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]
Jeremiah 2 speaks about idolatry. God reminds us that He planted “a choice vine.” It was planted using pure seed. But soon enough, the choice vine became a wild vine. How did this happen? God broke the yokes of the people. The people responded by refusing to serve Him. Instead, they bowed down to other gods. They became a wild vine instead of being the choice vine for which they were created.
This reminds me of my own gardening experience. I remember having a beautiful vine that I planted. It was one of my favorite parts of my flower bed. But the vine did not want to grow in a contained and structured way I had envisioned. Instead, the vine tried to weave its way underneath the siding. It didn’t mind how often I watched over it; the vine started to go into areas that I never intended it to locate. It was crazy wild! I had to pull up a great deal of the vine and do some hardcore pruning.
The people of God, even today, have wandering eyes. It is so easy to turn your eyes from God and find ourselves bowing down to something in place of God. We often think this is a choice we make intentionally, so we boldly claim we would never succumb to idolatry. Yet, our eyes become fixed on other things and we find God is not honored. Usually this happens without even a notice. Sometimes it is a gradual move. Perhaps a small change here or there. Where are your eyes fixed today? What or Who is at the top of your list? Have you become a wild vine who has turned your ears and eyes away from God?
“For long ago I broke your yoke and burst your bonds; but you said, ‘I will not serve.’ Yes, on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down like a whore. Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?” – Jeremiah 2:20-21 [ESV]