About a year or so ago, a few of the ladies on staff at my church had a prayer and worship night together to share what God had been doing in our lives, as well as to pray for our church and our city. When it came time to go around and share about what God had placed on our hearts, three of us all shared passages from the exact same chapter in the Bible; Jeremiah 17.
Yesterday I shared about this in our church Dream Team rally, but I wanted to expand on it a little bit more, so I thought I’d make it into a blog post. 😉
Being rooted has been a common theme and prayer in my life over the past few years. What does it look like to be rooted in Christ? To truly find our identity in Him?
God has used these verses to teach me so much about this topic over the past year.
“Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone and sets GOD aside as dead weight. He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie, out of touch with the good earth. He lives rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows. BUT, blessed is the man who trusts GOD, the woman who sticks with GOD. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers— Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.” – Jeremiah 17:5-8 MSG
Do we want to be trees rooted near rivers, bearing fresh fruit every season? Or tumbleweeds on a prairie, rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows?
I think of how a tumbleweed not only serves virtually no purpose, but also rolls across prairies, picking up more dirt and debris and adding it onto itself.
I think that’s often how it looks in our lives when our identity isn’t firmly rooted in Christ. We think we can do enough on our own to prove ourselves. We could be running all over the place, doing good, helpful things, serving in church, following all the “Christian rules”, even building the kingdom; but with the wrong motivation. We do all these things to try and prove that we’re good enough, or that we’re worthy… or that it’s about us at all.
Have you been here before? I know I have.
Clinging to any compliment we receive to give us identity, we are driven by what others think of us. We pick up all these insecurities along the way and add them onto ourselves until all that we’re made of is a false, inadequate, empty shell of someone so desperate for purpose and belonging.
We’re busying ourselves with emptiness and calling it purpose; dressing ourselves with cheap imitation jewels of identity, and wondering why we don’t feel complete, secure and connected.
We aren’t tethered to any solid foundation, although we may not even realize it. And because we aren’t rooted in Christ, we can’t bear any fruit.
We’re going to eventually get burned out, dried up, uninspired at some point. We can’t keep tumbling around aimlessly forever.
BUT instead, if we can root ourselves in the identity we have as children of God; If we can trust Him and stick with him, and hold firmly onto who He says we are, we’ll be like a tree firmly planted near the river, that doesn’t worry in the heat of summers or in drought… because we know who we are in Christ.
Our faith is effected too.
A tumbleweed can’t have tree-like faith. A tree knows where it stands. It knows what waters it, it knows where it belongs and who’s it is. A tumbleweed doesn’t know any of those things and has no direction for where it’s headed. It’s blown about by the winds of circumstance, feelings, emotions, and uncertainty.
A tumbleweed has nothing REAL to cling to. A tree’s strength is in it’s roots.
When we realize who we are and where our roots are, we can have FAITH in the one who tethers us. The one who anchors and sustains us. We can know that when the wind blows, when the droughts come, when the storms rage… our roots are strong and deeply secured, beside the living water.
We can then serve out of the FULLNESS he’s given us, instead of the emptiness of only “good works” to silence the guilt and shame we feel and prove our worth.
We can love others because of the LOVE we’ve been given, and show MERCY to others because of how we’ve been shown Mercy.
You see when we’re rooted in Christ, everything changes.
So today, let’s love on people and serve that way. Firmly rooted. Clinging only to Christ. Not worrying about what may come, but standing tall, confident, not in who we are, but in the one we are rooted in.
Let’s be strong trees that grow in wisdom and purpose, not flimsy tumbleweeds who wander.