“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filed with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJV
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7 NASV
by J. Vetter
The other day I spent time in my back yard digging up oak trees. These oak “trees” were only three inches tall, but I was amazed to find about five inches of root below the ground. I chuckled to see the little acorn holding on to the root for dear life. Those little acorns didn’t waste time. They dug in their heels and got established. How incredible to think the two huge oak trees in our front yard actually began their lives from something as tiny as my thumb nail. Of course, there would be no way that I could even begin to dig those grown trees out.
For weeks now the Lord has been speaking to me about roots. It started with the word, “stronghold.” “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds….” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6; then the words, “firmly rooted,” from Colossians, above, and “rooted and grounded” from Ephesians, also quoted above; followed by the scripture, “Every plant which my Heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted,” Matthew 15:13. Consequently, I have followed these clues on God’s treasure hunt with great anticipation to see how it will all come together.
I began to think of how long-standing problems or diseases seemingly don’t budge very easily at times despite prayer. So we are often left with wrong thinking choices–“God is sovereign, so this situation is the will of God,” “God doesn’t care or doesn’t hear me,” or “God is not able to do this.” Just like the ground didn’t release those little oak trees without my work and effort, our minds refuse to release long-standing erroneous beliefs. And the longer they have held their ground, the harder it is to pull them out. That’s why the Word of God says we’re to renew our minds (Romans 12:2).
Perhaps there is something huge in our lives that needs to go–an addiction or a disease that seems too big or impossible to be free of. As we look to scripture, we see a beautiful example of the power Jesus had when he walked on this earth (and we are told, “As He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17). He spoke to a fig tree. The next morning, as the disciples passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots in Mark 11:20. Peter said, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away”–verse 21. Later Jesus declares, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them”–verse 24.
So we need to get out our spiritual gardening tools and get to work–we have some planting to do, but also some uprooting. Most importantly, let’s plant love. God says we are to be rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:14-19). Of course, the seed of love is the Word of God. As we meditate on scriptures such as Romans 5:8, we learn “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Let’s plant that seed a little deeper. Then we meditate on Jeremiah 31:3, and learn, “The Lord has appeared of old to me saying, ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’” Again, these seeds are getting more established. Subsequently we learn that “faith works by love,” Galatians 5:6, so suddenly faith to uproot an illness begins to spring forth. If we know we’re loved by God (and we love ourselves), it is easier to believe that God wants the best for us, and He wants to see us receive the harvest as much as we do.
Perhaps when we try to plant the good seeds, we just run into stones, hard ground. or roots. For instance. some friends of mine kept trying to landscape their yard, to no avail. Finally they called in an expert. He discovered a network of roots all over the yard. This reminded me of the warning in scripture about any root of bitterness–Hebrews 12:15. We must make certain to remove any of that out of our lives. And doubt must be resisted and uprooted, as well, so as not to cancel out our prayer of faith. “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him,” Mark 11:23. And, going along with our thoughts on love, we need to have forgiven everyone. “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone….” Mark 11:25. So if we fail to prepare the ground, we won’t have much success getting the seeds to grow.
Having planted a crop of love, faith, and forgiveness, we prepare for the harvest. I like to remember the time when we lived in a rural area on two acres of land. After experiencing a year of failure due to the ground not being prepared, the following year we finally had our crop of eight-foot tall corn stalks. They were almost ready for harvest when a furious storm blew in, knocking them all down. When it blew over, I was in the garden on my hands and knees lifting up the stalks and patting the mud around each one to make them stand erect. (I believe God’s grace factored in as well over those propped-up stalks.) It was so worth it at harvest time. We enjoyed dozens and dozens of sweet, golden ears of corn.
Therefore, spiritually, we may have to get on our knees and protect the harvest even after persistently believing for a breakthrough, (“rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,” Romans 12:12); but let’s not give up–the end result is so sweet and so worth the effort!
“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
Consider these scriptures on the strongest root of all…Jesus, whom we look to, the Root of Jesse:
“(The Reign of Jesse’s Offspring) There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1 NKJV
“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10 NKJV
“And again, Isaiah says: ‘There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.” Romans 15:12 NKJV