All people are people of faith. Some of us have faith in God. Some have faith in themselves and do not believe in God. Some have faith in science and nature. Others have faith in their 401k, their status, or their family. But no matter where you fall in this continuum of faith, it is my opinion that we all live by it and our lives reflect the essence of the faith we hold dear.
Tony Evans in his must-read book, The Kingdom Agenda, tells a story we should all pay attention to in regards to this issue. Here’s the gist of what he says:
A man went to the doctor because his body seemed to hurt all over. The doctor examined the man thoroughly but was very puzzled. No matter where the man would point to or wherever he touched, the doctor could never find anything out of place. Everything seemed to be fine and in good, working order. Yet, the man would point and touch different parts of his body and would always feel pain. After much head-scratching and probing, this wise doctor eventually discovered what was going on. What he soon realized was that the real problem that was causing this man so much pain was that he had a dislocated finger. Therefore, everywhere and everything he touched would always hurt because he pointed to it with his dislocated finger.
The point: If we hope to thrive in any area of our lives, we must first discover what the REAL PROBLEM is before we can accurately diagnose and treat the symptoms.
So what is the root problem in most of our lives? It begins and ends with faith.
Let me explain.
Faith and Fruit
If you’re ever in an orchard or vineyard, you never have to wonder what sort of fruit tree you are looking at. You may not be able to tell by the bark or the leaves or the structure of the tree. But you can look at the fruit of the tree and know exactly what it is. The fruit of a tree reflects what it is made of at the root level. In other words, if the roots were that of an apple tree, you could expect the fruit of that root to produce apples. The same is true of any root and any tree. The root will always produce the fruit according to its nature.
This is true in all of life and is crucial to understand as it relates to wanting to help people ‘Thrivfe at Life’ (the point and essence of this entire blog).
So this, then, is the critical question: What is the root of your life? Or…What are you putting your faith in?
If you’re not sure, just look at the fruit of your life and you will see more clearly. Do you see the fruit of joy? How about the fruit of selfishness or greed? Is the fruit of your life self-gratification or service to others? It’s important to be honest with yourself about this. When you see the evidence of fruit – you must consider the roots that are planted.
This is why faith is so important.
Faith is the root of our lives and, as I mentioned already, I believe that each one of us lives by faith in something. We see the world in a certain way and respond and live according to what we believe to be true. For example, if our view of the world is that we live and die and that there is no greater meaning to it than our own personal happiness, then the fruit of our lives will reflect this faith.
No matter what you say or what you believe, the fruit will make your faith evident. This is why we all despise hypocrites. We can’t stand people who say one thing (“I believe!”) but see no evidence (fruit) of their faith lived out.
My personal faith is based on evidence that I see all around me. It screams of a Creator that has ordered our universe. I see evidence of a God that has made people in His image and this truth, I believe, gives each one of us (even those who think my faith is crazy!) dignity, value, and makes them worthy of love and respect.
My faith is grounded on this belief and, although I am FAR from where I want or need to be, I find the fruit of my faith growing in me and producing more kindness, gentleness, humility, self-control, patience, mercy, grace, and love for my fellow sojourners.
In the end, the fruit of our lives ought to be marked by goodness like these traits. This ought to be the marks of a life well-lived. But in order for that to be true, the root itself must be good or the fruit of it will not be. This is why I caution people to consider the root of their lives. What you place your faith in matters. It is from this faith that everything in your life will be affected by and produce more of. Because like it or not, we all live by faith and we become what we plant and cultivate in our lives.
You will know them by their fruits… every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. – Jesus
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