Focus on the Roots, not the Fruit!

by Ron Jenson

In reading AW Tozer’s Root of Righteousness today, I was moved again by these words:

Men do not gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles. The fruit of a free is determined by the tree, and the fruit of life by the kind of life it is. What a man is interested in to the point of absorption both decides and reveals what kind of man he is; and the kind of man he is by a secret law of the soul decides the kind of fruit he will bear. The catch is that we are often unable to discover the true quality of our fruit until it is too late.

Think about this…our fruit is what we ARE. Our depth of success, fulfillment, impact, significance and abundant living (John 10:10) is in direct proportion to what Tozer calls the secret law of the soul – our character.

And, according to Tozer (my bullet summary) we need to do the following.

  1. Focus on the Roots (those important principles and habits you can develop) not the Fruit! Emphasize those things that are truly important. Tozer calls this the “power of affinity” when he says By affinity I mean the sympathetic attraction which certain things and persons have for us. The human heart is extremely sensitive and altogether capable of setting up an inward relationship with objects far removed and forbidden. As the needle of the compass has an affinity for the north magnetic pole, so the heart can keep true to its secret love though separated from it by miles and years. What that loved object is may be discovered by observing which direction our thoughts turn when they are released from the hard restraints of work or study. Of what do we think when we are free to think of what we will? What object gives us inward pleasure as we brood over it? Over what do we muse in our free moments? To what does our imagination return again and again?
  2. Watch your mood. Mood is mental weather. It is internal climate and it must be favorable to the growth of spiritual graces or they will not appear in the soul. The person who allows day after day a chilly climate to prevail in his heart can’t expect spiritual blessing.!
  3. Spend time in God’s Presence. One swallow does not make a spring, nor one hot day a summer; nor will a few minutes of frantic praying before service bring out the tender buds or make the flowers to appear on the earth. The field must be soaked in sunshine over a long period before it will give forth its treasures. A person’s heart must be soaked in prayer before the true spiritual fruits begin to grow. As the field has learned to live intimately and sympathetically with the rain and the sunshine, so must you learn to live with God.

So what is your experience? How have you seen fruit flow from character?

{ 2 comments }

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