Make sure your roots are drinking from the right water source.

…he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river… – Jeremiah 17:8, Amplified Bible

In Jeremiah 17:7-8, God gives us a picture of what a God-dependent believer is like. Such a person is like a tree planted by a river, a tree which drinks deeply and fully from the river continually. Due to this constant source of refreshing, the tree endures heat and drought, all the while producing beautiful, green leaves and tasty fruit.

The meaning of the metaphor is obvious: Christians who believe in, trust in, and rely on The Lord will be like the tree planted by the rivers of water. They will thrive no matter how hard circumstances become, and the reason they will do so is because their source of strength is not themselves but the never-ending, flowing power of God Almighty.

But herein lies the question for each of us: are we really like that tree planted by the river, or do we just think we are? Many Christians, if asked directly, would swiftly claim to be God-dependent. But their daily behaviors witness to the fact that their source of strength is not God. It is themselves. To examine ourselves this day, let’s take a little test together. Our answers will help us to understand from which source of power it is that we drink.

When faced with a drought of loneliness, what is our first reaction? To fill the void with work or entertainment? To seek human companionship? Or, to dive into a conversation with The Lord in prayer and Bible reading/study/meditation? Don’t get me wrong: seeking to work, enjoying a little entertainment (within Godly boundaries, of course), and spending time with friends and family are perfectly legitimate pursuits. But if our first reaction when lonely is always to pursue one or more of these remedies rather than our Savior’s fellowship, we err. There is no greater cure for loneliness than spending time with the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

When faced with the heat of a crisis, what is our first reaction? To brainstorm solutions to the problem? To attack what we perceive is the source of the crisis? Or, to echo in prayer the words of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:12 (Amplified Bible), “…we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” God does expect us to have a part in solving the crisis. But, that part can vary from situation to situation. In Jehoshaphat’s case, God did all of the dirty work; He only expected Judah to clean up the mess after the dirty work was done. Sometimes, He will want us to do the dirty work in faith that He’ll bless the work, as was the case in Joshua’s rout of the Amalekites in Exodus 17:8-13. Either way, our first step should be to ask God for guidance. Our second step should be to wait until He makes the next step clear. We make our mistakes when we forge ahead without God, expecting Him to bless our efforts.

Are we bearing green leaves and tasty fruit? When we look at the results of what we’ve “done” for The Lord, what do we see? Do we see accolades for ourselves? Or, do we see accolades for God? If people are always praising us for how we’ve impressed them with our actions, then chances are the motivation for our service is our desire to do good works so we can look good. If people are always praising us for how much closer our actions have brought them to God, then the motivation behind our service is our love for Christ, not our love for ourselves. It is a hard thing to come face-to-face with the reality that the motivation behind our service is the same motivation behind the service of the Pharisees – the praise of men. If God puts His finger on us in this matter, we need to admit our error and repent. Service based in selfish motivation will bear little, if any, fruit. But service that is sourced by the rivers of living water flowing from Christ will produce abundantly the kind of fruit that is well-pleasing to our Maker.

“[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.” (Jeremiah 17:7, Amplified Bible). Are you blessed (happy) today? Or, are you just faking happiness with the hope that someday you’ll actually achieve it? If the latter, realize that you are drinking from the wrong source of water. Point your roots towards Christ’s rivers of living water, and be refreshed no matter what kind of heat or drought the devil throws at you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: