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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 09/09/20

How Deep Are Your Roots?

When you seek stability, trust the gardener to plant you well. ~Kathy Carlton Willis

STORY: I Need Roots!

For many reasons, I’ve been thinking about the desire I have to not only be planted somewhere, but put down roots. I’ve lived in 28 homes in my 39 years of marriage. It’s time for some stability! We are looking to move from what we thought would be our forever home into our new forever home, but I realize the only time I’m really going to be able to say that is when I get to heaven.

I recently was evacuated from Beaumont, Texas to Jasper, Texas due to Hurricane Laura. Then Jasper was issued a mandatory evacuation as well. So we landed in Paris, Texas and then on to Ardmore, Oklahoma. Thankfully we are safe, dry, and our home was not damaged. Our only losses were four day’s wages, gas and hotel expenses, and restocking the food that ruined in our refrigerator.

All should be well, right? But there’s just something about not being home that still has me feeling a bit unsettled. I guess sort of like we all feel before we get to heaven—we’re just passing through until we get to home.

Today we’re starting a new word study series on the concept of being planted and rooted.

STUDY: Wither or Thrive?

They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalm 1:3 NLT)
  • A tree planted by the river has a reliable source of water. If where you are planted is essential to your spiritual growth and stability, what life source can you find? In a later Grin & Grow devo-study, we will look at Jesus’s lesson about the vine and branches. For now, just keep in mind what it’s like to bear fruit as we abide in him.
  • The fruit is reliable—it comes every year. What is your spiritual fruit? Is it hit or miss, or is it consistent?
  • We watch the health of leaves to determine the health of the tree. What are signs in your life that indicate your spiritual health is withering?
  • The word “they” in this passage refers to the godly people we see earlier in the psalm. It shows the traits of godly people who delight in the law of the Lord. How are they prosperous? Their works accomplish what God wants.
Turn your back on evil, work for the good and don’t quit. God loves this kind of thing, never turns away from his friends. Live this way and you’ve got it made, but bad eggs will be tossed out. The good get planted on good land and put down healthy roots. (Psalm 37:27-29 MSG)
  • This paraphrase definitely gets my attention! I want to be planted on good land and be able to put down healthy roots, don’t you?
  • According to this passage, what contributes to being rooted this way?
Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots. (Proverbs 12:3 NLT)
  • If we see this sentence as opposites (as Proverbs often does), what keeps us from having stability? Can you think of a time when you weren’t 100% plugged in to God that you had more sin in your life and lacked stability? How do you overcome that?
  • Who has deep roots? How do you become godly?
Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit. (Proverbs 12:12 NLT)
  • Here’s another proverbial contrast. What are the two sides of the coin?
  • One sign of being well rooted is to bear fruit. List examples of the fruit of the godly.
They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff. (Isaiah 40:24 NLT)
  • What happens to some who are barely rooted?
  • How can you prevent this from happening in your life?
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. (Isaiah 61:3 NLT)
  • It’s possible this passage is intended for a specific time and people group rather than all who follow God. But we can learn some principles from it. What is the tree mentioned in this passage? Do you think there is any significance of being like “great oaks”?
  • What is the outcome when the Lord plants the righteous?
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:7-10 NLT)
  • This passage reminds me of Psalm 1. Pick out some of the descriptions of the blessed.
  • What seems to be our part in being blessed?
  • Again, this passage may be talking about a specific people group or time, but we can glean from it that the human heart left to its own doing is wicked and deceitful. Secret motives lead to sinful actions. What sacrifice ultimately allowed us not to receive what we deserve?

STEPS: Plant for Desired Outcomes

  1. Go deep. Prevent shallow roots by doing what it takes to be securely planted. How can you make this a priority in your life?
  2. Fertilize often. What acts as spiritual fertilizer in your life?
  3. Remove weeds. What threatens to choke out your spiritual growth?
  4. Seek Son. Expose yourself fully to Jesus, hiding nothing in the shadows. When he shines into your life, what happens?

Copyright © 2020 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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