How Deep Are Your Roots?
We had some stormy weather last night. We had lots of gusty wind that sent loose branches into the streets. It was a decent storm, but nothing spectacular, so I was surprised to see one of our trees
uprooted when I got to work this morning. As a coworker and I were
walking to the building, I made some offhanded remark about not
realizing that the wind was strong enough last night to blow over a
tree. He said that the problem was not the wind, it was the
tree...more specifically, the tree’s roots. Then he gave me a crash
course in mulching.
Mulch has some definite benefits to trees, but for the most part is
used (at least here in the south) for cosmetic reasons...and to make
yard work easier. A nice big pile of mulch will make everything look
all nice and tidy. As an added bonus, mulching gives you a nice wide
radius around which to mow. However, mulch can also cause
serious structural problems for a tree. Among other things, it can cause roots to be shallow or to even grow into the mulch rather than into the ground. Once he explained this, he laughed and said “there’s a Sunday School lesson in there somewhere”.
Actually, this is a PERFECT example of another reason we miss out on living a victorious life in Christ Jesus. If we focus on changing our
behavior so that we look all nice and tidy rather than focusing on
allowing Christ to transform our lives, we don’t develop strong
spiritual “roots”. Everything looks fine on the surface, but, like a
tree, a Christian with “shallow roots” cannot withstand strong storms.
This is not a new problem. Consider Paul’s Prayer for the church at Ephesus:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power
to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:16-18
Think back to the toppled tree I talked about earlier... yesterday,
(pre-storm) the tree looked fine. The problem with the tree’s foundation was hidden...until a storm came through. Don’t stop
there...stay with me for just another minute...What happened to the tree? It fell over. Once the storm came, it was too late grow strong roots. Furthermore, no one protected the tree from the storm because it looked healthy; it did not seem
to need protection.
Have you seen this same scenario play out in the life of a Christian?
I’ll give you an example of what it might look like:
Joe Christian is a regular in church. His wife and kids are involved as well. All in all, Joe Christian and his family are what most people think of when they think of a “good Christian family”.
Now add Charlotte Churchlady to the mix. She too goes to church
regularly and is a role model for younger women. Charlotte Churchlady is a picture-perfect example of a “good Christian woman”.
Although they both were pillars in their church, Charlotte and Joe have an affair. They were not spiritually strong enough to stand firm when Satan tempted them with lust... and they fell into adultery. Their families are torn apart. Their witness is shattered. Their church family is devastated. In these situations, everyone loses.
Most everyone is shocked when “Joe Christian” or “Charlotte Churchlady” fall. In most cases, this is because they “seem” to have it all together.
Scripture also addresses this...
In 1 Samuel 16:7, Scripture tells us that, “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Only the Lord can determine the condition of our hearts. This is not an easy assessment (or self-assessment) for us to make. It is important to spend time in God’s word and in prayer seeking to cultivate a deeper relationship with Him.
Consider the following...
Would you attend church, worship, pray, and behave as you do now if the ONLY one that noticed was God?
Would you attend church, worship, pray, and behave as you do now if you knew God definitely noticed?
Only you and God truly know the condition of your heart. Only you and your Creator know if your heart and life have been transformed or if you are just doing all the right things to hide shallow spiritual
Thank you for the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ. Thank you for the freedom and victory that is mine in Christ Jesus. As I go
through each day, create a hunger and thirst in my heart for Your Word and a strong desire to spend time with You in prayer. Lord, I do not want to just act better, I want to BE better. I want my heart to be changed more and more into YOUR image. I want my spiritual roots to run DEEP into your love so that I will be able to stand tall and strong through the storms of life!
Until next time!