Posted 24 Jan 2013
Ephesians 3:17 (ANIV)
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, …
Why do our “roots” matter? Think about a plant that has shallow roots, how easy is it to pull it up? Pretty easy! Now think about a plant with deep roots that go way down into the soil. That is a LOT more difficult to pull up! Even a small sapling tree is next to impossible to uproot, & as for a full grown tree… you ever tried to man-handle that out of the ground!?
In Ephesians chapter 3, Paul was praying for us specifically that we would be ‘rooted and established IN LOVE’. It is the love of Jesus the Christ that keeps us safe & sound.
If our “roots” are shallow, then we can be uprooted, given sufficient “pull”. What might that “pull” be? Perhaps an incident of some kind, an accident, redundancy, financial difficulties, health scare, etc. If we only have shallow roots into love (for Jesus) then we can be uprooted & “blown about” by the incidents & events of our lives. I am not saying that we can ever be pulled completely out of the love of God – the Bible tells us that this is impossible. But we can stunt our own root growth, & therefore be “blown about” by winds of adversity, if our roots remain shallow. Deeper roots won’t prevent adversity coming our way, but they will certainly help us to remain rooted & grounded in love (of Jesus) & to thrive EVEN in adverse conditions, if they are deep.
Distractions, difficulties, too much TV, being fascinated by what the world has to offer, these are the things that vie for our attention. What’s behind the distractions? The Devil tries to get our attention focussed on anything other than the love of Jesus, because he knows that once we are focussed on anything else, we won’t be developing roots that go any deeper into the love of Christ. That’s the Devil’s goal, to distract us from the love of God, & to uproot us from the love of God, just like in Jesus example of the first 3 types of seeds in the parable of the Farmer sowing seeds .
If we deliberately pour our time & efforts into getting to know God & the love of God, then our roots will grow deeper & deeper down into that love, & we will become like the tree, impossible to uproot. If we ignore the distractions of the world, the flesh & the devil, then we are making a deliberate decision to focus instead on the love of God. When we are overflowing with the love of God, then we can share that love with those people we encounter who really need it. Out of the love stored up inside us, & replenished daily, God will be able to show His love for other people, through us.
BUT WE CAN ONLY SHARE WHAT WE OURSELVES KNOW. So again, if our love for Jesus is small (like our roots) then no wonder we achieve so little in advancing the kingdom of God. (I write this to myself, rather than anyone else!)
Love is both the beginning & end: it was God’s love for us that saved us (Christians) in the first place, & it is God’s love that sustains us now.
In order to move out into mission & ministry we need to have experienced & to keep being “topped up by”, the love of God. Any type of mission & ministry is really any & all activity that involves giving out the love of God to other people. We need to be OVERFLOWING with the love of God, because any activity attempted without an overflow of God’s love will merely be done in our own strength: there won’t be enough of the love of God to “fuel” the ministry or mission activity. It’s at that (depleted) point that we may feel ourselves “running on empty” or else so concerned & distracted with the enormity of the task in sight, that we are unable to achieve it. However, if we keep ourselves so full of the love of God, that we overflow, THEN we will see God achieve great & wonderful things on our behalf, & operating though us, in the various ministry or mission activities we engage in. LOVE is the fuel for ministry or mission activities. Love is the key.
Top priority = our roots going deeper into the love offered to us every day by Jesus. From that ‘deeply rooted in love’ position, God’s love for other people will shine through us. It will be both natural & easy to love other people BECAUSE we first know Jesus’ love for ourselves. You can’t give out what you don’t have or know yourself.
The rest of the verse & next verse give us the context of Paul’s prayer:
‘And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, 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 fulness of God.’
It is the our infinite delight to grasp the enormity of the love of Jesus for us. But if we don’t spend enough time soaking up the love of Christ, then we will have those small roots mentioned earlier. It’s only when we spend time contemplating the love of Christ; getting to know Him more; allowing Jesus to reveal His astonishing love FOR US, that our roots go deeper & deeper down into that love. Christ offers us His unique, monumental love every day, BUT WE HAVE TO AVAIL OURSELVES OF IT. He won’t force his love upon us, He’s far too much of a gentleman for that! So it has to be our deliberate choice to seek that love. Seek & you shall find.
How do we grow deeper roots? By praying to Jesus & asking Him for a better, bigger revelation of His amazing love or us. By nestling closer to Jesus. By reading the Bible, which is God’s great love letter to us. By spending time in prayer, pouring our hearts out to Jesus, & allowing Him to pour His love into our hearts in return.
It takes time to grow deeper roots, but I’m convinced that when we take the time to do it, we will become so solid in the love of Christ that we will not be able to be uprooted.
I KNOW I need much deeper roots, in order to appreciate Jesus more; in order to move out into Bible Cartoons ministry & mission more fully. But above all, I KNOW I need the love of God to TRANSFORM me. I need a fresh revelation of Jesus’ love, daily, in order to shake off depression & sadness that has plagued me for years; in order to put behind me, once & for all, regrets; in order to move from the shadows of fear, out into the light of the love of God, & into more freedom & joy & peace, than I have ever known before.
I believe the love of Jesus the Christ is my “ticket” out of the shadows & into the light. I want to be at peace, in EVERY situation. I want to know TRUE JOY, in every situation. I want to be able to say what Paul says in Philippians 4:12-13, ‘I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.’
Lord, I want more of you in my life. Help me to daily appreciate the enormous love you have for me. Amen.
Do you want deeper roots, that go down into the love of Christ so far that NOTHING can uproot you? Then commit yourself to spending more time with Jesus, in prayer & reading the Bible. That’s what I’m going to do.
Matthew 13:3-9 (NLT)
3 He [Jesus] told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
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