Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. Isaiah 53:1,2
The sight of those trees standing defiant in such a hostile environment branded itself on my mind as though with a hot iron. I never forgot that scene. In fact, it was the most powerful scene on my mind from that point onwards. And to this day, it is still as powerful as it was on that day.
It reminded me with a clarity that I could not deny about our life as believers in this world. It is a tough, hostile environment indeed that we are called to bloom in. That is why the word “root” in the scripture above is so important. It talks about the strong, spiritual foundation that we need to have in order to not only survive but to thrive as a “tender shoot” in this world.
We are to be people who are full of tenderness, compassion, grace and mercy even in an environment that is not conducive for the ‘growth’ of such things.
The “root” mentioned here is the foundation for the church, which very thing concerned Apostle Paul more than anything else during his ministry. He made it clear what the true foundation was: it is the cross of Christ revealed in our hearts.
Without our dying on the cross and crucifying our flesh and its desires thereon, we cannot survive nor thrive spiritually; we shall perish. The enemy is just too strong for any other path that we would choose to take apart from taking up our cross and following Jesus.
The materialistic gospel of prosperity that is so popular today negates the very spirit of the above scripture! It is not a gospel that accepts suffering with Christ easily, nor walking the narrow road. Any gospel that does not teach that we ought to die with Christ is a gospel that advances the interests of the flesh above the interests of the Spirit. The revelation that we find in the scripture above condemns any gospel that is preached that does not teach God’s people to take up their cross and follow Christ.
Let no one try to tell you that salvation is a breeze. If we are truly serious about our salvation, we shall not underestimate our battleground. On the contrary, we shall put on the full armor of God, so that we may stand victorious.