This morning I was in the garden enjoying the morning sun and while looking around at the potted plants, I noticed one plant which I had repotted a few days ago. It had survived all winter and looked healthy enough throughout, but now it appeared a little dried out. I started to check it out and it came away from the soil in my hands; the roots were completely missing. The roots had either rotted away or been eaten, leaving just the stump at the bottom of the plant of withered leaves. It was a little disappointing since that plant had given us such joy last year and in previous years having survived two moves. It is proof, if ever we needed it, that plants cannot survive without strong roots.
“…and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.” (Mark 4:16-17)
Roots are there so that a plant can:
- Seek life giving water
- Take on nutrients to make it healthy
- Be stable in the soil, able to stay put when the wind blows or get trampled on.
Usually when we think of ‘strong roots’ we think about family ties or a good upbringing. These are good things and can become unbreakable bonds. But the above illustration is also a great metaphor for the Christian life and what could happen if we don’t have strong roots; we could inadvertently, by separating ourselves from our source of sustenance, dry up and fall away. But no stronger is the Christian who has ‘strong roots’ firmly planted in Christ and in His Word.
“But no stronger is the Christian who has ‘strong roots’ firmly planted in Christ and in His Word.”
Life Giving Water
The woman at the well, in John 4:15, when offered thirst quenching, life giving water, asked Jesus to ‘give [her] this water, so [she] will not be thirsty…’. Christ brings us life giving water that nothing else in life can offer. In Christ you will never ‘thirst’ again. We may trust in other vain and false philosophies which seem fulfilling at the time, but they will never truly satisfy, never truly answer all of life’s questions. Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, The Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’ (John 14:6). Everyone is seeking answers; that ‘something’ which connects them to that ‘other’, the who or what that they can’t quite grasp. The only way to truly find answers and the life they are desperate for, is through the Saviour Jesus Christ.
“Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”” (John 4:13-14)
Water is good. It brings life; amazing, abundant life. But to be healthy we need nutrients. Knowing Christ as saviour is the most important thing that could ever happen to a person. But once we have found Jesus, who satisfies the longing of our hearts, we must then seek to be fed so that we can grow. God in His goodness has provided the means for this too; the Word of God, our Bible. While the Bible doesn’t tell us everything there is to know, nor indeed answer every question we may have, it provides us with all that we need to know in order to live life as a believer. After all, that plant in my garden that has no roots does not need to know how to produce an apple, since it is not an apple tree, but has all the information it needs to be a beautiful Heuchera. Likewise, all that we need to thrive is found in Scripture (The Bible). As we regularly feed upon the Word, we will have stronger roots and thus be well nourished, producing a healthier Christian walk.
“…and if the root is holy, the branches are too.” (Romans 11:16b)
One physical aspect of a good root system is the strength it provides for the plant itself. It is interesting that the root system is specifically designed to support the plant it is part of; the larger the plant, the stronger the roots. This is true for any mature Christian called to ministry; the stronger and deeper the roots, the more assurance you will have and the more effective you will be. For the Christian a strong root system can provide stability for the storms of life and the stamina and resolve required to stand against the temptations it can offer. Storms speak for themselves and clinging to Christ will get us through anything. Temptations, however, can take many forms, some more obvious than others: The temptation to fame, fortune and a good reputation; the temptation to trust in your instincts and your own abilities and not in your Heavenly Father; the temptation to place gathering together in fellowship low on your list of priorities and the temptation to give in when it’s all just too difficult. These less obvious temptations can creep up on you. Therefore, we must learn to trust in the Lord and follow His instructions for every aspect of life, so that your roots will hold and keep you going in every circumstance, temptation, trial, persecution and storm that comes your way.
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
Like the plant that has strong roots, you too, if rooted in Christ and in His Word, trusting God for all aspects of life, following His instructions, will have strong unshakeable roots, able to withstand all storms and temptations, firmly planted in deep rich soil. You will drink deep from the well that is Christ and be a healthy, well nourished Christian, standing firm, a beautiful ‘plant’ in the Lord for all to see and for all to enjoy of its glorious beauty.
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