Yesterday was a heavy yard cleaning day. My sore muscles this morning are reminding me of all the hard work we did yesterday.
Our new home was previously occupied by renters who stayed less than a year. As a consequence, the yard needed some loving care. Lots of weeds and unwanted plants were trying to find a home. To my surprise, the “weeds” did not come up when I tried to pull them out. Being met with such resistance, I looked closer and discovered that my “weeds” had big roots.
As I started digging, I quickly realized that my “weeds” were small trees. Some of those roots were the size of small branches and were hiding deep in the soil. Some were so deep that I had to give up trying to find the end of them and content myself with cutting the roots deep inside the ground.
As sweat was washing the dirt off my face and my hands, God was speaking to my heart. I could hear his gentle voice reminding me that he wanted my faith not to be dramatically outwardly apparent but more importantly, deeply rooted. He reminded me that he wanted me to be that person, the one who:
…is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3
It takes time for faith to take root and be apparent in our lives. I can be impatient and want things right away. I want to be known as a woman of faith but I am more concerned with the title than the actual process. I fail daily in responding properly to people and events because I neglect the health of my roots, that sacred time that I spend at his feet. I want to bear fruit but I neglect the process.
Did you know that cacti have very shallow roots that spread across the ground? This allows them to catch any rain falling. God does not want us to catch anything falling. There are great teachers out there and wonderful Bible scholars but there are also false teachers and charlatans. That is why He wants us to:
…be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:8
Our roots need to go deep and they need to feed on the living water and be attached to the true vine. Jesus is the living water (John 7:37-38) and he is the true vine (John 15:1-17). He will abide in us as we abide in him.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers;” John 15:5-6
You see, what will eventually happen to those roots in my yard is that they are going to die. I will keep a watchful eye and make sure that every new sprout is quickly pruned. As a result, the nutrients for that root will be cut off. When we are rooted in Jesus, it does not matter how many times we are cut down. The storms of life can batter us, trample us, and shrink us but we will always sprout back stronger than ever, like a tree planted by the water (Psalm 1).
I encourage you to read and meditate on Psalm 1; even better, memorize it. Also read Psalm 101 and make it your personal declaration and victory cry this week.