When I was shopping recently I saw a greetings card with the words: ‘The best things a parent can give a child are roots and wings.’ I thought about this and realised that these are gifts our Father God, the best parent in the whole universe, offers to us.
In our verses for today Paul prays for our roots to ‘go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love’. When we become Christians we are transplanted into the rich soil of His love with all the potential for our roots to go down deep and become anchored securely in Him, and from there to grow in maturity, stability and integrity. By God’s amazing grace all the potential is there for each one of us … but it is not a done deal! God freely gives His love to us … our part is to receive it!
For some, that’s easier said than done. I remember a few years ago being very shallowly rooted in my faith and easily knocked off balance by the smallest of things. I wanted to receive the love that promised to give me the strength to fly on wings like eagles above the storms of life, but I didn’t know how. I looked in all the wrong places, but from somewhere deep down I was crying out, ‘How do I receive Your love, Lord?’ I just didn’t know how to let my roots sink down and draw up the nourishment I needed. One of the most important ways I learned was reading my Bible … not in an intellectual way, but really feeding on God’s Word, receiving into my innermost being the truth of who my Father God is, and allowing it to strengthen me.
As I am writing this, I am reminded of how Jesus explains the parable of the sower and the meaning of the seed that fell on stony places and sprang up quickly but soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died. He says ‘… this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself but endures only for a while’ (Matthew 13:20-21). That’s like us when we’re not consistently drawing nourishment from the Word – we’re shallowly rooted, weak and easily wither. But Jesus goes on to say, ‘But he who received the seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.’ (Matthew 13:23) There’s something about reading the Word, feeding on it, meditating on it, gaining understanding that not only causes our roots to sink down deep but causes us to grow and bear fruit for the Kingdom. The Word of God is truly ‘living and active’ (Hebrews 4:12) or as some versions say, ‘full of living power’.
I used to think other people had to somehow do it for me – feed God’s love into me, be the vehicle of His transformation in my life. I think if we’re honest many of us have thought that – and it’s true that God does work through His people. But an important lesson for me was learning to take rightful responsibility for myself, regularly dwelling on the treasure trove of the Scriptures, discovering the gems that tell of our Father’s great love, His grace and mercy, His faithfulness, goodness, kindness, gentleness and even His discipline. As I have drunk in from His word what He is like, He has taken my roots deeper and deeper into His love so that I have truly been able to put my hope in Him. As I continue to drink in His Word I find I grow in the strength He gives, the strength of His love that lifts us up to fly in the freedom Jesus won at Calvary for us all.
‘But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint’ (Isaiah 40:31).
Prayer: Father God, thank You that Your Word truly is living and active, and that it is freely available to me. I am sorry that I haven’t really dwelt on it and allowed it to nourish me as You intend. Please help me to feed on the Scriptures and the precious truth they contain of who You are and who I am as Your child. Help me to allow You to take my roots deep into Your love, so that I can become strong in You, and fly in the freedom of the abundant life Jesus won for me. Amen.
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