One thing that I have begun to learn lately is how little we actually trust in the sovereignty and sufficiency of the Lord. We may say that we believe He always provides, we may claim to trust that His ways are the best ways, but our actions sing a different song. Our actions say that we trust in ourselves more, that we are better gods that God is. Jeremiah 17 speaks to this, verse 5 and following says:
5 Thus says the LORD:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 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.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
8 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.”
9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
10 “I the LORD search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”
The man who trusts in himself, who turns away from the Lord, is cursed, God says. He will be like a desert shrub, and the fruit that he bears will reflect that. He will be dry and lifeless, concerned with only himself and useless to everyone else. But, the one who puts their trust in the Lord will never dry out. He will abound in good fruit because his roots will be saturated with the nourishing waters of the streams of God, His Word and His Spirit.
Verses 9 and 10 are normally taken as independent from this section of scripture, but they complete the passage. You see, if our hearts are wicked and filled with sickness, what good would it do to trust in our own flesh? If our hearts are sick, our flesh will be sick and the fruit of sickness is death and decay. That is our reward if we trust in ourselves. But, if the Lord searches our minds and hearts and discovers that we have placed our trust in Him, we will receive the reward of a life lived in submission to and reliance upon God. The fruit of trust in the Lord is life everlasting and abundant, free from death and sin, and free to glory in the presence of Our God and King.
What kind of fruit are you producing? What is at the root of the tree that is your life? Do you trust in yourself? DO you trust that you have the ability to sustain your life through your own power? Or, do you plant yourself by the streams of the Lord and rest in His sustaining power to give you life and produce good fruit.
These are questions we all must ask, and they are essential to discovering what sort of life we will have, a life of worry and doubt as we wrestle under our own strength, or a life of abundance and joy as we trust in the only One who can save and sustain us.