I have typically thought of roots as being something that Christians needed for dark times and emergencies.
In my mind, roots have always been associated with times of storms in the life of a believer.
That is true: the state of our roots will have a lot of impact and effect on how well we are able to get through a storm as Christians.
The depth and the expanse of our roots as Christians will indeed determine how well we are able to come out as survivors and as victors after a storm has passed.
But that is not the whole story.
Roots are more than anchors
Based on plant biology, we know that roots are for the purpose of anchoring a plant.
However, the roots of a plant have other functions too:
- absorbing water and dissolved minerals
- conducting water and minerals to the stem
- storing reserve foods
Therefore, the roots provide a plant with constant and continuous nourishment. A plant can only live life to its fullest because of its roots.
In a similar way, roots of believers will secure us and help us to get through storms and bad experiences in our lives.
But roots are also important and vital in securing and accessing nourishment during the good times.
Are you a Christian who only gets serious about being rooted in Christ as a means of being preserved in a storm?
I don’t want to be the kind of Christian who only gets concerned about roots because I am trying to prepare for a harsh time.
I want to be constantly nourished even when there is no storm.
The truth is, roots are always important. We need roots for all seasons.
Without good roots, any plant will eventually die even if the surrounding conditions are great.
A plant that has had its roots cut or destroyed can’t survive even if it is receiving the best of a gardener’s care.
Vital practices in gardening like daily watering, adequate sunshine, weed removal and even fertilizing, are of no use to a plant with no roots!
Psalm 1:3 tells us that a tree planted by rivers of water will bring forth fruit in its season. But in order for this to keep happening, that tree must always be sustained and nourished through its roots.
Where should my roots be?
I have prayed this prayer in recent years: “Lord, sink all my roots in You.”
But what does that mean?
We often look up to, and subconsciously depend on, our spiritual leaders, brethren and Christian ministers. Then when they fail (us?), we feel like a rug is pulled out from under us.
Our world turns upside down and even our faith gets shaken.
My simple “roots prayer” is a cry for all my hope, expectation and dependence to be towards God alone.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart,” the Bible says in Proverbs 3:5.
I can tell you from experience that that’s the safest, most peaceful place to be. (I highly recommend it!)
That is how you will feel when all your roots are in God.
That is how another believer’s failure or mistake or disobedience or outright backsliding will no longer shake you or dislodge you from the presence of the Lord.
When a solid believer you have known and respected changes for the worse, those roots will remind you that God did not change.
God is still the same.
So will we be cold, callous and numb to a fellow Christian’s sin? Certainly not.
We will pray; we should weep; but never at the expense of our own individual, deep settled peace and joy.
If your brother or your sister in Christ should fall, your roots will nourish you with peace and joy in spite of the disappointment.
You can still enjoy intimacy and fellowship with the Holy Spirit even in the face of that brother’s or sister’s heartbreaking actions.
We are called to love and want God’s best for all our Christian brethren.
But the secret place is only big enough for two: you and God.
So does that mean I don’t need anyone?
Is this now my license from God to be a solo Christian?
Far from it!
Remember the love commandment! Love takes place in the context of fellowship and brotherhood.
It might seem and feel a bit precarious to balance, but you can summarize it like this:
Love everyone but trust only God.
How do I care for my roots?
If you take a closer look at Psalm 1, there are some recommendations: some are restrictions and others are prescriptions. Subscribing to them will allow us to fit the description of that glorious tree planted by rivers of water.
What are these recommendations? First, the restrictions:
- Walk not in the counsel of the ungodly
- Stand not in the way of sinners
- Sit not in the seat of the scornful
The Contemporary English Version of the Bible puts it this way:
“God blesses those people who refuse evil advice and won’t follow sinners or join in sneering at God.”
Many times over we see these same sentiments in other Bible passages. We owe it to our roots to stay planted away from sin.
That could mean avoiding (and eventually fleeing from) the company of ‘Potiphar’s wife’ like Joseph. But it can also mean discerning and sifting through the messages bombarding us in the media, schools and sadly, even churches.
Wherever the voice of sin is speaking, it must be rejected.
Then, the prescriptions:
- Delight in the law of the Lord
- Meditate in God’s law day and night
Nourishing your roots takes the word of God, and just like watering a plant, it is a daily requirement. That involves reading the Scriptures, of course.
But there is more to it: there needs to be a joy and pleasure derived from participating in God’s word. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3).
We also have the duty to habitually reflect on the Scriptures throughout our waking hours.
Accepting and obeying these restrictions and prescriptions are the best way to protect, grow and nourish our roots.
The Christian life will have storms, tests and trials. Our roots will provide us with the anchorage and stability we need during those trying times.
But let us not neglect to care for those same roots when the skies are clear and the weather is fair. Our nourishment during those good times will still depend on and come from those roots.
Let us sink all our roots in the soil of God alone and His word. Only then will we have the roots we need for all seasons!