There is a dead tree in my front yard. It was planted last year, and even though I watered it (but maybe not enough) it never took root. It is withered and totally barren. I was going to dig it up, but my wife asked me to let it stay. This has turned out to be good advice because it is a reminder of what can happen to our faith when it doesn’t take root.
I don’t know why the tree didn’t take root, if it was the soil or not getting enough nourishment. Either way, what comes to mind is the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:18-23. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in the heart…As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and then tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away…As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
In contrast to this is Psalm 1:1-3. “Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields it fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
Each Christian has a choice to either allow his or her faith to become dead or to make it productive and fruitful. Are we allowing our faith to be snatched away by Satan, compromised by trials and persecution, or drawn away by the deceitfulness of wealth? Are we associating with the ungodly and scoffers? Any of these things will result in a dying and withered faith. On the other hand, are we delighting in the Lord, seeking to understand him, and meditating on his Word? This will produce a faith that will not wither, and will bear fruit. It is important that Christians cultivate our faith on a daily basis. This includes reading the Bible, praying, associating with other believers, and living in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, how is your faith? Is it like a dead tree, or is it like a tree planted by streams of water that is attractive and fruitful? Colossians 2:6-7 says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith…” so that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”