After weeks of less than desirable (and downright chilly) spring weather, this past weekend we finally got what we had been longing for: three straight days of sun, blue skies and 70 degrees. Oh the joy!!! Truly there is nothing that makes me happy like sunshine. J We couldn’t wait to go outside and get some desperately needed yardwork done. My husband planted a couple of trees while I watched the boys, and when our youngest son went down for his afternoon nap (and oldest took to playing with a frog in the creek), we began weeding our long neglected strawberry patch. It was overwhelming to say the least…the weeds had nearly taken over. I am always amazed at how it takes absolutely NO effort on our part for weeds to grow, but if we want nice trees and fruit plants and pretty flowers they have to be tended diligently. (Just like everything else good in life, right?) As I weeded I began pulling some baby box elder and cottonwood trees that had planted themselves among our strawberries. The first one I encountered was only a few inches tall, so I thought it would be easy to get out, but I was wrong! First I tried quickly pulling it with one hand but it held fast, then when I used both hands it finally relinquished its hold on the soil and came out. I was amazed to see that the root was almost TWICE as long as the tree itself. Incredible! I never would have guessed it. In that instant one of my favorite passages of scripture came to mind and I knew I was in for another spiritual analogy. That seems to be the way God often speaks to me and I love how even nature reveals the truth of His Word.
“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 filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19)
I really hate to stop there, since the next verse is so wonderful as well, but that one will have to wait for another article. These verses are so beautifully penned (they make my poetic soul happy!) as well as so rich with living truth. Each one invites me to dig deeper into its richness, but for now I will just focus on the words I heard as I knelt in the strawberry patch on Saturday.
ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE.
This little tree was rooted and grounded in the soil, established and thriving. And if it had been left alone to grow, one day it would have been large and mighty tree, with roots reaching so deep into the ground that nothing except maybe a powerful tornado could tear it out. Wow. When I think about what that means for me as a follower of Christ, I get excited. Inspired. Encouraged to know that God has provided such a safe place for me to grow in Him. I realize it’s not enough to just know about His love – I need to truly KNOW it, and being rooted in the rich soil of His love is the only way I can truly comprehend the incredible immensity of that love. And for what purpose? To be filled with all the fullness of God. Rooted and grounded in Christ’s love, in order to KNOW His love, in order to be FILLED with ALL of His fullness. The word here used for “fullness” is the Greek word “pleroma,” which means “full number, full measure, plenitude, that which has been completed. It literally means fullness and completion.” It’s so amazing to me to think that God would make a way for me, a marred human, to be filled with the completion of Himself. Amazing! And yet…that’s what He did through Jesus. What a beautiful, glorious exchange that happened when He chose the cross and died in my place! What love. And what joy that I get to experience for myself the full measure of who God is – El Shaddai, more than enough, the All-Sufficient One!
So what does it mean to be rooted and grounded in His love? The Greek word used here for “rooted” is “rhizoo,” which means “to cause to take root, plant, fix firmly, establish.” The Greek word for “grounded” is “themelioo” which literally means, “to found, to lay the foundation of.” (It appears grounded would have been better off translated as “founded.”) Wow. I can’t help but wonder: just what would this world look like if ALL believers were rooted and grounded in the love of Christ like that? I believe in order for us to get to that point we must go back to the basics and see what True Love looks like: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16) The foundation of the Gospel message is Jesus (no other foundation can anyone lay that that which is already laid…Jesus Christ!) and His love. His love for me, for you, for the whole world. There is much we can learn and mature in as Christians, but the ONE thing we must build everything else upon is Jesus and His love. We must purposefully plant ourselves in the soil of His love and stay there, allowing ourselves to be watered by the water of the Word, receiving nourishment from the Son. In order to let our roots go down deep, we need to understand and be confident that His affection for us is based not on what we have done, but on what Jesus did and it will never change. Each of us must come to this revelation on our own (mine is still in progress, but I’m getting there!) and learn to rest in it: His love is mine no matter what I do. He is always for me not against me. My identity is who He says I am. Beloved, redeemed, sanctified, righteous. Child of God. As long as I know that, and continue living in that knowledge, I will be unshakeable. My roots will be solid and deep and established. I will grow tall and strong in Him, able to always withstand the enemy no matter how hard he tries to uproot me. No ferocious wind of trial or persecution will ever be able to topple me, no fear will have any power over me, no devil in hell will ever be able to pluck me out or steal my joy if I am rooted in His love. If I know who I am and whose I am, both here on earth and for all eternity, I will always walk in victory!
I certainly don’t have the full revelation on God’s love, but I wanted to share my thoughts and encourage you today to let yourself be loved by Him! Immerse yourself in His love, dig into His Word and find out more about why He loves you…and why He’ll never stop. His love is the answer to any negative feeling that threatens to overwhelm you, the solution and end to all fear, the final destination for truth and the only identity you’ll ever need. His love is what your heart is craving and what your soul is longing for. So jump in. Drink deep. Lose and find yourself in Jesus. Feed only on His love and delight in hearing His gentle voice. Before you know it you will be so rooted and grounded in love, so full of His fullness, you won’t be able to contain it, and nothing will be impossible for you.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
I thank You for planting me in Your amazing love! Help me to sink my roots down deeper and deeper until I am secure and established in You. Help me to rest my faith fully upon the foundation of Jesus and His love, and learn how to grow in Your grace and love and the knowledge of You every day. I want to know You completely and to be filled with all that You are!In Jesus’ Name, Amen