By Trina Bresser Matous
Twenty years ago I went to England to visit my grandmother. Because she was a wonderful gardener, I loved collecting seeds from her garden to grow in my own. All these years later, I still have sweet peas that came from seeds in my grandmother’s garden. The plants that grew from those seeds have survived bone-chilling cold winters and sweltering hot, dry summers.
A recent attempt to dig up a plant showed me just why the plants have suffered no ill effects, despite wide-ranging weather conditions. The key, it turned out, is in the roots. In relation to the sweet pea vines, the roots are thick and grow very deep. In fact, they were so deep I did not get them all when I dug the plant up. The roots on my sweet pea plant and the lovely flowers that come as a result are a perfect picture of the faith God wants us to live in.
Just as with plants, our roots provide nourishment. In moments of confusion, roots in scripture can give us clarity. In moments of relational discord, roots in community can give us stability. In moments of temptation, roots in who we are in Christ can give us resolve. In moments of uncertainty, roots in God’s will can give us vision. And in moments of accomplishment, roots in Christ can give us humility.
A plant in poor soil will not reach its full potential. Likewise, setting our roots in the wrong medium can cause us to fall short of our God-given potential.
Here are three ways we can ensure we are putting down roots that will grow deep and sustain us through life’s joys, trials, disappointments, and hardships.
Saturate ourselves in God’s word.
Throughout scripture God not only reveals Himself to us, He also conveys who we are to Him:
- We have been bought with a price and belong to God. (1 Cor. 6.20)
- We have been chosen by God and adopted as His children. (Eph. 1.3-8)
- We are complete in Christ. (Col. 2.9-10)
- We are God’s workmanship. (Eph. 2.10)
- We can approach God with freedom and confidence. (Eph. 3.12)
God’s word is called the living word because He is constantly revealing new insights and truths to us as we continue to read it.
Remember the past.
Repeatedly in the Old Testament, God’s people were called to remember (Deut. 4.9, 6.20-21, Josh. 4.4-9). If they did not remember what God had done for them in the past, they would lose hope in the future. The same is true for us. If we fail to remember what God has done in our pasts, how He has redeemed us, given us purpose, blessed us, and provided for us, we will have no hope to fall back on when trials and hardships beset us. Remembering reminds us that God has been at work in our lives and will continue to be at work in the current circumstances, as well as those yet to come.
Engage in fellowship regularly.
Our culture today places great emphasis on independence. We are encouraged to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, be our own boss, and not rely on others as we strive for success. In scripture, however, we are called to interdependence. God says He will be our God and we will be His people (Jer. 31.33); Jesus invites all who are burdened to come to Him (Matt. 11.28); Paul reminds us that we are to submit to one another (Eph. 5.21); and James reminds us to confess our sins to another and to be praying for each other (Jam. 5.16).
None of us has all the answers. Regular fellowship with other believers allows others to speak into our lives with words of encouragement, hope, rebuke, and challenge as the situation warrants. It allows others to provide for our needs when life overwhelms us and pray for us when hope has all but disappeared.
One more fun fact about my sweet peas: though my seeds came from my grandmother’s garden, she originally collected her seeds in my mom’s garden at my childhood home here in the States. Those seeds developed strong roots in multiple gardens on different continents for several generations. Our roots, well developed, can provide fruit to many people in different circumstances, cultures, and generations.
How do you ensure your roots grow deep and strong? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear!
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