Roots Down Deep.

29 03 2017

For as long as I can remember trees have always fascinated me.  I love the grace with which they swayed in the mind.  I loved watching them survive and change throughout the seasons.  I LOVED listening to the wind whisper through their leaves while on the golf course.

Trees have always fascinated me.

It shouldn’t surprise you then that over the past few years God has spoken to me a lot through the image of a tree and the idea of roots down deep.

 


When I moved to New England there was something that happened within me that I could only explain through the picture of the transplanting of a tree.  Transplanting a tree takes a lot of commitment, forethought and follow through.  The roots of the tree have to be pruned the season prior to transplanting, a new hole must be dug and prepared, the plant must be positioned correctly and will need adequate care after the move.

What I found in my move to New England was that although the pruning was uncomfortable and the move was restricting and hard, once transplanted I finally had room for my roots to dig down deep and the ability to bear more fruit than I thought possible.

God had been purposeful both in the preparation beforehand but also in the where and the when of transplanting me.


And now, 2 1/2 years after I was transplanted I could see that my roots were deeper and my leaves were fuller.  And yet, there still seemed to be areas where there wasn’t much fruit, areas where there SHOULD have been fruit.  I began to ask questions of why I act and respond certain ways in different situations.  Questions of why I struggle with certain sins.  Questions of why I wasn’t seeing the type or amount of fruit as the care and conditions should see.  These questions birthed from a place of believing that there was more for me than I was seeing and that this “defect” had to come from somewhere.  The asking wasn’t consuming but I was becoming convinced that there had to be a reason why, there had to be a source, and God could show me.

And so, a year ago God began to answer.  And it was through the picture of a tree that God answered me.

God showed me, that I had become a stable tree.  My roots were deep and my leaves were healthy but there was an area that wasn’t seeing it’s potential.  He showed me deep into the root system, to the very beginning.  He dug down deep and revealed that sometime in the infancy of my tree a strong weed had taken root and that it had wound itself around my roots and pretended to be a part of the tree.

The weed hadn’t hindered my trees overall root strength or tree healthy but it caused areas to go without nutrients and to produce less fruit.  It wasn’t that anything was wrong with me and it wasn’t anything I  had done.

But it was time for something to be done.  My roots were deep enough and I was strong enough to survive the deep work that He needed to do.  If He had tried before I wouldn’t have been strong enough.  God needed to dig down deep and separate my true roots from the impostor.  He was going to rid me of the weed forever so that the areas that once lacked vitality and fruitfulness would now bear all the fruit that was intended.


Over the past year that is what God has done.  He has gone deep to rid me of the weeds.  And as He has worked He has also continued to speak to me about Roots Down Deep.  It is only if I will allow my roots to continue to go deep that I can withstand His rooting out the weeds deep within.

Growing up in the desert I was always amazed at the depth of roots some plants (and weeds) could produce.  The lack of water forced their roots to go deep.  The easy nutrients were found above but the life sustaining ones were found deep down.  Even in the driest of times, if you dig down deep you will find the nutrients for life.

The work is hard and painful and is taking time but the results I can already see and are worth it.

The only way to survive being transplanted, survive the weeds being dug out of life or the dry seasons that inevitably will come is to have roots down deep; to go beyond the easy and momentary to the eternal and everlasting.

If you have struggled with why God would wait to deal with or heal something in your life, I hope this image gives you hope and strength.  It is God’s love that waits as we become strong enough and it is also His love that goes deep to rid us of those weeds.  His timing is perfect.  His ways are eternal.  His love goes beyond even our pain.

Will you trust God and allow your roots to go down deep?  Will you push past the momentary and trust the Everlasting.

Keep trusting but don’t stop asking and believing for the fullness of His healing and love.

 





Identity: Determining the Relationship

4 10 2016

I went to a smallish bible college for my college education.  And I’m not sure about most colleges but at my school relationships and dating were weird.  Our campus and student body was so small that no matter what you did everyone was watching and noticing.

There was a phenomenon in college called “DTRing”  DTR stood for “Determining the Relationship.”  A DTR happened when two members of the opposite sex had been hanging out a lot and on one side or the other questions of where this newfound friendship were going arose.  A DTR conversation could be identified by the following:

  1. A male and female were sitting alone at a bench or table.
  2. Normally there was an abnormal amount of space between the two.
  3. At least one of the individuals looked extremely uncomfortable.
  4. Both were serious.

A DTR conversation could happen because friends were questioning the friendship or due to a desire from one participant to be more than friends.  A DTR was meant to determine what their relationship was: dating or friendship.

I wish I could say that I never had a DTR but unfortunately I participated in a few too many of these.  And while the concept is mildly amusing to think back upon I can’t help but think that when we are talking about our identity as image bearers of God, that we are made for relationship with God and others, that we must Determine what our Relationship with the World will be.

Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about.

If we are made in the image of God we have to understand who God is.

God is love. – 1 John 4:8 “he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.

When I say love what do you think about?

This love that speaks of God’s love is the Greek word “Agape.”  This love…

..is considered a benevolent love which means that this love that is God’s very identity is a love that gives the recipient (you and I)
something we can’t receive, make, find, earn on our own.

..sees something infinitely precious in the recipient – not because of something
they have done or not done but just because of who they are.

..is not shown by doing what the recipient desires (wants) but instead
what the one who loves deems as needed by the recipient,
even knowing this may lead to rejection.

God’s love for man is His doing what He knows to be best for man, not what man desires, because He sees us as infinitely precious to Him.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you look at Jesus, Jesus was not the Messiah, the Savior they wanted but He was the Messiah, Savior they needed.

God loved mankind enough to give us what we needed (and still need) knowing that mankind could continue to reject Him.

God’s love for us is not motivated or manipulated by our rejection or disobedience.

Romans 8:39 “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We, as humans, cannot show this type of love to God or others without first receiving God’s love – it is only God, in His Holiness, who has such an unselfish love because this love is rooted firmly in the personal character of God. God’s love is a part of his personality and cannot be swayed by passion or diverted by disobedience.

God’s love isn’t based on how we make him feel – it is willful. He chose to love us and He continues to carry that love out.  

If we are made in the image of God, and love is a part of His personality/His very identity – then doesn’t that mean that we are made in the very image of love?  It is out of His identity of love that our identity and purpose are redeemed. Jesus redeemed our identity and redeemed our purpose of relationship with God and others.

And so, we must determine what our relationship with the World should be. Our Relationship with the World must be one of love – God’s love.  A love that…

..gives what people need not what they want.

…is willing to be rejected to truly love.

..is based on seeing those we love as infinitely precious and
deserving of God’s truth, God’s life.

 ..is not based on our feelings but based on willful purpose.

What the World desires is to be accepted just as they are. To be accepted in their brokenness and chaos.  They know nothing except brokenness.  Their true desire is love, God’s love, but they don’t have even a basis to know what that is.

Eph 5:1-2 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Luke 6:27-28 “But to you who are listening to say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Are we willing for the World to dislike us if it means they will experience God?

Are we willing to be rejected to truly love others?

Will we resolve to love and not tolerate, no matter what it takes?