Ephesians 6:11-12 (NLT) 

  • “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of GOD’S righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the GOOD NEWS so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the SPIRIT, which is the word of GOD.” - Ephesians 6:14-17 (NLT)

  • “Pray in the SPIRITat all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayer for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask GOD to give me the right words so I can boldly explain GOD’S mysterious plan that the good news is for jews and gentiles alike.” - Ephesians 6:18-19 (NLT)


The VASCULAR CAMBIUM separates the Phloem and the Xylem and serves as a transporting system to help the trunk grow. Our PERSPECTIVE has very similar functions. Whatever we focus on GROWS, whatever we remove decreases. When it comes to gaining SELF-CONFIDENCE it’s going to be vital that we focus on bettering ourselves and not comparing our situation to others. 


LAYER #3: SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE

GUIDING SCRIPTURE: “Don’t store up your treasure here on earth where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is there your heart will also be.” - Matthew 6:19-21 (NLT)


  • SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE: There are a lot of things competing for our attention. Many of these things are after a lot more than your eyes. They’re after your soul and your mind. If the enemy can distort how you think and how you view things he can cause you to act out in ways that aren’t in alignment with the KINGDOM. It’s going to be vital that you take the time to adjust your focus on things that are pure. “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Put into practice all that you’ve learned and received from me everything you’ve heard from me and saw me doing. Then the GOD of peace will be with you.” - Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)


ACTION:

  • Fix your thoughts on what gives LIFE, JOY, and LOVE

  • Define what’s truly important to you 

  • Examine the positive and look for the message behind 

  • Examine the negative and look for the lesson (The silver lining) 


The SAPWOOD absorbs water up from the roots to be passed to the crown. If the sapwood doesn’t have access to water it won’t be able to complete the task it was created to complete. Your CIRCLE or GROUP OF FRIENDS have a similar function. The people you’re around create these large pools of influence. There’s so much information, so many different perspectives, and many characteristics floating in those pools. If you’re not careful we will find yourself uprooting from the SOIL to drink from the POOL OF INFLUENCE! We all know that there’s poop and pee in the pool but depending on your CLOSE CIRCLE you might be willing to RISK IT ALL. It’s vital that you evaluate your CIRCLE!

 

LAYER #4: EVALUATE YOUR CIRCLE

GUIDING SCRIPTURE: “Don’t be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” - 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)


  • EVALUATE YOUR CIRCLE: Your group of friends have a direct impact on your SELF-CONFIDENCE because you spend the mass majority of your time with them. You become more and more like the people you surround yourself with. That’s why it’s so important that you surround yourself with good QUALITY friends that stand on KINGDOM BUSINESS. They should be people who have INTEGRITY AND CHARACTER. They should also be reliable and show up for you when things are good, bad, and indifferent. If your friends aren’t  individuals that will pour into you and lead you to the living water (JESUS CHRIST) when you’re low they might not be the right kind of people to be around. The scripture says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” - Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)


ACTIONS: 

Take inventory of your friends every quarter to monitor any patterns or areas of concern that need to be addressed. Ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers. After completing these questions quarterly take some time to really decide who needs to remain in your life and who needs to be cut loose. Sometimes your SELF-CONFIDENCE is impacted by the people you’re around because their insecurities won’t allow you to be great. 


  • How have we shown up for each other?

  • Does my mood or mindset change when I’m around this person? 

  • When this person leaves my presence do I feel drained or inspired? 

  • When I share good news, is this person genuinely happy for me or do they celebrate me?

  • Does this person make every interaction about them?

  • Do I feel safe with this person? If yes, in what ways? If not, what makes you feel this way? Provide examples.

  • How often does this person make time to connect? Do they reach out or am I always the one extending the invitation? 


The HEARTWOOD is the strong spine that supports the tree and it won’t decay or weaken as long as the outer layers are intact. Your HEART functions in the same way. Just like the tree trunk places layers of protection around the heartwood, you must place layers of protection around your heart. 


LAYER #5: GUARD YOUR HEART

GUIDING SCRIPTURE: “Guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life.” - Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)


  • GUARD YOUR HEART: Your HEART POSTURE impacts how you view everything. If you’re operating with a bruised heart you may not be able to see things as they really are. When you’re hurting you tend to see things through jaded shades. It impacts your attitude, your mindset, your actions, and the way you handle other people. You must use wisdom as you navigate throughout life to avoid some of the pitfalls the enemy has set up for you. The people, places and things you allow in your space have the ability to taint your heart so be sure to ask GOD to GUIDE YOU and be OBEDIENT when he speaks.


ACTIONS: 

  • Take time to heal when you have traumatic experiences, see a therapist and spend time with GOD

  • Listen to your gut feelings, many times that’s the HOLY SPIRIT prompting you to flee

  • Ask questions and take the time to get to know the people you're dealing with 

  • Ask GOD to reveal the intentions of the person, place, or thing and ask for wisdom 


The GROWTH RINGS (TREE RINGS), serve as a way for us to measure the growth of the tree and what the weather conditions were like during each year of the tree’s life cycle. The rings the tree collects is an example of the journey traveled. Each ring has a story and based on the shade of the marking we can tell if the season it endured was tough or smooth sailing.  This is very similar to conducting a SELF-EXAMINATION. Taking a look at your journey could serve as a way to boost your SELF-CONFIDENCE because it allows you to see what GOD has brought you through. Yes, you may have some scars but those markings are just an indication of your victories. 


LAYER #6: CONDUCT A SELF-EVALUATION

GUIDING SCRIPTURE: “Search me, O GOD, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” - Psalms 139:23-24 (NLT)


  • CONDUCT A SELF-EVALUATION: Being SELF-AWARE allows you to identify, assess, and address your actions so that you can get better. Conducting self-evaluations allows you to humble yourself and learn from your patterns. It’s not about being perfect, it's about being willing to grow. If being SELF-CONFIDENT is something you want to be you must be willing to respectfully call yourself out on your stuff and then put in the work to fix it. 


ACTION:

  • Ask GOD to reveal what you need to fix and how you need to go about it

  • Examine your track record and patterns to identify what worked, what didn’t, and what needs to be discarded 

  • Identify areas that need improvement and put action plans in place to address these areas

  • Ask for constructive criticism from the people you know have your best interest at heart


SELF-CONFIDENCE comes from within, but if you don’t establish your protective layers you'll allow outside sources to dwell where only the LORD should be sitting. Pray for THICK SKIN and A SOFT HEART. Allow the HOLY SPIRIT to lead your life. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE and EVALUATE YOUR CIRCLE and GUARD YOUR HEART. Lastly, CONDUCT SELF-EVALUATIONS so that you can remove any toxicity from your life and be able to CHECK YOURSELF! Putting these layers of PROTECTION in place will help you to establish an understanding of where your confidence comes from and protect it at all costs.


I pray that this blog was helpful and inspiring. Be sure to come back next week for part 3 of the Self-Confidence Life Lesson! Next week we will be discussing the BRANCHES of the tree. Have a great day and remember until next time, STAY FOCUSED, TRUST GOD, and RESPECT THE PROCESS!

 

INSPIRATIONAL SONGS:

  • I NEED THEE BY: MEAGHAN WILLIAMS

  • TREE TIPS BY. NOBIGDYL.

  • LOVE AFTER HURT BY: ANNATORIA, ONE HOUSE WORSHIP AND TREVOR JACKSON



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