The Importance of Being an Intentional Tree This Year

By: Emily Lehner

Happy New Year! I have seen and heard many of my friends discuss how they have chosen a certain word to represent their 2017 year. Words chosen include “thrive” or “seek.” With these examples in mind, I took some time to discuss what I possibly wanted my word for this year to be. I discussed the idea with my fiance, and he came up with the word “committed.” At the time, I did not think much about it. I agreed it was a good word for more than one reason. 2017 has the chance to be a whirlwind of change, and what better to balance this season than commitment.

Scripture talks about commitment. It says to commit our ways (Psalm 37:5) and our work (Proverbs 16:3) to the Lord. 2 Timothy 4 compares commitment to running a race and stresses the importance of finishing the race. It shares how important commitment is in a relationship with Christ. I don’t think I truly had taken the time to reflect on what being committed could look like in my life.

At the beginning of one of my writing classes, my professor, Dr. Mary Trent, read Psalm 1:1-3. Verse 3 says, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruits in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” These verses talk about two things I want to highlight. The first is the importance of being planted. The second, however, is much more crucial. You not only need to be planted, but be planted near streams of water. You must be planted, or committed, to your relationship with Christ. He is the ever-flowing stream of water you need for survival.

Being committed to your relationship with Christ is like being a tree planted by water. Planting yourself by water is essential to strengthen you and help you grow closer to God. However, it isn’t always easy to live out a metaphor in your everyday life. We have to understand what it means to be committed, to give our ways and thoughts to God. Galatians 2:20 states, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Living a life for Christ looks different than living a life for the world. It is a life of seeking God’s wisdom and counsel daily.  It is disciplining your mind to recognize when you are straying and sinful and returning to God humbly in these moments. It is making time to spend with Christ in the midst of what seems to be eternal chaos and stress. This type of life is slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen to what others and God have to say (James 1:19). A committed person recognizes their gifts and decides to use them faithfully to glorify Christ.

How committed are you? Are you a tree planted by water or struggling to root yourself deeply in all God has to offer for you? I encourage you to ask yourself this question. Examine your actions and behaviors and always be seeking ways to learn more about God and all of his wonderful characteristics.


Written by Emily Lehner, writer for the Alumni Center and a sophomore Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at

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