Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Root of the Righteous

In a recent post from Aida, "Where is the still small voice,"a book from A.W. Tozer was mentioned. The book is called The Root of the Righteous. Following Aida's link to, I decided that the book was right up my alley, and I went ahead and ordered it. The book arrived promptly, and I began to read it right away.

The book isn't really divided into chapters, but into short writings, or essays by A.W. Tozer. I'll just say that a lot of the book isn't what I thought it would be and there are several things that I don't agree with in the book. But the very first section, which is self-titled (after the name of the book), really did strike me as being right up my alley!

One thing that completely revolutionized my life had to do with changing my focus in my life in Christ from the fruit to the root. So much of what you hear preached today is focused on a product, a final result. In your Christian life, you need to be like "this" or you need to conform to "that." So much focus is placed on the doing, and the results, that the root - Jesus Christ Himself - is very often missed and completely ignored. The focus of our life in Christ is... Christ... not results. Jesus said that if we abide in HIM, we will bear fruit. It's not the other way around! We have a free, loving relationship with Him, and in the long run the relationship bears good fruit. But if we remain focused on bearing fruit, oddly enough we get neither Christ nor the fruit!

Some quotes from the section of the book called The Root of the Righteous:
One marked difference between the faith of our fathers as conceived by the fathers and the same faith as understood and lived by their children is that the fathers were concerned with the root of the matter, while their present-day descendants seem concerned only with the fruit...

...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 or knobby or missing altogether...

...The bough that breaks off from the tree in a storm may bloom briefly and give to the unthinking passer-by the impression that it is a healthy and fruitful branch, but its tender blossoms will soon perish and the bough itself wither and die. There is no lasting life apart from the root...

...Preoccupation with appearances and a corresponding neglect of the out-of-sight root of the true spiritual life are prophetic signs which go unheeded. Immediate "results" are all that matter, quick proofs of present success without a thought of next week or next year. Religious pragmatism is running wild among the orthodox. Truth is whatever works. If it gets results it is good. There is but one test for the religious leader: success. Everything is forgiven him except failure...
And finally...
With a happy disregard for consistency of metaphor the Apostle Paul exhorts us to look to our sources. "Rooted and grounded in love," he says in what is obviously a confusion of figure; and again he urges his readers to be "rooted and built up in him," which envisages the Christian both as a tree to be well rooted and as a temple to rise on a solid foundation.


  1. nice one Joel....thats why in find it concerning that churches are running after empowering grace (fruit) at the expence of acceptance grace (root)....i like Robs teaching on this....

  2. Craig,

    I've seen so many examples of running after the fruit instead of talking care of the root.

    I just listened to part of one of the Rob Rufus sermons, and if I understand what he means by "acceptance grace," then that's quite up my alley. :) So many people have no clue about how by grace they are accepted in the Beloved, how they are perfected forever, how they are born again of incorruptible seed, and so on and so on. They don't really know how they are a branch, and the life that is in them is the very life of the Vine, Jesus.

    They set out to do the "do's" of the Christian life, without really knowing who they are in Christ, or who Christ is in them. They really don't "know" Jesus; they just know the do's and don'ts. They set out striving for fruit, without having a clue about the root. Anyway, this type of thinking has revolutionized my life in more way than one, and I'm always thrilled to discuss it.

  3. Joel,
    I'm sorry I haven't commented in awhile!

    Arg! I just realized today that I had actually not added this page into my Feeds. I had actually only Subscribed to a specifc post feed days ago. I'm all good now, however.

    So, I'll be playing "Catch-up" a bit on your posts. Hee hee!

    Anyways, this topic is so true. I especially like what you said here:

    "The focus of our life is Christ...not results. Jesus said that if we abide in HIM...the relationship bears good fruit. But if we remain focused on bearing fruit, oddly enough we get neither Christ nor the fruit!"