Jentezen Franklin - Choosing To Grow Up
There is something that makes a plant grow. I'm not a botanist, but if you look it up, there's something in every plant life, whether it's a tree, a flower, a bush. It has something called meristem. The meristem, or the meristem line. And it's where the plant takes in, a certain spot on that plant where all the nutrients that the plant takes in - When it breaks out of the seed and comes up above earth. The meristem line on every living tree or plant is at the base of that tree, where it goes into the ground. And it receives the nutrients, divides parts of those nutrients, and causes part of the tree to grow up.
And it says to other nutrients... I don't know how it does it, but it says you'll go down, and if you look well enough, you can see it. Sometimes, it looks like a knot. Sometimes, it's a different color in the tree, if you were to cut the tree down, and look at the bark. You would see this different colored line that goes through it. It's where a decision is made. The particular spot in the plant, where the plant takes what it's given, and determines that I'm going to use this that I'm being given to cause this to go down or go up. To cause you to go high, or go low. But the decision is made at the meristem line.
What's interesting about it is it's similar to cells in our body. The body basically makes decisions from the cells and the nutrients that it's receiving from its mother, the nutrients. Coming to the infant's body, a decision is made. You would make a good heart cell. And at the stem cell line for the body, you would make a good eye cell. You would make a good ear cell. And they said that the cells that don't get identified can become dangerous cells, and actually unidentified cells can sometimes multiply into bad cells.
Now, it's what's coming in and that can cause cancer if it's not sent and put in the right place. So what I want you to understand is simply this, it's how the body handles what it's given. It's how the plant handles what it's given that determines if it's good or if it's bad. There is a decision that is made. It doesn't have a lot to say about what nutrients it's given, but it decides. You would make, you would do good, I'm going to let you take me up, or I'm going to let you go down. I'm going to let you take me high, or I'm going to let you take me low. And the tree makes that decision at the meristem line. The body makes that decision at the stem cell line. And it's an amazing thing.
And when you think about it, 2 Corinthians 2:16 said that the gospel that is preached is a saver of life unto some, and a saver of death unto others. In other words, some people can hear the gospel, and take in life, and their family is blessed, and they grow, and they get strong in the Lord, and there are people under the sound of my voice this morning who will hear the same gospel, and it does nothing for them.
It's possible that there are people who are going through hard circumstances right now, and I've seen this, I've pastored a long time, and I've watched people go through similar circumstances, where there's bereavement of the loss of a child, or a husband, or a wife, or cancer diagnosis, or some tragedy that happens. They go through hard circumstances, and what is amazing is that some people get bitter from it, and some people get better from it, but it's all according to what they do with what they take in. You can't choose everything life will give you, but what I'm saying to you is simply this. It's not what happens to me, it's what happens in me that makes the difference. You're going to do something with the trials you're going through, and they can either take you up, or they can take you down. They can either cause you to bear fruit upward as Isaiah said, or they can cause you to have roots that go downward, and Hebrews 12 talks about the root of bitterness.
And there's a lot of people, when something happens in their life, instead of letting it take them upward and bear fruit, and letting that, even though you wouldn't choose that trial, you wouldn't ask for that trial, since that's what life is giving you and God is allowing, you have to make a decision at the spiritual meristem line of your soul, I'm either going to let this take me up, or take me down. It's either going to make me better, or it's going to make me bitter, and I make the choice. Not God. I do. Problems are going to come. It's what your attitude is. What are you going to do with what life gives you?
A lot of people go to church, but that doesn't mean you're going to get anything out of it. What are you going to do with what life gives you? Where are you going to send it? Are you going to let it make you better, or are you going to let it make you worse? You'll have 10.000 chances to get bitter in life. Somebody will hurt you. Something will happen. Some disappointment will take place. Some injustice. Something will happen in your life, and you either, at that moment, at the spiritual meristem line of your soul, you make a decision. I am not going to let this grow a root of bitterness, and Hebrews said, by the way, that out of that root of bitterness, you defile many.
It doesn't just affect you when you get bitter, not just at people, but at God, when something happens, a car wreck, or some tragedy, and someone is taken, or some bad, it's easy to let a root of bitterness, and it can take you down, or that, I've seen the same, I've seen people go through almost the exact same thing, and instead of taking 'em down into roots of bitterness, they bear fruit upward. They grow more. They go deeper in God. Are you going to let it become a bad cancer cell to your soul, or you can take that same circumstance, and say, "You'd make a mighty good heart cell". And you decide if it becomes a good heart cell or if it becomes a spiritual cancer cell to your soul. You decide.
I'm saying to you today that God said to the tribe of Judah, the Assyrians are coming. And you are going to see them decimate My people, and this nation. He said but there's going to be a remnant, and out of that remnant, in Isaiah 34, out of that remnant will come fruit that will take you upward and roots that will take you downward. There is a place in our soul, a spiritual meristem line, that whatever's going on, you can use it to cause you to grow bitter, or you can produce the fruits of the spirit.
Galatians 5:22. He said fruit that grows upward, that bears fruit upward, Galatians 5:22. What fruit is that? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control. God says if you will allow the trials, if you will allow what life gives you, I will not let you just go through it, and gain nothing from it. But out of it will come the, if you let it, it'll take you up. And instead of getting bitter and hateful and cynical and offended, you can let it take you up, and produce love. The fruits of the Spirit. Joy, peace, kindness. I shouldn't bless you because you said something that hurt me, but I'm not going to let it take me down, I'm going to let it take me up. And I'm going to produce the fruits of the Spirit.
There's a place in God where we're supposed to do that. What you see above the ground is what we love, but what happens underneath the ground is what determines what happens above the ground. If your root system is going down, it's a matter of time before your fruit system starts bearing fruit up. You know that it takes 1.000 hours of cold weather for a peach tree to bear fruit? And the reason that we have peach trees in Georgia, but they don't have 'em in a lot of other places, is because there's too much sunshine and warm days. In order to produce the fruit of peach, you have to have at least 1.000 hours of cold weather.
Are you still interested in bearing fruit? Then the Holy Spirit comes along and says, "Then there are going to have to be some cold days". It's not enough just to come to church and have blessing, blessing, blessing, blessing. But God will allow into your life cold days, too. But it's out of the cold days that we bear fruit upward. You know what this is? This is not plastic. This is a real tree. Did you know you can take any tree, and you can turn it into a bonsai tree? You can take it, this could be an oak tree, this could be a pine tree. All you have to do, what they do is they let it be birthed. It starts growing at the meristem line.
There's cells that are being sent, nutrients that are being sent up. Nutrients that are being sent down, and it's growing in two ways. But what they do is at a certain point, they take it out of the box, and they take some shears, and they take it, and they cut the roots. And then, they put it back in the box, and they keep trimming those roots for awhile, until it just goes so high and it doesn't grow anymore. The bonsai tree is important, because it doesn't die. It's not that you're not saved. It just never grows. It never gets bigger. It just stays tiny and dwarfed. Because Satan just comes along and trims those roots. And keeps you where you are, and you never grow. You never get into your own walk with God, and all you are is you're going to heaven, but man, you sure aren't fulfilling the purpose. God didn't give you life to be a bonsai tree.
Psalm 92 said they that are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish in the courts of our God, and they'll be like one of the cedars of Lebanon. This could speak of your relationship with God. You got born again, I'm so glad you did. But this is not the end of your Christian walk. Jesus didn't bleed and die so that you could just be saved, and never produce fruit, and never have roots of prayer, and it's the unseen part of our life that produces the outward fruit of our life.
Do you have a prayer life? Do you have a word life? Do you have something in you that's going, when we're not together, that's not seen. The secret to a tall tree is the unseen roots. And He said, "Judah, you're going to go through something". And when life gives you trouble, and life gives you trials, you can either let it drive you down, or you can let it take you up, and bear fruit. But it's not God's decision, it's yours. I wish you wouldn't have gotten the report. I wish it wouldn't have happened to your family. But what are you going to do with it, since that's part of life?
As you have to say, "I'm not going to grow roots of bitterness, but out of this, God's going to make me more like Jesus, 'cause Jesus is the epitome of the fruits of the Spirit". When they beat Him, when they attacked Him, He just turns around and, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do". The devil's got a lot of shears. He's got a lot of scissors. And he'll stop you from growing, and bearing fruit upward, if he can cut you off from your roots. Whatever life sends you, listen to me now. When it arrives at your spiritual meristem line, somewhere deep inside of your soul, when something happens that you weren't planning on, you have to make a decision. This is not taking me down. I'll go through it. God allowed it. And I'll let the Holy Spirit take it, and produce in me, through the cold days, fruit that I can't get any other way.
Let it develop you. Bear fruit, become stronger. Don't get offended. What I'm saying to you is it's all in how you respond. There are two marks of a great person, always. Two marks of a great person. Number one, they give. They're givers. I've never met a person who was great who was not a giver. They're just a giver. They just give love, they just give kindness, they just give resources. They're a giver. If you want to be great, there's two marks of a great person. They give, and they forgive. The only way you'll reach greatness in the kingdom is if you give and you give and you give, not just to the people who do you good, but even to your enemies, even to those that you could crush, you give. And you forgive.
That's the marks of greatness. It's my attitude. It's my attitude. Not my achievements that give me happiness. It's my attitude. I can take the same sun that melts butter, hardens clay. And I can either get hardened, or I can get softened, tender, bear fruit. Love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, patience, long suffering. Or I can get offended, and mean, and angry, and mad, and go around like a victim all the time, and it's the same thing. Two people going through the same thing, and one gets better, and one gets bitter. And it all happens at that spiritual meristem line, where somebody says, "I didn't ask for this". But I like what Paul said. He said, "But these light afflictions are but for a moment. They work in us an exceeding, far, great, and eternal weight of glory".
Let me finish this message, but listen. Ephesians 3:17. "That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith". Listen. "That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and the length and the depth", there's your roots downward. "And the height," there's your fruit upward. "Of all the fullness of God," what the love of Christ is. And to that person, Ephesians 3:20 says: "Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think, according to the power that works," where? You mean God's exceeding power is waiting on the decision that I make at my spiritual meristem line?
And when I decide with the right attitude what I'm going through is not going to take me down, it's going to take me up, I'm not just going to grow roots of rejection and roots of offense and roots of, you know, just upset and roots that make me hate God, and bitter against God. A root of bitterness. I'm not going to be bitter against people, but I'm going to bear fruit upward. He says, "I'll do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or think, according to the power that works in you". What you're going through right now will either take you up or take you down. The trial your marriage is going through right now, it can take your marriage down, or it can take it up.
And God's word to you today is you're not going to grow if you allow the enemy to do what he wants to do through your trials, but when you submit to God and say, "Lord, I'm Yours". He said you will grow roots downward, that's like the tree planted by the rivers of water. It will not be moved, and you'll bear fruit upward. And I thought about the family tree. What's your family tree of faith like? The enemy wants you to be saved, and none of your children to be connected to your salvation. But when you allow it, Jesus will take your roots downward, and your fruit upward. And when He does, it will not just affect one generation, but it will affect your children, and your children's children, and your children's children. Hallelujah.
How many of you believe that? I want you, right now, before we do anything else, to lift up both hands toward heaven, and I want you to say, "Lord, the stuff that's coming at me, I'm going to make a decision. I'm going to have this attitude, that it's not going to take me down. I'm going to bear fruit upward. It's going to cause me to go higher. If I've got deep roots, it's only because I'm going higher in fruit". In Jesus' name.
There is no doubt in my mind that I'm talking to people right now that you never dreamed you would be where you are, going through what you're going through. And this is a word in season for your life. It doesn't have to take you into bitterness, anger, but the same situation that causes one to go one direction down, can cause the same person or another person to go straight up and bear fruit. I'm saying to you that Romans 8 said all things work together for the good, to them that are called according to His purpose.
"Pastor, pray for me. I would like to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior". I won't embarrass you. I'm going to pray for you. But He never comes where He's not invited. "Pray for me, Pastor". I want to see your hand if that's you. Here in this room, up in the balcony, in the overflow, raise it high. "Pastor, I want to receive Jesus as my Savior. I want to be forgiven. I want to be cleansed".
That's awesome. I see those precious hands. Every one of you that raised your hand, slip right out of your seat, don't talk yourself out of it. You can bring a friend if you want, but get out of your seat, and come stand. I'm going to pray a prayer with you. No one moving. Come on. They're coming. Clap your hands. Chains are breaking. Prison doors are opening. Victory is being declared over people's lives. You don't have to live in that addiction. You don't have to live in the past. You don't have to see your life decimated by the enemy. There's a remnant that will grow roots downward, and bear fruit upward. Anyone else? Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Everybody, let's pray this prayer together. Are you ready? Those of you who have come forward, say these words.
Lord Jesus, I surrender my life to You. I believe when You died on the cross, Your blood was precious blood. It cleanses me from all sin. I receive that forgiveness. I don't earn it. I don't deserve it. I just receive it. And that's Your gift to me. I am forgiven. I am loved. I am chosen. And I will grow upward, and bear fruit. People will see Jesus on the outside, because I've got roots that are unseen on the inside. Thank You, Lord, that You give me life and You give me forgiveness. From this day forward, I belong to You.