For much of this year, I have had the opportunity to go to a women's Bible study at our local Mexican church. For the first time ever, I am finding myself in a position to be able to bond closely with these women, mostly due to attending this Bible study. Since Miguel and I have been making an effort to spend more time with Spanish-speaking folks instead of just staying within our mission community, I am very excited about this! Anyway, the book that we studied this year was A Woman After God's Own Heart, although I missed about half of the chapters due to joining the study late. So I bought an English copy of the book and have been reading through to catch up on what I missed.
One of the very first chapters is titled A Heart Abiding in God's Word with the Scripture reference being Jeremiah 17:7-8...
7 But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."
I loved this chapter...here are some of the highlights...Drawing Life from God's Word...and that's where the reference to roots comes in...our spiritual roots. "Roots make all the difference in the health of a plant, and their presence or absence ultimately becomes known to all. The plant either flourishes or fails, thrives or dies, blossoms or withers. The health of anything--whether a garden plant or a heart devoted to God--reflects what is going on (or not going on!) underground."
Roots are for taking in...when we spend time with Christ, He supplies us with strength and encourages us in the pursuit of His ways.
The Great Exchange
Away from the world and
hidden from public view,
my weariness for His strength,
my weakness for His power,
my darkness for His light,
my problems for His solutions,
my burdens for His freedom,
my frustrations for His peace,
my turmoil for His calm,
my hopes for His promises,
my afflictions for His balm of comfort,
my questions for His answers,
my confusion for His knowledge,
my doubt for His assurance,
my nothingness for His awesomeness,
the temporal for the eternal,
and the impossible for the possible.
Roots are for storage...As you and I regularly draw needed refreshment from God's Word, He creates in us a reservoir of hope and strength in Him. Then, when times are rough, we won't be depleted. We won't dry up, disintegrate or die. We won't run out of gas, collapse, exhaust, or give out. Instead, we will simply reach down into our hidden resevoir of refreshment and draw out what we need right now from what God has given us. We will be able to go from "strength to strength" (Ps. 84:7).
Roots are for support...Without a network of strong roots, sooner or later we have to be staked up, tied up, propped up, straightened up--until the next wind comes along and we fall over again. But with firm, healthy roots, no wind can blow us down.
Yes, but how?
1. Develop the habit of drawing near to God...routine, regular exposure to God's Word
2. Design a personal time for drawing near to God...when, where, what aids...
3. Dream of being a woman after God's own heart...describe the woman you want to be spiritually in one year...ten years...
My mom actually gave me a copy of this book several years ago, but I don't think that I was ready at that point to apply it to my life. And God is good to bring it to me now, knowing that the time is right for me to listen. I have always spent some time in the Word through quiet times, but I don't think that I have ever made a serious commitment to daily drawing from God's Word or to strengthening my spiritual root system. So I have made a commitment that during the next year I will focus on creating a habit of drawing near to God and building up my roots. It was exciting to share this focus with Miguel because not only will it benefit him and the family, this will benefit our future ministry as well since I will be much better prepared for whatever God has for us!