How You’re Like a Tree
- November 2010
I have long pictured everyone I meet as a tree. Don’t ditch this post just yet, let me try to make some sense of this (also, read Psalm 1.)
The most important part of a tree is it’s roots. If the tree has a bad root system, the tree will be bad. What then are the roots — the most important aspects of a life of following Christ? I believe the main roots could be narrowed down to:
1. The Fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10)
2. A Pervading Love for the Lord (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:29-30, Luke 10:27, Deuteronomy 6:5)
3. An Exclusive Trust in the Lord (Jeremiah 17:5-8, most of Psalms)
Can you see how nearly all other areas in our lives grow and get their life (or death) from these roots? Try it for a moment. Think of something such as “a willingness to go anywhere for the Lord.” That trait comes because you fear and love him enough to trust that He will take care of you no matter where you go. Or, what about prayer? If you love the Lord and trust him alone, you will talk to him and want to be with him. Keep going — try some more.
If someone can figure out how healthy these three roots are in your life, then not only can they derive the health of countless “smaller” areas (what I like to call your “leaves” and “branches,”) but they may also be able to project forward in your life to times of pain, discouragement, loss, or hurt and know how you will fair in those conditions.
The absolute best example I can think of to prove my point is the life of Daniel. From a teenager we can see the health of his roots. He didn’t eat the defiled food from the King and trusted God to come through. A few years later in his life he again fears God alone and doesn’t bow down to other idols. For this he was thrown into a fiery furnace and the Lord came through for him. Still later in his life he loved God only and wouldn’t stop praying to Him even if it meant being thrown into a pit of hungry lions. Again, God came through for Him.
If you are a man or woman who truly trusts and fears the Lord now, then as you grow older, circumstances will matter less and less to you, and pleasing God will matter more and more.
If you have read my post The Fearless Wife, hear this: It’s not about marrying someone who is fearless. It’s about marrying someone who fears, loves and trusts the Lord right now. The leaves of fearlessness are a result of the roots of trust, fear and love of the Lord.
I want to say two things in closing. First, we must cultivate and pray for our love of the Lord, trust in the Lord and fear of the Lord. If you truly love Him alone, you’ll pray for anything to come into your life to grow those three areas.
Second is this: Don’t spend time focusing on “small” leaves and branches (with yourself or with others.) Sometimes we look at a person and think, “They aren’t willing to give up everything in this life for Christ? Then we need to show them verses saying that Christ demands everything!” But, that doesn’t deal with the root issue. Their root issue is that they don’t trust God. They want to keep their possessions and dreams because they want to trust themselves, not God. Or, we see someone who might spend 5 minutes praying a day, and we think, “I will tell them to pray for an hour… That will do it.” But the root issue is that they don’t really love God. They’re not searching their day for time to be with God or denying themselves other engagements to give that time to God. Finally, we might see someone who isn’t taking all of the words of God seriously. It’s because they don’t truly and exclusively fear the Lord.
How are the health of your roots?
Be a person (and marry a person) who has strong roots of fear of the Lord, love for the Lord, and trust in the Lord. That will take care of “problems” down the road.