Psalms 92 : 12 - 15, The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. NKJV
Ephesians 4 : 11 - 15, And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ... NKJV
Paul tells us that Satan can appear as an angel of light in order to deceive people. You will know when something or someone is having an influence in your life if something happens or is said that forces you to make a decision. However, ask yourself one question before you decide. "Will this decision draw me closer to Christ or move me away from Christ?" We're told in Proverbs to guard our hearts with all diligence. Satan loves to use people and situations to test our "root system." If we don't know what the Lord's will and purpose for our lives are, or we don't know what the Word of God says about such decisions, then we leave ourselves prey to be deceived and led astray.
Young trees have "root balls" that pull nourishment from the earth beneath them. Large trees will have roots that grow at least to the edge of its longest limbs. The roots that are buried deep in the earth do more than provide the nutrients; they also keep it from being moved in a wind storm. Paul teaches us that Christians have been planted in Christ and placed under the leadership of His church for their spiritual growth and protection. The Lord has provided a safe place for believers to come and thrive so that they can become strong enough to withstand the temptations and the lies of the enemy out in the world. Paul uses the term "wind of doctrine" in his writings. This suggests that Satan's lies and/or man's lies will try to sway or move us away from the safety of God's covering. Even so, we must remain planted in Christ.
Our heavenly Father has placed us in Christ just like He placed trees in the earth so that we might grow up in Him and live a life of abundance. Since we're in this world, but not of the world because we're in Christ, then we will be able to produce spiritual fruit; we should not produce works of the flesh in our walk with Christ. Throughout the Bible, we're instructed to dwell in the house of the Lord and to partake of His goodness, not of the world's sinful pleasures, in order that we might grow up. If we struggle to develop a "taste" for the Lord, we will fail to see His goodness, will remain weak and vulnerable to the doctrines of men, and will be swayed from the truth.
There is one final thought I want to share with you that is the very key to your spiritual growth and protection. Satan loves to prey on people who rely on their intuition or "gut instincts" when it comes to discerning people's motives and agendas. Guarding our hearts might protect us from people we don't trust. However, Jesus was betrayed and denied by those who were closest to Him. Therefore, we must invest time in God's presence and in His Word so that He might protect and keep us from greedy or vile people whose only motive is to rob us of our peace and faith in Christ.
Buried in Christ,
Pastor Asa Dockery