Banning Liebscher, lead pastor of Jesus Culture Sacramento, recently penned Rooted: The Hidden Places Where God Develops You. Pastor Liebscher first asserts that every follower of Jesus carries a deep desire for visible, lasting impact on the world. Yet, that desire originates not in us, but in God. As a follower of Jesus, then, your calling and destiny involve fruitfulness. But, God’s not satisfied with minimal results. Instead, He wants you to bear fruit beyond what you’re able to ask or think. In order to bear abundant fruit, though, God needs to make you bigger on the inside than on the outside. Thus, to develop roots of deep, abiding trust, God must prepare you in the soils of intimacy, serving, and community. As Banning adds, “God always develops us before He develops our vision.”
Through developing roots of deep abiding trust, God enables us to thrive. The author defines thriving as growing in wisdom, character, faith, endurance, and strength. Furthermore, Pastor Liebscher describes the three keys to thriving: (1) focus on building the wall in front of you; (2) heed an accept the lesson God’s trying to teach you in your current season – don’t rush the process; and (3) embrace being hidden. Also, you learn to thrive as God leads you into those places where you confront your deepest fears and longings. There God reveals Himself as your protector, the one who fulfills your deepest desires. Yes, following Jesus means living in over your head – all the time. And in the process, God’s always inviting, nudging, and challenging you to step into greater faith and rest. It’s the rest you enter when you understand God’s building your house – and He’ll maintain it!
As with any house, the foundation greatly affects the outcome. Therefore, it’s critical that you build a secret-place lifestyle. In your secret place, God meets you and establishes your roots. In fact, He’s waiting there for you. Also, Banning asserts, God reserves certain things found only in the inner room of prayer. When that happens, you must not only hear the Lord’s words, but carry them. Most noteworthy, speak from what God’s said, not from your feelings – they’re not rooted. In addition, lock in on what God is doing, and cling to Jesus’ example. Never resort to the world’s versions of greatness. To abide in Jesus, embrace His lifestyle of serving people. Any increased blessing helps you to better serve others.
Finally, Pastor Liebscher underscores, humility releases grace into your life. However, humility also involves setting healthy boundaries in your life and taking care of yourself. Plus, humble service connects you to something bigger than yourself. It connects you to the kingdom and body of Christ. If you humble yourself, exaltation comes from God. And you need trusted people to speak courage into your life. For discouragement is a key battle Christians face. To remain rooted in Christ, Banning asks, will you:
- let Him teach you to trust Him at all times?
- let Him plant you where He wants you?
- embrace His timeline for establishing your roots?
- put your roots deep down in the soils of intimacy, serving, and community?