The Root of the Righteous
… a synopsis of A. W. Tozer’s writing
We have often heard the riddle, “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?” Perhaps analogous to this enigma is the question, what is more important, the root or the fruit? Inasmuch as the fruit bears the seeds for the propagation of similar plants, what then, is the significance of the root, that structure which is oftentimes beneath the ground, hidden from plain sight?
In applying this analogy to the cultivation of our Christian faith, it seems that in modern times, many are enamored with outward appearances, with the fruit of the tree, whereas in the olden days, our fathers were more concerned with the root of the matter. “Our fathers looked well to the root of the tree and were willing to wait with patience for the fruit to appear. We demand the fruit immediately even though the root may be weak and knobby or missing altogether.” (1)
God’s Word tells us that “the root of the righteous yields fruit” (Proverbs 12:12). The fruit springs from the root, for the root is the source of sustenance and growth. Listen to the lament of a few righteous men, that much that passes for Christianity today is the “brief bright effort of the severed branch to bring forth its fruit in its season.” But the laws of life and nature are against it. There is no lasting fruit and viable growth apart from the root.
We must consider the root first; we must go back to the grass roots: to open our hearts and search the Scriptures; to bear our cross, follow our Lord, and pay no heed to every passing and momentary religious vogue.
How do we cultivate the root?
One way is that we must give time to God. One of the most persistent problems found among Christians is retarded spiritual progress. Many find themselves no further along than when they first came into the faith. There are many explanations to this, but there is one universal reason that may easily be the main cause: the failure to find time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God.
The distractions of the age have never been more bewildering than in the present time, with the overwhelming advance of technology, and the introduction of props and paraphernalia to amuse and entertain: that sweep the human mind and soul out of the place of communion with God. But if we are wise, we will resolutely put these aside and make room for the King, and take the time to entertain Him. We can neglect certain things with minimal loss, but to neglect communion with God comes at a very high cost, at the peril of the well-being of our very own souls.
We must give time to God.
Reference: A. W. Tozer, “The Root of the Righteous”, Wing Spread Publishers, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, 2006, pp. 3-9. Footnote: Ibid., p. 3.