Putting down roots

Where are your roots? Isn’t it interesting how many times the Bible uses trees as an illustration of the Christian life? The Psalms compare people to trust God to trees planted by a river. In desert communities like what many of the writers of the Bible grew up in, planting a tree by a river was a great idea. It never ran out of water, even during the worst weather.

It’s just intersting to me that God uses trees so often to paint a picture of what following Him is like, even down to bearing fruit and being pruned.

The verse this morning doesn’t exactly mention a tree, but it does talk about roots:

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

When a person decides to follow Christ, He comes to live in that person’s heart. The more we trust Him, the deeper our roots will grow into God’s love, providing a safe place where we can find refuge, a best friend who will never forsake us, and a confident hope that everything in life will turn out the way it’s supposed to in the end.

But I saw something in this verse that I have missed on previous readings: Before we can begin to understand God’s love, we have to be rooted in it.

If we are rooted in God’s love, that’s where our confidence will come from. That’s where our feeling of safety will come from. That’s where our faith will come from. If we can grab hold of God’s love and build our life on it, knowing that He loves us and that He did the unthinkable to save us, we can begin to understand that love. Obviously we can’t understand it fully. It’s too big for us. But we can begin to grasp how much He loves us.

So many times we try to love other people before we really comprehend what it is for God to love us. Human love is such a fragile thing, and most of the time we end up making a mess out of our good intentions.

So before we even try to spread God’s love to other people, we’d better make sure that we are deeply rooted in it. Because how can we share something we have never experienced?