Monday, 23 March 2009

The Importance of Roots

"Roots are important..." And so ends the last line of a poem my kids wrote today which coincidentally was all about roots. And this line about the importance of roots, turns out to be truer than my six year old may realise.

On a recent walk around our local abbey I noticed several trees that had been uprooted in the wind and literally blown over during harsh weather. It is a pretty sad sight to see something that should have been part of the landscape for years to come, lying uprooted and lifeless on the ground. Why did it lose its chance at life? Because its roots were not deep enough. Perhaps they should have listened my child's poem!

The Bible has a habit of describing people like trees. Psalm 1, for example, tells us that the man who does not listen to the wrong voices but delights in God's word is like a tree planted by streams of water, bearing great fruit. Thats a great example of good roots equalling good fruits. Now In the words of my old drama lessons " I AM A TREEEEE" and therefore I need to consider my roots as well.

Let's look at two types of shrubbery for a minute and see what we can learn from the way their roots grow. The first example is the IVY. Ivy tends to spread all over the place; over walls, up trees, under fences and across buildings, spreading its roots outwards and upwards above the ground. The Oak Tree however spreads it roots differently. They are much less visible. The roots of the oak go deep into the soil and spread in an exact mirror representation of that which is on the surface - as above, so below.

Many people are IVY Christians. They plant roots in things they can see, things they can get hold of and spread themselves thinly in the attempt to gain security from that which is around them. The problem with IVY Christians is that they are planting external roots that rely on external structures to survive. Take them away and they wither and die.

I have also met a few OAK Christians in my time as well. These are the ones who plant their roots deep into something they can't see. Their life mirrors on the outside, what is secure and steadfast beneath the surface. The OAK Christian plants interior roots into internal soils. To them it is what is on the inside that matters. They find their security in an invisible God.

So How do I make sure that I don't end up like that lifeless hunk of wood, shaken and uprooted by the wind?

Ephesians 3:17 urges us to allow our roots to
go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. God's love must be the biggest anchor point in our lives. If we don't cling onto love above everything else we can easily be uprooted. Colossians implores us to not only root ourselves in God's love, but in Christ himself.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7

If you want to know if your roots are in Christ then consider if you are two things: 1. Strong in truth and 2. Overflowing with thankfulness. These are just two little examples of mirrors that show us what is going on under the soil of our lives.

Having strong roots is not just flowerly talk (excuse the pun). "Roots are Important" and without them things could potentially get dangerous. In the parable of the sower and the seed we see the sad consequences of one who "has no root" lasting only a short time in the Kingdom. As soon as "harsh weather" comes in force, then those who have no roots in God's love and character end up blowing away.

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to people who hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Matthew 13:20-21

Many times I have heard people describe themselves as wanting to be a Radical Christian, without actually understanding what the word radical means. It literally means "getting to the root". Today, God is calling forth a radical generation who are willing to get to the root of issues in their lives and willing to put their roots deep into God's amazing and marvelous love.

Why not stop trying to be an Ivy Christian, frantically spreading yourself out, trying to place your security in something you can get hold of yourself. Simply dig your roots down deep into the safety of knowing God loves you for who you are. Be like the oak weathering the storms, safe in the knowledge that when the season changes, you may just have produced an acorn of hope, ready to be planted, for generations to come. Wouldn't that be the most radical thing you and I could do?

1 comment:

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