“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.”
Everything is rooted in one thing. Our roots formulate our ideas, our passions, and our desires for the future. Each of us has our foundation built on something. So what are you rooted in? What drives you, pushes you forward, causes you to think about it all the time? I think many of us want to have our roots growing in the presence of God, but we fear actually giving up control. So our roots stay in our own power. Sure for a time they seem to be growing well, but eventually we will find that we become dead inside. We put on our good face and try to make it on our own, but once we have a chance to be alone we feel the hurt rush in. We feel weak because we are weak; our foundation is rooted in the wrong source. I’ve been thinking about this because before I can go and do anything I need to make sure my roots are growing in the right place. I think about this because I never want to feel dead again, I never want to rest on my own power because my strength is weak. I’ve been thinking about this because I had remembered the time I had Lawrence the cactus.
You thought I was going to get super deep (here’s the fun part, I’m going to *winky face*). For about a year and a half I had a cactus, which I appropriately gave a name, his name was Lawrence. I had this cactus through two moves and he was awesome (yes, I thought of him as a he), I always kept him on my desk and it was a fun little plant to have. I had him in the final spot on a shelf over my bed, because I like to live dangerously and stay on my toes with the fact that a cactus can fall on me as I sleep. One day last March I noticed Lawrence wasn’t as green, so I watered it more frequently (pro-tip, cacti need to be watered at most, once every two weeks). It kept looking sad and wasn’t growing any taller, so I decided I had to let Lawrence go. I walked to the garbage can outside remembering all the good times we shared (which was really me looking at an old photo on Instagram with him), and I dropped him in the can. I watched him fall in slo-mo, then suddenly, Lawrence splattered all over like a Nickelodeon game show. I realized that Lawrence had been dead for a while, but looked fine on the outside. He had no structure and was completely rotten, with only a shell holding him together. Now you may wonder about this tangent, but this tangent illustrates what we have to do in our own lives. We have to make sure we follow all the factors to keep our roots strong, because I remembered that in my last repotting, I had used lawn care soil that I came to find out is deadly for cacti and succulents. I was trying to grow a cactus in the soil that would eventually lead to his demise.
Choose the right soil.
I tried to grow a cactus in the wrong soil, just like we try to grow ourselves in the world. Often we believe that we don’t need God, that we know what is really best for our lives. In truth, we need God more than anything else, because he gives all we need and lets us grow strong in him. We have a choice, we can continue to go our own way, which may be nice for a time, but you will never be truly satisfied with what you make of yourself. Our other option is to trust in God, to put down roots in his presence and have faith. This option is the scarier of the two, and it may not be the easiest, but it is the best decision you will make. Putting roots in Christ won’t make life simple, because simple is boring, Christ puts a burning passion in our hearts and that excites every part of me. For me it makes me want to do nothing more than be in ministry for him, to serve him with all that’s within me. Put your roots in the right soil, and you will have a solid foundation.
Water with the word.
That’s alliteration. It’s also the way we stay healthy. With a cactus we need to water every two weeks, but we can’t do this in our lives. We must have daily filling of the word to get us through the day. We need to be reading the word and meditating on that day and night, not because we have to, but because the change is visible. Legalistic faith says you have to read x amount of scripture so you can check it off the list, authentic faith says that when I read scripture God will speak. Not he might reveal something, he will speak. Each day, God has something to say. So water yourself with the word, not because you have to, but because God wants to reveal his heart to you. He redeems us, cleans us, and helps us break free of the chains to live in freedom.
Get some sun.
Yesterday I got sunburn (yay for pale skin and living in the south). That’s not what I mean, what I mean is that just like a plant, we have to go out and get exposed to the sun. In other words, we have to go out and not stay inside alone in the dark. I’m talking about community, hopefully you understood what I was getting at, and if not, just pretend like I made sense. We need to be around others so that we can build each other up and grow together. We weren’t made to go through life alone, we need people around us to encourage and spur us on, and we need to do the same for others. We can’t close ourselves off to the world, we need to get out and have community with others. This community needs to be with other believers, but also with non-believers, because we are called to share the same love that we have found with others. So get out, go get some sun.
The verse at the top and the memory of my cactus caused me to think about this. We have to be rooted in what truly matters. When you have strong roots, you can weather the storms that come up. In the past I know that when hardship came, I felt tossed around with no hope. When I put my roots in Christ, I am able to hold fast in the middle of the hardest times, knowing that God will use it to further grow me. Is the pain still there? Yup. Is it easier to deal with? Sort of. Is it worth it? Absolutely. We need to make strong roots, because no matter what happens you can be alive in every sense of the word. Don’t become like my old cactus Lawrence who was dead because of his soil; plant yourself in the right soil, water yourself in the word, and get some sun.
Plant your roots in the one who will never fail.
P.s. I now have two more cacti, Bruce and James. They are in correct soil and are growing quite well.