Deeply Rooted in Christ | May 7th, 2018
Spring has sprung! I love this time of year when everything seems to be alive with vibrant color and energy. Baby birds are chirping loudly, squirrels are out of hibernation playfully chasing each other up and down the trees, green grass has begun to spread, and the magnificence of God’s paintbrush at work is all around. Signs of new life are everywhere you look!
I even find reminders of spring when I am out hunting for vintage costume jewelry to repurpose. I am especially fond of this 1950s sunny yellow glass flower I found – a vintage Weiss clip earring which I repurposed into a ring:
I always look forward to those first warm days of spring so I can begin doing what I love…digging in the dirt. There are usually a few droopy flowers left over in the ground after the cold winter, along with several hearty, pesky weeds needing to be pulled up as well.
After picking out a variety of bright, welcoming color at my local nursery to fill in the empty flower beds, I decide exactly how I want to arrange it all. I then take each plant out of its plastic container, breaking up the roots so they can spread more easily and form a good foundation for the plant.
After digging several small holes for their new, much more natural environment, they are ready to be placed in the ground. It is so therapeutic for me and incredibly gratifying to see the gorgeous display of color when I am finished. I can officially say “goodbye” to gray, dreary winter and cheerfully welcome spring in full color!
Before you have established a relationship with God, your life can look a lot like those colorless flower beds filled in with weeds. The weeds represent the sins in your life that can grow deep, sturdy roots if you let them.
The more you live for yourself, the less God becomes a part of your views, motives, beliefs, and life plans. These weeds take over as you try to be the one in control. It is only when you give up complete control to the Master Gardener that you start to see the weeds disappear and beautiful flowers take their place.
After giving your life to Christ, you become a brand new creation on the inside. He gives you spiritual eyes to see much differently – to look outwardly toward Christ rather than inwardly toward self. You begin to see all the different weeds in your life that have grown deep roots, leaving no space for the beautiful flowers, the fruit of the Spirit, to come through.
When you choose to live for Christ, the fruit in your life is evidence that your character is becoming more like His.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Some of those weeds have such deep roots that it will simply take time and a lot of work between you and the Holy Spirit (your helper) to uproot them. It is the constant struggle between worldly passions and your passion for doing that which will please God.
The Apostle Paul experienced this exact struggle in his own life:
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:18-20
If those weeds stay deeply rooted, you will not be able to grow in your relationship with Christ. Three of the most common kinds of weeds that often have the deepest roots in our lives are pride, worry, and bitterness.
If pride is deeply rooted, it will reign on the throne of your life as king and arrogantly rule it. Pride exalts self above God, killing your passion and desire for Him. There is no room for a relationship with God or for bringing Him glory when pride is there. It is self-destructive and a relationship destroyer of God and others. Pride is behind every sin committed.
God desires for you to have a spirit of humility instead of pride. For those who follow Christ, this means living in complete dependence on Him with no reliance on self. How freeing is that to know He wants you to rely on Him for everything! There is nothing you must do in your own strength when you are living in His will. He has the perfect plan for your life that will bring you the most joy and the best possible relationship with Him, so it just makes sense to fully depend on Him and not on yourself!
If you struggle with pride, confess your sin to God and ask Him to replace your pride with humility so He can be King of your life.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Psalm 10:4
“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2b
When worry is deeply rooted, you are not fully trusting God. It is so easy to worry about significant things in life like your health, finances, and relationships. But worry increases stress and decreases peace. It keeps you in a continual state of anxiety, increasing stress hormones which can have a toxic effect on the body leading to serious physical consequences such as heart attacks, stomach ulcers, stroke, and depression, to name a few.
Interestingly, the earliest meaning of the word worry came from the Old English verb wyrgan which meant “to strangle.” Worry can definitely choke the peace right out of your life!
Instead of worrying, God wants you to trust Him completely. When you give your worries to God, you can then view your circumstances from His perspective. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and can easily handle anything that comes your way, no matter how difficult it seems.
If you struggle with worry, ask God to replace everything you worry about with a deep trust in Him so you can have the freedom to totally rely on Him to care for you and give you perfect peace.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Deeply rooted bitterness is the result of an unforgiving heart. If you harbor bitterness, it will alienate you from others because you cannot love when you are unforgiving. You may not want to forgive in an attempt to cause pain to the one who hurt you. But ironically, you are the one who will end up suffering most!
Bitterness keeps the focus away from God, making it impossible to have an intimate relationship with Him. If you have been wronged, know that it is God’s job, not yours, to make things right. He simply wants you to forgive so you do not have to carry around the heavy burden from bitterness.
The act of forgiveness is obedience to God. In the Greek, the word forgive is aphesis meaning, “a sending away, a letting go, a release as from bondage or imprisonment.” God desires for you to have that freedom and makes it very clear in His Word that as a follower of Christ, you are expected to forgive when someone wrongs you, just as He does for you.
Once you forgive, you are released from your anger, resentment, and bitterness which gives you the freedom to love again and receive the healing you need to be spiritually healthy. It is then possible to restore the relationship between you and God when you are living in obedience to Him.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32
Stay Focused on Christ
There are many other weeds that can become deeply rooted in your life when you are focused on yourself rather than on Christ, creating distance between you and God. Once your focus becomes directed on Him, He will reveal to you exactly what needs to be uprooted with His help. This is how King David prayed when he humbled his heart before God:
To stay focused on Christ for an intimate relationship with Him, spend time regularly reading His Word. When your mind is set on what He desires, you will be less controlled by your sinful nature and more controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5
Ask the Master Gardener to reveal the kinds of weeds you need help removing from your life so you can live in freedom as the new creation He has made you to be.
As the weeds begin to disappear, the beauty of Christ inside of you will take their place, becoming deeply rooted with a strong foundation. You can then reflect God’s desire for you to live a life abundantly evident that the old has passed away and behold, the new has come!
Sparkler #1: Prayer
Ask God to strengthen the vision of your spiritual eyes so you can keep your focus off of yourself and onto Christ with a deep desire for Him and a passion for what He desires.
Sparkler #2: Action
Be the new creation God has made you to be by humbling your heart, asking Him to reveal to you the weeds that need to be pulled along with the courage to let them go.
Sparker #3: Challenge
Make time to read God’s Word each day so you can have a more intimate relationship, giving Him complete control so your life will reflect His beauty seen in the undeniable work of the Master Gardener.
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