Thus says the LORD:
‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is in the LORD.
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.”
(Jer 17:5-8, ESV)
God gives us a choice. The result of trusting God versus relying on anything else is as stark a contrast as between the tree planted by the water and the shrub in the desert. God gives us the blessing to choose to plant ourselves by His river of life, which will sustain us through the heatwaves and the years of drought. Choosing to trust in the LORD requires constant communion with God through daily cultivation, as well as an unfaltering determination to deal with situations His way. Though trying at first, the promised outcome is deeper roots, flourishing leaves, and abundant spiritual life.
The true state of our spiritual life is most clearly seen in the face of unfavorable circumstances, whereby our faith can continue to progress through trust in God. How does one learn to be patient when there is nothing to be patient about? What about self-control, gentleness, faithfulness, or kindness? All of these different situations test us and give us opportunities to grow. The ability to bear fruit comes a lot easier when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. That is why it is paramount that we plant ourselves by the river of life, which flows from the throne of God.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Rev 22:1-2, ESV)
May we purpose to root ourselves firmly by the river of life, that we may continually bear fruit for the glory of God!