In Part 1 in this Truth Tree series we explained the meaning of deep roots. In this post (Part 2), we will introduce Shallow Roots and their spiritual meaning.
It’s a Spiritual Tree
If you will remember, the Truth Tree is comprised of these parts from above ground to below ground. Each has a spiritual meaning. Each will be discussed in this Truth Tree series:
- The Fruit [spiritual meaning]
- The Branches [spiritual meaning]
- The Trunk Base [spiritual meaning]
- Shallow Roots [spiritual meaning]
- Deep Roots [Faith in the Divine Nature of God]
Today we will reveal and discuss the spiritual meaning of the shallow roots of truth. First, some metaphorical characteristics of shallow roots to ponder:
- Shallow roots are the thicker and inner roots that are connected to the trunk just below ground.
- They are connected to the deep roots and store air, water, and nutrients from the soil and, when needed, move them up into the leaves where they can interact with sunlight to produce sugars and energy for the plant.
- Roots are responsible for vegetative reproduction and competition with other plants for air, water and nutrients.
- Shallow roots provide strong anchors needed to keep a tree in place when the tree above ground is exposed to high winds and other natural disasters that try to uproot the tree.
Shallow roots are equally as responsible as deep roots for the health of a tree. So it is with our spiritual and metaphorical Truth Tree–in order to produce the desired righteous fruits, we have to build on a healthy foundation of roots both shallow and deep. The spiritual meaning of the shallow roots is:
Faith in the Divine Role of Jesus Christ
The importance of this spiritual meaning is simple–“Everything is possible because of the Savior, Jesus Christ.” The Lord said:
(John 14:6) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
(Alma 38:9) “I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.”
Joseph Smith in Lectures on Faith said:
“1 Having shown in the third lecture, that correct ideas of the character of God are necessary in order to the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation, and that without correct ideas of his character, the minds of men could not have sufficient power with God to the exercise of faith necessary to the enjoyment of eternal life, and that correct ideas of his character lay a foundation as far as his character is concerned, for the exercise of faith, so as to enjoy the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ, even that of eternal glory; we shall now proceed to show the connection there is between correct ideas of the attributes of God, and the exercise of faith in him unto eternal life.
“2 Let us here observe, that the real design which the God of heaven had in view in making the human family acquainted with his attributes, was, that they through the ideas of the existence of his attributes, might be enabled to exercise faith in him, and through the exercise of faith in him, might obtain eternal life. For without the idea of the existence of the attributes which belong to God, the minds of men could not have power to exercise faith on him so as to lay hold upon eternal life. The God of heaven understanding most perfectly the constitution of human nature, and the weakness of man, knew what was necessary to be revealed, and what ideas must be planted in their minds in order that they might be enabled to exercise faith in him unto eternal life” (Lectures on Faith, Lecture Fourth).
It is notable here that each person starts out being asked to simply have “faith” that Jesus Christ did in reality fulfill this unique role. But you are not left to have “blind faith.” This is the reason that God has commanded people from Adam to today to share their witness (vision, first-hand) of the Savior fulfilling the atonement. In addition, God offers the Gifts of every kind (including revelation, discernment, believing on the word, etc.) to enable mankind to receive truth (see also Sections 13-13.4 of What is Truth).
Also, when you are received into the presence of the Son and become a witness of Him, your “faith” in the fulfillment of His divine role will be “made sure.”
Three Essential Characteristics of the Divine Role of Jesus Christ
By now you should know that without understanding the divine nature (character, attributes) we cannot correctly see our Lord, Jesus Christ, for who He is–which correctly described, “He is love.” And without fully embracing who He is, we cannot correctly have faith in Him. And without faith in Him, we cannot receive salvation and eternal life (Doctrine of Christ) from Him.
In order to have a healthy Truth Tree you need to know (through personal revelation) that each of these three characteristics are absolutely true. If you question or doubt any of these five characteristics you will struggle to properly feed and provide a sufficient anchor to the rest of your Truth Tree. And when the spiritual storms (opposition) come, which inevitably will happen, it will up-root your tree or it will naturally die from within.
It is important to understand that if the Savior, for any reason, is not the fulfillment of these three things then the proxy sacrifice of the atonement is null and void. There was not a “plan B.” Everything would be for not and there would never be any personal “works” or “deeds” that would ever be sufficient for exaltation and eternal life. Everything, and I mean everything, was dependent upon the Savior’s sacrificing His personal will (broken heart and contrite spirit) and exercising personal faith in the Father to be able to overcome the temptations of the adversary.
(1) Jesus Christ was PERFECT—His temptations and trials both equaled and exceeded ours, yet He remained true and faithful. He can empathize perfectly with our temptations and the challenges of our mortality–every one and in every way. (Alma 42:15; JST, Hebrews 7:25–26; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Colossians 1:20-22)
(2) Jesus Christ was the ONLY BEGOTTEN—While the rest of us are born or a mortal mother and mortal father, Jesus Christ is very unique. He was born of a mortal mother (inheriting a mortal body) and immortal Father (inheriting a mission, divine power to resurrect). Through his mortal body, He experienced all physical pain, heartache, joy, emotions and sensations just as each of us have or will experience. As a result, He can empathize perfectly with our mortal experience. (1 Jn. 4:9; D&C 49:5; John 1:14; Topical Guide Jesus Christ, Only Begotten)
(3) Jesus Christ was WILLING—Never at any moment could He be forced or compelled. He was always using His own gift from God (His free will) to choose whether He would do the will of The Father. (John 6:38-39; Galatians 1:4; 3 Nephi 11:11,31-32,35-36)
- Do you really believe that He can empathize perfectly with your temptations and the challenges of your mortality–every one and in every way?
- Do you really believe that because He was able to overcome all things that you also are able to overcome all things?
- Do you really believe that He empathizes perfectly with our complete mortality?
- Do you really believe that you can take your trials to Him and lay your burdens upon Him and that He can and will help you through them?
- Which one of these three divine characteristics do you have in common with the Savior? Why not the other two?
Because of the Savior’s fulfillment of these three essential characteristics, Jesus Christ is the literal embodiment of every righteous principle and gift.
Now, do you really have faith in the divine role of Jesus Christ?
Personal P. O. W. E. R. For Your Mission
To help you understand how the Savior, Jesus Christ, can offer you help to receive eternal life, I would like to offer you an acronym. Each letter in the word “POWER” represents something necessary for you to receive eternal life.
The first three letters we already discussed:
- P erfect
- O nly Begotten
- W illing
These first three letters represent things that you could not do for yourself. They required a personal Savior to fulfill. This makes you eternally dependent upon Him. He fulfilled all three because “He is love.”
The last two letters represent your portion of the covenant for eternal life. These are things that you must do in order to fulfill your personal journey to eternal life.
- E xercise your personal free will (without being compelled) to develop a broken heart and contrite spirit. (3 Nephi 12:19-20,23-24; 9:20; Moroni 6:2; D&C 59:8; Ether 4:15; 2 Nephi 2:7; Mormon 2:14)
- R epent, be baptized in His name and come unto Christ (fulfill His doctrine).
There is no way to fulfill His doctrine alone. In order to receive the transformational “POWER” necessary to receive eternal life, it requires the absolute fulfillment of a loving Savior (P, O, W) combined with your offering a sufficient sacrifice (E, R).
In Part 3 of this series, you will discover the spiritual meaning of the “tree trunk.”
JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org is based on complimentary, online Study Guides to help you learn, believe, live and teach the Doctrine of Christ. The Study Guides invite any and all to see and know this truth for themselves that the Savior, Jesus Christ, has in fact introduced His doctrine and He personally invites all to literally receive Him while in the flesh (mortality).
Blog posts are intended to supplement the Study Guides. Per all blog posts, seek the understanding and confirmations from the Lord in your own personal revelation. Study guides are intended to point you to both the Lord’s written word and His voice (personal revelation). These study guides will help you uncover what the Doctrine of Christ is and other essential topics that will help you in your journey to come into His presence while in mortality. All study guides are available at http://www.JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org