I read a couple of verses of Scripture one day this past week that seemed to jump off the page. I meditated on them throughout the rest of the day and considered their application in my life. Here are the verses:
And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this. (2 Kings 19:30-31).
I would encourage you to read the chapter and get a feel for the context of what is going on in the story. God’s people are facing a tyrannical ruler (Sennacherib) who has promised their destruction and, in these verses, God promises that His remnant will survive and even thrive. He says that they will “take root downward and bear fruit upward.”
This phrase hit me like a ton of bricks. I sat back in my chair and thought, “This should be true of every believer.” We should take root downward and bear fruit upward.
But, what does this look like practically? Here are some things that came to mind as I meditated on these verses and, specifically, this phrase.
Take Root Downward
We must be connected to the vine. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). In a real sense, abiding in Christ is taking root downward. This means we must make a conscious effort, daily, to ensure that we are connected to the vine (Jesus) by spending time in God’s Word and in prayer.
We must have a marathon mindset. For some reason many of us have the mindset that spiritual growth will happen overnight. We believe that we will wake up one day and suddenly have a deep and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, we live in the world of microwave dinners, fast food, and instant oatmeal. The truth is that spiritual growth does not magically happen overnight. It takes time. We must approach the Christian life and our own spiritual growth with a marathon mindset. Day after day, month after month, and year after year of walking with the Lord, immersing ourselves in His Word, and living in obedience to His Word is needed if we are to take root downward.
Bear Fruit Upward
We were redeemed for a purpose and that is to bear fruit. Paul, after unpacking the amazing reality of salvation, wrote, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). The expectation for every believer is that he or she is bearing fruit (ie. doing what we he/she was redeemed to do). What does bearing fruit look like practically? There are several things: (1) We should be making disciples (Matthew 28:19-20), (2) The fruits of the Spirit should be evident in our lives (Galatians 5:2-23) (3) We should demonstrate love to our neighbor (Matthew 22:39, Matthew 25:35-40).
We will be known by our fruit. Jesus said that his disciples would be known by their fruit (John 15:8). How do you know if a tree is an apple tree? It produces apples. How do you know if a tree is an orange tree? It produces oranges. One of the greatest testimonies to the power of the gospel message at work in this world is for people to see it changing us! Our goal is not to live under the radar but to display gospel power and gospel change by the lives that we live.
*God’s Word is rich and His Spirit is active!