We were entering Thanksgiving week. Wrapping up the final grocery shopping, anticipating family arriving soon, and planning our first Thanksgiving in this new house. I went out to get the mail and saw the dreaded letter. The return address was the homeowner’s association. As I read the letter explaining our infraction, I shook my head at the absurdity of it all. The letter pointed out that our young trees in the front yard were dead and needed to be replaced immediately. I looked out the window and they were, in fact, bare of any leaves. The leaves that had recently turned brilliant yellow and orange as the weather turned cooler. These trees weren’t dead, they were simply in winter mode, resting and preparing for growth in the spring.
Deep roots sustain us through droughts, steady us through trials, and nourish us to thrive
13 years later, these “dead” trees have grown taller than the house and their limbs stretch to cover the whole yard. Not only did they come back that spring, but they’ve flourished. These trees have been well-watered and cared for, developing deep, sustaining roots.
Just like these trees, we also need to develop deep roots to sustain our faith. When we have a well-watered, deep-rooted faith, we can also sustain those fall and winter seasons of our lives. The seasons where all the color seems to fade, where we feel stripped bare of all that is comfortable and familiar, the seasons we are surrounded in grief and trials.
We find this analogy of a tree deeply rooted by nourishing waters throughout the Bible. Today, take hope from these three verses as we examine 10 signs of a deep-rooted faith and how you can achieve this in your life.
10 Signs of a Deep-Rooted Faith
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
1) Received Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:6)
This is really where a life of faith begins. You need to accept and receive Jesus into your life. Whether you’re a new believer or long-time church-goer, take the time to get to know Jesus and let him into your heart. Commit yourself to live a life with him and follow in his ways. If you haven’t formalized that commitment with baptism, call your preacher and take that step.
2) Learns and is Instructed (Colossians 2:7)
The Christian life isn’t just about accepting Jesus and being baptized. That is only the beginning. We must then commit ourselves to a lifetime of learning. You have to be willing to read and study God’s Word, be ready to accept guidance and instruction from others, and to learn to listen for God’s direction. It’s not an academic exercise, but rather a process of surrendering self to the process of allowing God to show you his way and reform you into his image.
3) Has a grateful heart (Colossians 2:7)
I love this part of the verse: “overflowing with gratitude”. When we live our lives overflowing with gratitude, there’s no room left for hatred, anger, bitterness, jealousy, or envy. This doesn’t come naturally, but instead comes out of living in faith. As you set your heart to acknowledge everything comes from God and see his blessings in everything – even in the trials – then you can begin to live with a grateful heart.
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the land,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither –
whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
4) Does not follow the way of the world (Psalm 1:1)
As Christians we are called to walk the narrow road, choosing to follow God’s way, not the way of the world. This means we’ll make hard choices to say “no” to things that might put us in tempting situations. We’ll say “no” to things the world says are okay, but we know aren’t okay to God. Remember the “wicked” and “sinners” won’t often look like “bad guys”. In fact, they’ll often look like friends, co-workers, the popular crowd, the people the world reveres. Their path may not look dangerous or illicit. It may look like the path that makes the most money, the way that leads to earthly happiness, the choice that fits in best with everyone else around you. Ask yourself: is this step I’m taking in line with God’s word and rule in my life or is it focused on earthly, human gain? Where is God in this choice?
5) Keeps good company (Psalm 1:1)
One of the best ways to follow God’s path and not the way of the world is to choose good company. If you surround yourself with people who make poor choices, who follow the way of the world, and who aren’t interested in growing deep-rooted faith, you’ll find great temptation to follow along. Make sure you have some good Christian role models and friends to guide and lead you, to set examples for living a life of faith, and to provide wise counsel and redirection.
6) Delights in God’s law (Psalm 1:2)
To delight in God’s law is to know God’s Word intimately and to gladly surrender your life to follow in his ways. This requires more than a study of the law, more than following a set of rules. God didn’t give us a specific rule book, yet he did give us guidelines for living a Godly and righteous life. Living under God’s law is to give control to him and allow God to rule in your life.
7) Meditates on Scripture (Psalm 1:2)
To know God’s rule for our life is to know God’s Word. We need to read and study the Bible, allowing its words to soak deeply into our souls. The Psalm talks about meditating on Scripture day and night. That indicates it should be a habit, a part of our daily routine, an essential part of our life – not just something for Sunday or a weekly Bible study gathering.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when the heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
8) Trusts in God (Jeremiah 17:7)
As our roots grow deeper and we learn and grow in God’s Word, we will come to trust in God in all things. This one takes time to develop and is often forged through trials. It comes from deep knowledge of God’s faithfulness, both through scripture and through your own life experience, observing God at work in your life and the lives of others around you. It requires surrendering your life and your control to God and placing your trust fully in his hands.
9) Does not wither in fear when trials come (Jeremiah 17:8)
When you trust is in God, you will not wither when the trials come. And the trials will come. The Christian life is not an easy life. A deep-rooted faith will preserve you through the trials of life and allow you to flourish no matter what life brings your way.
10) Bears fruit for the Kingdom (Jeremiah 17:8)
The ultimate goal of a deep-rooted faith is to bear fruit for the Kingdom and bring glory to God with our lives. When you live out your faith, you’ll draw others to God. People will notice something different in how you live your life and want to know more. You’ll allow God to lead you to where he wants you to serve, using your God-given talents to help others and progress his Kingdom. You’ll find your purpose on this Earth and live into God’s possibilities for your life. You’ll bear much fruit for God’s Kingdom.
How will you grow your roots deeper?
Take a minute to evaluate your life against each of these. Where are you doing well and where do you need to make some improvements? Choose one area in which to focus next. What action will you take today in that area?