This week I went on a silent retreat of sorts. One morning I received directions to hike to a waterfall and drove to the trailhead. As I started to make my way upward, I was captivated by what I saw on the path. As natural erosion occurred on the mountain, the root systems of the massive trees were exposed, displaying their once hidden presence and present day strength.
Life erodes us, doesn’t it?
As we age, life shows in things like our wrinkles, our eyes, our hands, our countenance, our developed fears and anxieties, our flawed patterns of thought. Start looking through old pictures of your former self and normal wear and tear of all human beings becomes evident. As I climbed, I found myself hoping that as erosion occurs in my life, people will come to see an extensive root system underneath that keeps me living with stability and strength. As my friend battles cancer I can tell you all the world is now seeing her extensive root system on display.
May it be the same for me.
Scripture talks a lot about roots as it applies to this principle:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
Therefore as you 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
A man will not be established by wickedness,
But the root of the righteous will not be moved. Proverbs 12:3
It takes intention to build a root system and live these verses.
I took a book along on my trip, Chasing Vines, by Beth Moore. This paragraph describes the grit and intention needed to develop a root system.
If you’re in a season of pestilence, fight it out. If you’ve gotten sloppy, tighten it up. If you’re neck deep in sin, repent. Go back on your face before God. Open a Bible and plant your nose in it. Memorize Scripture. Learn how to fast and pray. Quit talking about Jesus more than you talk to Him. Quit letting your mouth overshoot your character. Become that person you’ve made fun of for taking Jesus too seriously. Live and love valiantly. Give generously. Help the poor. (p. 235)
In other words, make decisions to follow Jesus no matter the cost.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
At last, I got to the waterfall, the prize. Look at this beauty. The air was fresh and clean and cool. The sound of rushing waters was calming. The beauty was enthralling. I sat for a while and enjoyed.
Christians are living for a prize as well.
Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:24b-25
Our prize is heaven.
We will not sit a while in heaven and then have to return home. Heaven lasts forever and the prize will be worth the struggle of the climb and the effort required to develop strong roots.
The prize will take our breath away.
When speaking of heaven, Beth wrote in Chasing Vines: If we truly grasped the magnificence of what’s ahead, we’d be too anxious to leave. (p. 273)
Back to roots.
I only have one life to live. I can’t live yesterday ever again. It is over. I am not promised tomorrow. I only have today, and I want to live it well rooted. By that, I mean I want to live each day having an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ; trusting in His power, not mine; and leaning on His truth, not the world’s.
Strong roots lead to the prize.
Picture Explanation: As I begin a new decade, God was sweet to supply this visual-kinesthetic learner with a visual while on a hike.
I was thinking afterward how women who dye their hair don’t like hearing, “Your roots are showing.” To women who are walking with Jesus, however, there can be no greater compliment.
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