Growing Downward, Bearing Fruit Upward
...take root downward, and bear fruit upward (Isaiah 37:31 KJV).
The nation of Israel has been compared to a fruitful tree. In the same manner, in the New Testament, the Church, the body of Christ and individual believers are also compared with branches.
1. We can sometimes observe a tree which is green and full of fruit, but after a time it is dried up. The question arises, why?
2. We can sometimes observe a strong tree then all of sudden it falls down. The question arises why?
Behind both of these conditions the reason seems to be a secret disease which slowly penetrated to the roots of these trees; gradually the green tree dried up and the strong tree fell down.
3. It has also been observed that a tree is very healthy but it does not bear fruit. Again the question is, why?
4. Another tree is observed to be healthy, it has green leaves, the season of fruit approaches, there were flowers and the fruit was ready but when the fruit is ripe suddenly enemy insects attacked and all the fruit was destroyed. The question remains the same, why?
5. It has also been seen that a tree is good, green, and healthy. It seems fruitful, the fruit seems very pleasant and colorful but when it is presented and cut for eating the insect is sitting inside the fruit. My question is the same, why?
The answer is that some secret disease in the root of the tree has done its damage. From the above descriptions, which type of tree are you? God forbid there should be any such tree which describes your life.
There was a tree, there was no water near the tree but its roots stretched a great distance. In that distance a river was flowing, the tree’s roots reached out to the river and it took in water for its nourishment. As a result, in unfavorable circumstances the tree was always green and lush.
As a true believer, a true Christian, a saved person, a redeemed person, a new creature, a new-born person sometimes feels that there is no spiritual thrill in his life; no action, no glamour.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him (Colossians 2:6, KJV).
Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:7).
· Become Rooted in Him.
To get deep rooted, to get stronger and to grow stronger in Him is essential. We as Christ’s believers must be deep-rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ.
· People do not see the root.
· The root has no beauty.
· Everybody appreciates the tree or the fruit but nobody appreciates the root.
· The root makes the tree strong.
· The root gives strength to the tree so that it can face strong winds, harsh and unfavorable circumstances
· The whole of the tree depends upon the root.
· The root lives in the secret, hidden place.
· The root performs all of its duties quietly and silently.
· It is very essential for the root to be deep.
· The deeper the root, the stronger the tree.
On the other hand, if insects or termites attack the root, or if the root is to shallow, dangerous conditions face the life of the tree. The tree is weakened and cannot face difficult storms.
The life of a Christian believer has a secret place. This is his relationship with God that is personal, spiritual and deep. It is his love, respect, honor, reverence, his thought patterns, attitudes, prayer life, his study of God’s word, meditation, gifts for God, and his time spent in deep fellowship with the Lord. This is his personal, spiritual and secret relationship. The deeper the relationship becomes, the stronger it will be, and its positive affects will be visible in the outer or social life.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).
Because you were dead; you died to sin, died to the world, died to your old nature or humanity, died to your old life and died the old ways; that is why your new life is now hidden in God through Christ.
It has been observed that many Christians (I am not talking about nominal Christians) claim to be true Christians but, because they do not have deep roots in the word of God, they become the prey of false teachers and move far away from true biblical evangelical faith. The ship of their spiritual faith gets destroyed in the rough waves of the sea.
It is also possible that a person may perform all his religious ritual, is a believer, can even be the head of a Christian organization; perhaps in a leadership position in the Church. This person seems to be godly but denies its power; he does not accept the power of godliness.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).
In the sight of the outside world everything seems fine. This person regularly attends church services, he sings songs in the church, he claps his hands and he prays in the church with a very loud voice. He gives his offerings and tithes to the church. To the outside world it seems like everything is fine. But does he know that God knows he is the prey of intense mental pressure; is there any hidden spiritual disease working in his inner being. Is any evil, habit or secret sin has gained control over him? This secret sin is consuming the believer like termite. This is a spiritual cancer, which is destroying the soul from within. Sometimes the cancer is harming the human body, all of sudden the patient does not feel good, he feels very bad and there is no way out for his treatment. All of sudden the believer falls down and his spiritual life is totally destroyed.
We must remember this, that this is the great grace of God which brings us close to the salvation and this is also the grace of God that every day he protects us from such temptations, trails and sins. We cannot survive with our own struggle even for a single moment. Our adversary, the devil who is an accuser he runs after us like a roaring lion to devour us.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1Peter 5:8).
It is only by the grace of God that we are protected from our enemy and we can move forward in our spiritual life. In order to be deep rooted spiritually, we must sit in the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ , we must give Him our time, we must wait for Him, we must listen to Him, we must read his Holy word, we must talk about it and meditate upon it. We should not run after experiences. Experiences can be good but experiences can be dangerous, and they can deceive us. Experiences can take us away from true biblical truths. We must be very careful in our spiritual life.
We must know the will of God. We must fulfill His will joyfully and commit ourselves into His protection. We must fully depend upon God’s perfect grace and at the same time we must fulfill our human responsibilities too.
· Grow downward and bear fruit upward.
It is essential to grow downward in our spiritual life. God does not feel happy if we have only an external spiritual make up. He is happy when He knows that we have become deeply rooted in Him and how much stronger we are as a result of it! Can we face negative spiritual storms?
1. Grow down ward
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth (Matthew 6:3).
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (Mathew 6:6).
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face (Matthew 6:17).
When we do some work for God or do something good for other people, we should not advertise it. We must do it silently. We should not look for a reward from people but we should look for a reward from the Lord. Here we see the picture of growing downward; the works which we do not show to people, they have greater reward in the sight of God.
2. Bear fruit upward
What does this mean? When the roots are strong, the tree is healthy, vigorous and full of energy. Then the tree bears fruit. When the spiritual roots of a believer are strong, he brings forth fruit; he has spiritual fruit in his life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (Galatians 5:22).
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Gal 5:23).
Spiritual fruit is linked to one’s personal life; bearing fruit, he is personally and spiritually strengthened and moves forward. There is peace and calmness in his spiritual life and other people can see and feel it. This light shines in front of other people.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
An individual should not be praised for his good deeds but his heavenly Father must be praised and honored. God has kept some good works for every believer to perform.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
God has a special purpose for each one of us that we may bear forth much fruit.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you (John 15:16).
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper
Growing down ward and bearing fruit upward is a very long process. As long as we live this process must be continue. It can be only achieved by the great grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.