Monday Musings: Where Are Your Roots Planted?
This past weekend, we had our annual women's conference at church, and this year, we discussed suffering in the life of the believer. It was a wonderful time of learning, fellowship, laughter, and prayer together. I'm thankful for the display of God's redeeming grace that I see in numerous women's lives at Morningview.
One reoccurring theme that many people touched on throughout the weekend was how God's Word was a healing balm and comfort to their souls in times of trial. Through time in scripture, they were reminded of God's promises and comforted in their affliction. A familiar passage came to mind as I listened — Jeremiah 17:7-8, it says, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."
I love the imagery in these verses – a large, sturdy tree, bursting with life and abounding in fruit. This passage in Jeremiah paints a vivid picture of a Christian whose trust is in God alone. Their hope is not grounded in themselves or this world—it's found in Jesus. They don't fear trials, because they are like a tree planted by the water. Their roots are planted deeply, sustained, and nurtured by the Word, prayer, and fellowship with the local body. Even with suffering and storm, their leaves not only remain green but bear good, gospel fruit.
There are many saints around me, at Morningview and beyond, who embody that passage in Jeremiah well. Regardless of season, their lives remain fixed on Christ. And through their hardship, they display a picture of trusting in the Lord for hope and strength. This is something I desperately want for my walk with Jesus. None of us will be unscathed in life by adversity or suffering. One question that came to mind this weekend was this: Where am I planting my roots? Where am I seeking to draw sustenance? Here were a few questions I asked myself and might be helpful for you, as well:
- Am I Drinking from the Word of God? Psalm 1:2-3, Matthew 4:4, and Hebrews 4:12 are some verses that speak of the importance of scripture in the life of a believer. If we believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and that it is living and active, then we should be feasting on it daily — this is how our faith is fed. If we neglect our time in scripture, we are spiritually starving ourselves. And when we are spiritually starved, we have a hard time fighting sin and trusting in the goodness of God.
- Am I Devoting Time to Prayer? All Christians would agree that prayer is essential. I imagine, especially among people ages thirty and below, that prayer is something many of us struggle with in our lives. With the world at our fingertips through our smartphones, we have diminished our ability to focus. I've had several occasions throughout this year where I have been spending time in prayer, only to find myself instinctively reach for my phone. It's disheartening. But, prayer is worth the fight. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is a verse that many of us know – "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstance.." What a privilege that we can commune with our God in prayer whether day or night, and he meets with us.
- Is the Gathering of the Local Body Important to Me? Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." What a gift we have in the local church! Every week, we have the opportunity to come together — we hear the preaching, singing, and praying of the Word. We break bread together, reminding one other of the sacrifice Christ made for his bride. We sharpen and edify each other. If we want to grow in personal holiness, we must be a part of a body. And not just attending when it's convenient for us, but committing ourselves to a local church — sharing in one another's burdens and joys, reminding one another of our hope in the gospel.
- How Am I Spending My Free Time? I'm going to be honest — this is something I just started thinking about recently. I'm the world's worst when it comes to being on my phone. When I'm bored, I reach for my phone. When I want some "me time", I reach for my phone. When I'm tired, annoyed, or want to disengage with those around me, I reach for my phone. And usually, it's to scroll through Instagram or Facebook mindlessly. Now, social media in itself isn't bad, but for me, I've noticed feelings of jealousy, shame, and discontent when I'm spending more time online. I've had to ask myself, "Is this helpful for me?" and "Do I feel rested when I spend time on my phone?" Ninety-nine percent of the time, the answer is no. Our phones have a way of giving us a false sense of rest while draining us of energy and tempting our hearts to sin. I've in turn sought out hobbies over the past few months that are restful and life-giving. I've rediscovered my love for historical fiction and the joy I have from getting lost in a book. For some of you, this could mean taking a walk with your family, gardening, painting, or playing a board game with your kids. Find something that works for you.
This week as you plan your schedule and go about daily life, think about where you are planting your roots. Are you planting them by the streams of God's Word, or are you seeking sustenance from a tiny puddle riddled with the glories of this world? Jesus tells his disciples in John 15:5, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing." May our hearts rest in life-giving work of Christ, for apart from him, we can do nothing.
Photo from UnSplash by Robin Mathlener