One minute we seem to be all about Jesus, and the next minute we have changed our focus. Sometimes this means that we are not deeply rooted, or not rooted at all. When things are going well or when God is at the forefront of our lives, we are all about worshiping God and serving His people. We are attending church on Sunday and perhaps even interacting with a Bible study group. But then something happens. Boom. Something shakes our world and oh how quickly we do an about face. We change direction. It’s as if we are a different person. What happened to the way we were living? What happened to our focus on God?
It is important for us be deeply rooted in Christ, to have a strong foundation that will stay standing despite any circumstances that will come our way. Yes, we will falter from time to time; however, we should not sway every time to wind blows. Focus on your roots. Study the Word. Hear the Word. Spend time with fellow believers. Pray daily. Do whatever you can to be closer to God. Allow your eyes to be fixed on God. Understand that the moment will come when your world will be shaken. Hold on tight and keep pressing forward.
“At the end of the forty days and nights, the LORD handed me the two stone tablets inscribed with the words of the covenant. Then the LORD said to me, ‘Get up! Go down immediately, for the people you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted gold and made an idol for themselves!’” – Deuteronomy 9:11-12 [NLT]
As I was trying to prepare the flower beds for Fall, I made yet another attempt to tear out the vines that are planted in many areas of my yard. These vines drive me crazy every time I take the effort to remove them. If you are not familiar with vines, you do not understand the nuisance it is to remove them. You begin to pull some of the vine, but soon realize you are not close to the root. Instead, you are pulling different strands of new growth, connected to other growth. It’s hard to even pull anything out because everything grows connected and is bound together underground, connected with the strong root. The root system keeps me from ever getting rid of the vines.
Imagine now how Jesus speaks of our need to abide in Him. He promises if we abide in Him, He will abide in us (John 15:4). He is our strong root system, our foundation. Paul wrote that we should let our “roots grow down into Him.” If we are rooted with Him, we are like those vines with the strong root, that is difficult to move. When we are rooted in Christ, our “faith will grow strong.” When we are rooted in Christ, we “overflow with thankfulness.”
Ask the Spirit to reveal to you your root system. If you are unsure if you are abiding in Him, consider how much time you devote to prayer, Bible reading and Bible study, and walking in the will of God. If these things sound foreign, or if these things are not of most importance on your list of priorities, it is time to start reviewing your list. Look at what you are trying to grow. Look at where you are investing yourself. Do you want to live a life growing with the strong vine, or are you trying to grow yourself to build yourself up? You’ll find that the little sprouts are easy to pull from the ground, very different from the strong rooted vines. Don’t live like a little sprout.
“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 [NLT]
I have a lot of OCD tendencies. When it comes to the lawn, I like the grass to be cut weekly. In my opinion, there is an acceptable height to the blades of grass. If the grass is not clipped at the right time, it will continue to grow unattended and then there’s overgrowth. On my walk with the dogs, I always come upon a lawn that is overgrown. The owners let the grass grow unattended for weeks. By the time the lawn is cared for, there is grass growing over the footpath.
Just as we need to clip our fingernails, get a haircut, and brush our teeth, so we need to care for our yardwork, cleaning, and laundry. But it doesn’t end there!! We cannot forget our spiritual health. Our spiritual health needs attention. God is great at pruning. As you walk with Him, He will continue to prune you and help you to grow the way He always intended. Our part in all of this is to dive deep into His Word. We cannot become dull. Continue to take in God’s Word. Write it on your heart. Allow it to reveal to you our heavenly Father. It’s all about knowing God.
As you desire to know God more, as you continue to read His Word and follow His will, He will continue to prune and grow you. Listen closely to His voice. Remember when He asks you to loosen your grip on something, it is because it is for your best. Every clip. Every snip. Every word. It’s all for your very best.
“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” – John 15:2 [ESV]
Did you know you were made for more? Jesus said that we would do greater things than even He did during His earthly ministry. It’s true. Sadly, many of us never step into what God has prepared long ago. We allow our fears to dictate our steps. We make up excuses for not stepping out. We think that others have a ministry, but we don’t have our own ministry. For others, it simply is a matter of not being all in when it comes to walking with Jesus.
Each of us has a ministry. If you think you don’t have a ministry because your spouse is in ministry, that’s incorrect. You each have a ministry role. Each of you have important roles. If you don’t reach out in faith because you believe you are limited, realize that you have the Spirit of God living within you. That is the MOST POWERFUL FORCE in the world inside you! The Holy Spirit with equip you and empower you (Romans 15:13). Simply show up. You have an important ministry.
If you have a list of excuses as to why you don’t do something, consider the reason for the excuses. Are these excuses justified? Maybe you don’t show up to Bible study because you don’t feel like you know enough about the Bible. Guess where you should be then? Bible study. Maybe you don’t help out with the mission work because you feel unqualified. Who is qualified? No one is qualified by their own merits. God alone qualifies (2 Corinthians 3:5). Perhaps you don’t attend church because you feel unworthy. Everyone who attends church is unworthy. We all fall short (Romans 3:23). It is only because Jesus died on the Cross that we can approach God.
Today, remember you were made for more. Reach out for the more. Don’t stand for less. God is a big God and He has big plans. Embrace them.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NIV]
In Nehemiah 1, we read about a report that Nehemiah receives from Jerusalem. When he hears about what is happening to God’s people and to the state of Jerusalem, he weeps. Not only does he mourn for days, but he fasts and prays continuously. He is more than a little upset. He is unsettled. He is grieved.
When I read about this grief, this mourning by Nehemiah, I cannot help but wonder if we ever grieve like that because of the spiritual state of others. Are we uncomfortable because God is not honored, when we know He alone deserves all honor, glory and praise? Is it upsetting when we see something that once glorified God, now broken and in disarray? When we see brokenness, do we seek out God to heal, restore, and redeem?
Today we are not looking to rebuild a wall. Nehemiah took care of that great work. But God has put a vision in your heart. He wants to do great things through you to glorify Him. Seek Him. Ask Him to reveal this great work. Ask Him to strengthen your feet. Ask Him to help you speak boldly. Press forward and watch Him move in mighty ways.
“When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” – Nehemiah 1:4 [NASB]