As we get closer to the Lord’s return, scripture says that the world will “wax worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3:13). We hear about crazy things on the news every day. But we don’t have to be moved by them. You may wonder how that is even possible. The answer is found in the Old Testament.
JEREMIAH 17:7–8 (NLT)
7 But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 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.
I want to focus on the phrase “have made” in verse 7. It means that we have a choice. We decide who we look to. We don’t have to put our hope in God. Some people choose to trust in things that aren’t stable, things that are like quicksand.
But when our trust is in God, we become like a tree “planted along a riverbank.”
I’m a bit of an English nerd and like to dissect words and look up definitions. I found the phrase “trees planted along a riverbank” interesting. Trees are everywhere. They’re alongside roads, in yards, and in forests. But verse 8 specifically talks about trees along a riverbank.
What is so special about trees by a river? As I began my research, I learned that these trees are a stabilizing force. They reduce erosion and block debris and sediment from getting into the river. Trees also recharge the aquifer, which is an underground layer of water-bearing rock. You could say these trees have a specific purpose. It’s more than making the river’s edge look pretty.
Verse 8 goes on to say that heat and drought don’t bother the trees by a river. That’s because their root system goes deep, deep down. It doesn’t matter what’s happening above ground and how little it rains. These trees have a constant supply of water, so their roots are constantly being watered.
The Word is alive and powerful. We cannot read it without coming away changed and refreshed.
Recharging and Stabilizing
What an amazing analogy for us! When our hope and confidence is in the Lord, He has a purpose for us—a path He wants us to walk on. And like the trees planted by a riverbank, God wants us to recharge and stabilize people around us.
When our roots go deep, we are getting refreshed daily by the Word, the Holy Spirit, and prayer. Circumstances don’t bother us. Nor are we worried about what the world around us looks like.
If we want to see and hear God more clearly, and if we’re going to know His heart, will, and intentions, we need to put our hope and confidence in Him. We need to let our roots run deep and get watered. Too many Christians are worried about what is happening around them, and it keeps them from producing fruit.
I’ve made my confession to be, “I never stop producing fruit.” When I’m tempted to become upset or depressed, I say, “No, no, no. I never stop producing fruit.” I won’t allow myself to look at the surrounding circumstances, and I refuse to get upset.
I won’t allow myself to worry because my hope and trust are in the Lord. No matter how many problems come against me, I never stop producing fruit. I always produce good fruit.
What Are You Thinking?
It’s about a mindset. The thoughts we think eventually become our words. And what we say becomes our actions. Here are some thoughts we need to guard against:
“I just can’t make it. It’s too tough.” “Everything is coming against me. How much more can I stand?” “My job stinks.” “My husband (or wife) is acting ugly. I don’t want to be around him (or her).”
When thoughts like this bombard our minds, we must bring them into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). We have to think on what the Word says about us. That is how we produce fruit.
You may wonder what kind of fruit I’m talking about. It’s found in Galatians 5:22–23 (NLT): “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
When people think about you, do any of these attributes come to their minds? Do they think, “She’s full of love and peace,” or “He’s faithful and good”?
Do the fruits of the Spirit describe you? If your spouse or best friend had to describe you, would they use these words? They will when your hope, confidence, and trust are in the Lord. When you are like a tree planted by the riverbank and your roots go deep, the fruit of the Spirit will come out of you in the rough moments of life.
PSALM 1:2–3 (NLT)
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
This passage of scripture shows us that meditating on the Word day and night is how we put our hope in the Lord. Verse 3 uses nearly the same phrase we saw in Jeremiah: “trees planted along the riverbank.” Anytime the Bible mentions something twice, we need to pay attention to it.
The number one way God speaks to us is through scripture. If we want Him to talk to us more, we need to be in the Word more. When spending time with the Lord, ask, “What do You have for me today?” As you read the Word and listen on the inside, He will speak every single time.
The Word is alive and powerful. We cannot read it without coming away changed and refreshed. That is how our roots are watered and good fruit is produced.
It’s time for Christians to be a stabilizing force. As the world gets crazier and crazier, we won’t be moved by it because our roots will be planted deep. And we’ll be able to help our friends, family, and others around us.
Denise Hagin Burns
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