Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 11/25/20

Roots Go Deep

Good fruit starts with good roots. ~Kathy Carlton Willis

STORY: Your Roots are Showing!

When I think of the word roots these days, I can’t help but think about my neglected hair color. My roots are growing out, showing my real color. I do have a box of dye that will remedy that problem—I just need to take time to have an arts and crafts day with my hair.

My friend Kolleen just proclaimed she too has a root problem—but she has decided to go with it. She said part of her quest for being authentic was to not be fake with her hair color.

Good for her! But I see it a little differently. I’m merely dressing my hair so it isn’t naked. It’s part of my garment and accessory routine. I don’t wear much jewelry so my hair is the way I express my style. Like my friend Amy who dresses conservatively except for her crazy socks. I guess you could say I’m being true to myself in a different way.

As I look at our word study, I see our spiritual roots grow out too. Resulting in fruit. Where I’m rooted, I will grow. And the type of roots I have determine the type of fruit I bear.

STUDY: Root Where You’re Planted

Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit. (Proverbs 12:12 NLT)
  • I can’t help but wonder what causes the godly to be well rooted. Is it because of God rooting us, or because we make sure we are rooted in him? Maybe it’s a cooperative effort.
  • It’s also interesting that this verse discusses bearing “their own fruit.” Is there a tree that doesn’t bear its own fruit? We see a contrast here, that thieves steal someone else’s belongings but get jealous of the loot another thief has acquired. It’s better to have our own fruit (and it be godly fruit) than to long for the fruit of someone else.
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. (Isaiah 11:1-5 NLT)
  • This passage is discussing the fact that Jesus comes from David’s family tree. What are some descriptions of Jesus in this passage?
  • Other versions talk about this being the branch from Jesse (David’s father). An interesting Christmas tradition is the Jesse Tree. Perhaps you’d like to partake in this tradition for advent.
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)
  • How important are roots?
  • What might prevent us from withering or being carried away in the wind?
“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. (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT)
  • Jeremiah shows us what it looks like to be trees rooted in ideal conditions.
  • When we trust in the Lord, that is equivalent to putting roots down.
  • When we gain our hope and confidence in the Lord, that is like having those roots planted by the riverbank, where we can gain healthy sustenance by the water and loamy soil. What are the end results?
“But remember the root command: Love one another.” (John 15:17 MSG)
  • I love this paraphrase of John 15:17. Other translations just say it’s his command.
  • How does adding in the word root affect the impact of this commandment?
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10 NLT)
  • What is the root of all kinds of evil?
  • It doesn’t say in this passage, but what do you think is the root of all kinds of good?
  • The key is in that last sentence—let’s not wander from true faith. That wandering is caused by craving money and ending up with the self-mutilation of many sorrows.
So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. (James 1:21 NLT)
  • This passage follows the last one perfectly. It is a good plan for walking away from evil.
  • What has the power to save our souls?
  • Why do you think this acceptance takes humility?

STEPS: Roots Revealed in Fruit

Our steps are inspired by Isaiah 37:31-32 NLT

And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish. For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
  1. Put roots down. (This is the first step—we have to tend to those roots!)
  2. Grow up. (We can’t grow until we put down roots.)
  3. Flourish. (We can’t flourish unless we are rooted and growing.)

Copyright © 2020 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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