Friday, April 22, 2016

Rooted and Grounded

Here it is again! That all too familiar feeling of insecurity, of feeling unloved, of not being connected with the one I love the most. I know that feeling and can now recognize it when it sneaks up on me - the desire to whine, to manipulate schedules, subtle or not so subtle hints that I am unhappy, leading questions to get the words said that I want to hear.

I start feeling insecure when I am looking too much to the love of my spouse, children or friends, when I am wanting validation from others that I am lovely or cherished or worthwhile. The Apostle Paul explains what is going on with my soul. I am not believing and living out Ephesians 3:17b:
And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love ...
Rooted means to strengthen with roots, to render firm. Spurgeon says it is "like a living tree which lays hold upon the soil, twists itself round the rocks, and cannot be upturned". Just like when we had to uproot a rosemary bush in our back yard in order to pour a new patio. It took two burly men digging for at least an hour to uproot it so it could be transplanted. Those were deep roots!

Secondly, my soul is grounded - made stable or established "like a building which has been settled, as a whole, and will never show any cracks or flaws in the future through failures in the foundation." (Spurgeon again) Just like our house here in Texas is NOT.

Our house is built on Houston black soil. According to the USDA, this soil is "characterized by the presence of a mineral in the clay fraction called smectite. This mineral swells markedly when moist and shrinks when dry" causing foundation movement and cracks in the walls. Before we purchased our home, we had to have the foundation inspected and we discovered that it was in dire need of shoring up with steel rods. It certainly wasn't grounded. 

I am not like the soil under my house because my foundation is Christ.
So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic (Isaiah 28:16).
The more literal Bible versions seems to say this is a done deal, a statement of my position, whereas the modern English translations present this as a future request inferring some action on my part.
Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. (NLT)   
May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. (TLB)
As I don't claim to be a Greek scholar, I offer that it might be both. First, as a child of God, I am, by right of inheritance, rooted and grounded in God's love. But while this is true of me, I still tend to forget it during those times of insecurity. So enter the Apostle's prayer that my roots would grow down deep into God's love and make me strong. Jesus' parable in Luke 6:47-49 gives me a clue for how to do this:
As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.
I am to come to Christ, hear his words and put them into practice if I want to have a life that is secure (rooted and grounded) and not shaken by the inevitable hardships. So I tell myself the words do I need to hear and put into practice today. The "rock" that I build my life on is:
  • God is love
  • He first loved me
  • God demonstrated his love by sending Christ to die for me
  • He is my Father, my Abba
  • He names me
  • He has given me unlimited resources to strengthen my inner being
  • He dwells in me
God is my foundation. God is love. I am rooted in love. I am grounded in love. I know I am loved, therefore I am secure. Then, everything I do is out of love, for love, by love, as a result of love, in order to love. And I will not collapse when the surrounding soil shifts with the storm. I will not be stricken with panic but can remain in the faith, established and firm, without shifting from the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23).

As the tree draws its source of life, moisture and nourishment through the roots from the soil, so I am nourished in the love of Jesus. As the roots anchor the tree to the ground and cause it to stand strong and not be blown away by windstorms, so I draw my sustaining power, stability and security from the love of Jesus. 

The next time I feel that familiar feeling coming on, I will say with conviction and belief - I am rooted and grounded in God's love. Then I will obey the truth that I am loved and act like it.

What is that all familiar feeling that you struggle with?
Are you acting like one who is rooted and grounded in love?
Which of his words do you need to hear and put into practice?

Prayer
Precious Father, just as I received Christ Jesus as Lord, help me to continue to live my life in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as I was taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6-7).

Other entries in this series:
More and More at Home
Unlimited Resources
Named by God
Let us Kneel