Roots (No, not the movie!)
What are some things that we know about roots? Plants have roots. Those roots bring food and water up out of the soil for the plant that is above ground. The roots stabilize the plant and keep it from tipping over or blowing away. If a mole came along and ate all the roots of a plant the plant would quickly die.

What would happen if roots were growing in soil that had no nourishment for the plant? The plant would not be healthy and would soon die. What would happen if roots were unable to find water in the soil? The plant would soon die. So, not only does a plant need roots to survive, it has to have its roots imbedded in soil that will provide it with what it needs.

In Chapter 4 of Mark Jesus told a parable (story) about a man going out to plant seed for a crop. Some of the seeds landed where birds came along and ate them. Some of the seeds landed on ground that was rocky and only had a shallow layer of soil over the rocks. Those seeds began to grow, but the roots could not go very deep to get water and the sun scorched those plants and they died. Other seeds began growing in areas where there were lots of weeds. The weeds grew faster than the plants and their roots gobbled up the water and nutrients out of the soil and choked out the good plants. The seeds that landed on good ground became productive plants and yielded produce for the man who distributed the seeds.

Jesus made a comparison between the seeds and people. The seeds that were eaten by the birds were similar to people who heard the Word of God, but didn’t do anything with it. They did not root themselves in it or grab hold of it. Satan came along and filled those people’s hearts with other worldly things. He took their minds off Jesus. The Word that they heard soon disappeared from their memories. The good thing that they had was stolen from them.

The seeds that fell on rocky ground were similar to people who heard the Word of God and were interested in the things they heard for a very short time. They never actually rooted themselves in the Word. They soon allowed the cares and troubles of the world to become their main focus. They turned their eyes and hearts away from the Lord, forgot the things they heard, and struggled along in the world.

The seeds that began growing among the thorns were like people who actually sank roots in the Word. They began growing in the Lord. However, they allowed the things in the Word to become important. They reached out for the things the Lord had for them. Then, the troubles they encountered began to overshadow the Word. Their eyes began focusing on the problems they were having. They saw things in the world that seemed more pleasurable than walking with the Lord. They turned away from the Word and allowed the worldly things to choke out everything they had learned.

The seeds that grew in good soil were like people who, once they heard the Word of God, continued seeking what God had for them. They grew in knowledge of God and were continually hungry for more. They placed the Word of God between them and the world. They kept their eyes and hearts focused on the Lord and what He had for them. They tried to find out what plans He had for their lives. They sought His will. They looked to Him for answers to their problems.

As they grew they began to develop “fruit.” A person’s fruits are those things he emits through words and deeds. The fruits of the (Holy) Spirit are described in Galatians 5:22-23. They are love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness (humbleness), and temperance (not doing things to excess). Those fruits are evident in the lives of those who are rooted in the Lord.

Lets think about what it means for a person to be rooted in something. The roots are what sustains a plant and anchors it. In a person we are not literally speaking about food and water type of nourishment when we speak of being rooted. We are speaking about nourishment of the mind and soul. A person becomes rooted in things that interest him and/or things he enjoys. As it says in Romans11:16, ". . .if the root be holy, so are the branches."

This means that the things that are seen in a person (the branches) are a direct reflection of the types of things into which that person has rooted himself.

You can tell a lot about where a person’s roots are by noticing where he spends the bulk of his free time. The things that a person spends time doing and thinking about are the things that fill his mind and heart. Once things have settled into the mind and heart they exit through words and deeds. Those are that person’s fruits. Those are the things that are seen by others and that tell other people what kind of person he is.

Roots, as we discussed, also are for stability. People need to have something on which to grab hold when rough times come. When things begin to happen that are out of the person’s ability to control that person needs some sort of roots. They need to be able to hang on to something that isn’t as wobbly as their life has become.

Picture yourself in a large earthquake. The ground is moving under your feet and everything around you is being tossed about just as you are. Are you going to hang on to something that is as unstable looking as you are feeling or are you going to hang on to something that is standing solidly nearby, that is not moving at all?

The things into which people root themselves become the things that fill their minds and hearts. When troubles come they have no comfort in those things if they were only worldly things. The things of the world are temporary and are shallow. Even friends and relatives are not completely trustworthy and can fail to provide support and comfort in times of stress.

God is the ONLY THING that never changes. Psalm 102:27 tells us, "But thou [God] art the same, and thy years shall have no end."

God is the ONLY THING that is 100%, completely, absolutely, without-a-doubt reliable ALL THE TIME! God loves each and every person with an unconditional love. That love is unchanging and is not dependent on behavior nor on reciprocal love. There is nothing you can do or say to make God love you any more or any less! NOTHING! God is the One into which everyone should sink their roots! He will provide all the nourishment and stability that is necessary to make it in this life we are living!

We had a beautiful pine tree in our front yard. It had a huge fork about four feet off the ground that was perfect for young people to sit in and watch the world go by. It was wide and provided shade during the hot summers and was home to hummingbirds, sparrows, and a pair of doves. It was a beautiful tree.

In 2008 we had three days of steady rain. The ground was thoroughly soaked. The night of that third day the wind began to blow. That was no ordinary wind! The gusts hit 100 miles per hour. THAT WIND WAS WHIPPING!!

The wind was so loud that it woke my son and me up around 3:00AM. We got up to find that the electricity had gone out. We took flashlights and looked out the windows. We saw shingles and leaves and all sorts of things flying through the air.

We lit some candles and sat down to play some cards. We made sure we were in a room that was on the downwind side of the house just in case some large object broke any windows. Every once in a while we would hear a large booming noise and would grab our flashlights, shine them out the windows, and try to see what was happening.

One time while looking out the front window I noticed I could see the sky over where the top of our big pine tree had been. I figured some branches had broken off the top of our beautiful tree and we now had a much shorter tree. We heard a boom coming from the back of the house and looked out the kitchen window. I saw a large piece of pine tree lying out in the middle of our yard. I made the comment that our big pine tree in the back yard had also lost some branches. However, as I followed the “branches” with my flashlight in the direction of where the tree had stood I saw the entire length of the tree lying prone on our grass! The tree had fallen over!!

After getting over the shock of losing such a large tree, my son and I decided we wanted some hot chocolate so I tried to fill the teapot from the sink. We had no water. I understood the electricity being out because of overhead wires falling, but I couldn’t understand the water being off. After all, the water pipes were all underground. . . . .

BOING! The light bulb in my head went on. I grabbed the flashlight and ran out into the front yard. The sky I had been looking at over my “shortened” tree was actually the sky over the side branches of my tree! The tree had blown completely over and was lying in the street! The top of the tree was now touching the curb on the opposite side of the street! In the middle of our yard was a 10 foot high gusher of water. The tree roots had pulled our water main out of the ground when it fell!

I ran in the house praying that the tree had not covered the water meter as that was the only way we would be able to turn off the geyser. I got my husband out of bed (he had just been able to fall asleep when my son and I had gotten up) and we (Praise God!) were able to shut off the water at the meter. My husband worked the wrench while I held the flashlight and watched for falling trees and flying debris.

As soon as the sun rose we were able to assess the damage. The wind was still blowing hard, but only about 60 or 70 mph. The root ball on the tree in the front was 10 to 12 feet high! It was huge! The huge roots had spread out sideways. The reason the tree had fallen over was because there were no roots going straight down into the soil! It was the same with the large tree and four smaller trees that we had lost in the back yard. The roots had all gone sideways when they encountered hard soil!

Had the roots gone deeper they would have held the trees in place even though the soil was soaked. The roots needed to sink deeply into the soil to support the weight of the tree when the strong winds blew.

This is just like people. We think we are secure since we are doing fine. We may have begun sinking our roots into the Lord, but got distracted and the roots branched out into other things. Sometimes when we encounter difficulties we forget that we are putting our roots in the Lord in order for Him to support us and we withdraw from Him and our roots, again, branch out into other things.

When small trials happen we are able to weather the storms and come out on top, even though our roots are not in the Lord. However, when major troubles come along then the roots that we have sunk into whatever seemed good at the time offer us no support. When looking at a seemingly overwhelming crisis some people commit suicide because they have no hope. Some people retreat into alcoholism, drugs, insanity, depression, or some other type of escape from reality.

The time to make a decision of where to sink roots is now. It is often too late to begin sinking new roots when calamity knocks on our door. The decision is being made now. As you are reading this you are making your choices. What you do from this minute forward will result in where your roots grow.

I pray for you what Paul prayed for the Ephesians in Ephesians 3:14:
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."

God loves you. He has already given His Son for you. He is waiting for you to reach for His stretched-out hand. He is the anchor that you need. He is everything that you need. Do you need more wisdom? Do you need more peace in your life? Do you need to feel loved? Sink your roots in Him and you will receive those things.

Jesus came, not only to provide the perfect sacrifice for sin, but to demonstrate God’s love to the world. If you want to be the best you can be, if you want to have stability, if you want to have all the blessings that are yours...

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."
Colossians 2:6-7


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