The fires that burned their way through the Great Smoky Mountains several years ago destroyed acre after acre of forestry, leaving only charred stumps where mighty oaks and evergreens had stood. In an effort to restore the mountains to their beauty, forest rangers have placed small trees and plantings with hopes of restoring the color, blooms and life that had once been flourishing.
In our spiritual life, we must also have a time of planting. We need times of digging our roots deep down so that we will not faint when the heat of life, trials and hardships come.
In her book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George tells about a time of planting Fig trees. Thirteen were planted, and twelve did well, but one withered up and died. When her husband went out with a shovel to dig up the dead plant, he found that He didn’t need the shovel. The plant died because it had no roots, so it came easily out of the ground. That plant portrays an important spiritual truth – for us to have a heart of faith, we must be devoted to nurturing a root system deep in God’s Word! What’s going on in the root system becomes known to everyone! If the plant is flourishing, it’s because the roots are deep and strong. If the root dies, it’s because the roots are weak. So it is for us!
If you and I are going to be women devoted to God, we must have a root system anchored deep in Christ.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Our life must be hidden in Christ.
What will that look like?
- Roots are tucked away (unseen). We must spend time unseen by others, and seen only by God. Elizabeth explained that an iceberg is hidden under that water where 6/7 of the ice is hidden from view. Even though a sailor can only see 1/7, the iceberg was something to be in awe of because of the part that was hidden away! When you and I are in the public eye, they should be witnessing strength that comes out of our time that is out of sight from others – the time we spend alone with God.
“The greater proportion of your day and life spent hidden in quiet, in reflection, in prayer, in scheduling, in preparation, the greater will be the effectiveness, the impact, the power, of the part of our life that shows.” Ray and Anne Ortland
The impact of your ministry to people will be in direct proportion to the time you spend away from people with God. That will only happen by making wise choices. “We must say no not only to things which are wrong and sinful, but to things pleasant, profitable and good which would hinder and clog our grand duties and our chief work.”
How do we know what to say no to? It comes from that time in prayer as we give ourselves to God and ask Him to direct our paths – Prov 3:6
Henry Drommond said, “Talent develops itself in solitude.” Let’s think about a talent like piano playing. When my girls were students, they didn’t learn by going around to all the recitals and hammering out their pieces. It came from hours of practice alone on the piano bench. If we’re going to learn the gift of prayer, of Bible study, memorization, or meditating on Scripture, it will only happen in solitude. Those roots are growing while no one else sees.
- Roots are for taking in. Elizabeth says that when we take in God’s Word, there’s an exchange that takes place.
Weariness is replaced by strength
Weakness is replaced by power
Burdens is replaced by freedom
Frustrations is replaced by peace
Turmoil is replaced by calm
What do you need to give to the Lord in time alone with Him so He can give you His great exchange in its place? Your roots need to take in His Word in order to receive it.
- Roots are for tanking up – Roots are a reservoir – Jeremiah 17:7-8 The person who trusts in the Lord shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river. If we are tanking up on the life-giving water of God’s Word, we will…
- Not be afraid of the heat. The reservoir we have stored up from the Word of God will sustain us through the fiery trials
- Bear fruit faithfully. Even when our situation is rough, we won’t wither up and die because we have the reservoir of God’s Word deep in our heart that will sustain us. Psalm 84:7, 11
At times when perhaps we can’t even reach for our Bible, the well of water of God’s Word will feed us and sustain us during those difficult days.
D. Roots are for toughness – Without a network of roots, a plant will become top-heavy because it has no support. Without a root system of God’s Word in our spiritual life, we will fall over and need to be supported when hard things come.
Elizabeth shared about how shipbuilders select a tree located on the top of a high hill as a potential and future mast for their ships. They cut away all of the surrounding trees from that chosen tree. They take away the trees that would shield it from the harsh forceful winds. As time passes, the winds would blow fiercely on that tree and it grows stronger and stronger until it was finally strong enough to be the foremost mast on the ship. When we have a strong roots system, we will gain the strength we need to stand against the trials of our life.
Yes, but how?
- Develop the habit of drawing near to God. Recognize that without this time, you are powerless!
- Design a personal time for drawing near to God –
- What aids?
- Dream of being a woman after God’s Own heart
Write down the growth you’d like to accomplish in one year –
Read through the Bible,
Read 12 books
Memorize 12 verses – chapters
Be mentored for 12 months
Mentor a younger woman
Attend a Bible study
How old will you be in 10 years? What do you want to be like at that age?
Write it down. Pray about becoming that woman for God’s glory.
What kind of plant will you be in a year? In ten years? What kind of root system will you have? It’s your decision. Make today count.