Living Like a Tree not a Shrub

Thus says the Lord:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:5-8

I don’t know about you but I want to be a tree and not a shrub. I want my leaves (life) to be green and I want to produce fruit. Being a shrub in the desert, dwelling in parched places doesn’t sound real nice to me.

In our last blog we talked about abiding in God and being “stuck” to him. Living out John 15:4. As I have thought about this principle on a day-to-day basis I have come to realize that in order to abide we must also have a deep trust. Why would I spend time (abide) with someone I don’t trust?

In order to be that tree described above I know I need to trust God, and to do it daily.

So what does that look like? Here are four thoughts about trusting God daily:

  1. Obedience to the Word of God:  Don’t just read the Bible to read it, seek to apply it. “Trust and obey” always seem to be grouped together and I think that is for good reason.  Psalms 56:4 says: “The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Read through the fruits of the spirit in Gal. 5:22-23. Where do you need improvement? Ask God for more kindness or self control and take a moment to evaluate what that looks like applied in your day.
  2. Patience:  I am not good at being patient. Over this past holiday season I waited in several long lines, followed many slow cars through yellow stoplights and grumbled about disappearing parking spaces. But those are just temporary obstacles. What about waiting for a job change or praying for improved health or increased opportunities. Either way, taking matters into our own hands is never a good choice.  We must learn to be patient in our waiting. (1 Sam 13:8-15) God has not forgotten us!  What life obstacles are you waiting for this year? How patient are you?
  3. Prayer: Prayer is the language of trust and dependence. We are called to lay our burdens upon Jesus and trust him in him. (1 Pet. 5:7) Daily I need to be a person of prayer that continually asks God to lead me and guide me. Acting in prayer not only focuses my attention on God but re-enforces my fragility and need for his wisdom. Prayer builds dependence. Who in your family or circle could use a friend dedicated to pray for them? What burdens do you need to let go of and cast upon God?
  4. Courage and bravery: Stepping out to love someone unalike yourself. Risking to begin a conversation with someone who believes very differently. Standing up for your faith in light of criticism. Courage reflects trust in God. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4) Many times my fear of others opinions change how I react or the decisions I make. Where could you use more boldness? What lifestyle choices could use a courage pick-me-up?

Trusting in God is not a magic bullet that removes all fears and difficult circumstances but I believe it is a formula for joy. When a life is aligned with God’s perspective I believe it will be much freer, fuller and more fruitful; like a tree planted by the water. Join me in trying to live in deeper trust and dependence of God this year.

Image courtesy of Drew Bandy /
By | 2015-01-12T14:26:19+00:00 January 12th, 2015|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

About the Author:

John Warden is Reconciled World’s global staff pastor and the facilitator for 2:10. He holds a Masters of Religion from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has more than fifteen years of ministry experience. He lives in Sioux Falls, SD with his wife and two daughters. You can contact him directly at

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