By George Feldman

A person doesn’t need to be an expert in horticulture to know that the establishment of a good root system is first and foremost in the growth and development of any tree and plant if it is to get a good start. For this reason many nurseries where you buy your stock will instruct you to cut back the branches by as much as a third. This way the plant’s energy and strength can be concentrated on developing the most important thing - the root system.

You will find the descriptive figure of roots used many times throughout the Bible. For one thing, it fits perfectly in describing what is first and foremost, spiritually, in the life of every believer. Just as it is necessary in the survival of a tree or plant, so it is equally necessary for spiritual survival of all believers.

A good illustration may be found in Psalm 1. The blessed or happy man is likened to a tree planted by the rivers of water. The implication is that the roots reach out for the life-supporting water, and as a result the fruit is brought forth in its season and the leaf does not wither away because it is not subjected to a lack of water.

How is a good root system developed in the life of a believer? Psalm 1 makes it obvious that it depends on the supply of living water. And the living water is the Word of God.

Some years ago a wind storm blew over a large Chinese Elm tree belonging to a neighbor. It had been planted in the middle of the lawn during a dry year. The grass was watered over an extensive period of time. As a result the tree did not send down a tap root as it normally does, but developed roots that fanned out under the lawn. Such a shallow and abnormal root system spelled eventual doom for the tree. A proper root system would have provided strength for the storms and water for the droughts.

It shouldn’t be difficult for any believer to make a spiritual application from this story. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him...abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6, 7).

[Reprinted from Truth For Today Vol. 26, No. 12]