My husband and I have been working at digging out some small bushes that have formed a boundary down one side of our garden for many years. They’ve become old and woody and we want to replace them with some prettier shrubs. We had no idea when we began the job – just how hard it would be to get these little bushes out. Having chopped them down to just above soil level, we began trying to dig the first stump out, but the ground was hard and the roots went down a long way. We dug deep and pulled hard but there was no budging them. In the end my husband decided he’d have to tackle the job with an axe and a sledgehammer.
As he swung the axe and hammered and dug and pulled – the words ‘rooted and established’ came to mind. Those bushes were certainly rooted and established in that ground. Even with the axe and sledgehammer we still haven’t managed to completely remove them, and I’m very sure that after we’ve planted the new shrubs, one day we’ll see the old ones shooting up again from those remnants of the roots we didn’t manage to separate from the soil they were planted in.
It was such a picture of just how deeply rooted and established we are in the soil of God’s love. When I looked up Ephesians 3:17-18 I was reminded that Paul doesn’t pray for us to be rooted and established in God’s love. He bases his prayer on the fact that we already are rooted in the love of God, just like those bushes whose roots had gone down so deep, and that we are established in the love of God, like a house that stands on a broad and deep, solid and firm foundation. His love for us is so strong that it holds us absolutely securely and we can’t be pushed, pulled or plucked from that place. Paul’s prayer is that we would know (as much as we can) the truth of the richness, the splendour and the greatness of the soil of that amazing love we are held in.
Just as the roots of those bushes are utterly inseparable from the ground in which they’re planted, we’re held just as safely, just as securely in the rich soil of the love of God. And nothing can change that. Paul asks the question, ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’ We could probably add to his list … things like: my fears, my insecurities, my doubts, my sin, my pain, my wounds. But then Paul answers the question for us, ‘For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:35, 38-39)
In our heads we know this is truth. But because of life’s experiences our feelings can often tell us the opposite. We may feel insecure, we may doubt, we may feel unworthy or have deep-seated fears. Maybe you wonder how you can really know deep in your innermost being the deep peace and joy that comes from being held so securely in God’s heart of love.
Having come from a place of being absolutely adamant that God couldn’t possibly love me, I want to encourage you that, though it is a work of the Holy Spirit, there are vital steps we can take to actively enter into the prayer that Paul prayed. Spending time with God is important. It’s very difficult to develop a relationship with someone, and to know you’re loved by them, if you don’t spend time with them. And spending time with others who know Him and His love is important too, as well as developing a thankful heart attitude, feeding on His Word, taking it in, and allowing it to penetrate deep. These are the keys to coming into that place we all want to be – of truly knowing just how strongly and safely we’re held in His love.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the truth that I’m rooted and established in Your love. I know it in my head, but I long to know it deep in my innermost being. Please help me not to be passive, but to actively yield to Your Holy Spirit as You draw me into that place of truly knowing just how securely I’m held – so securely, in fact, that nothing can pluck me from Your arms of love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship. Provided full acknowledgement is made to Seeds of the Kingdom as the source, you are also welcome to use it in a non-commercial way and reproduce it in magazines or other Christian websites. The copyright for any commercial use of the material remains with Ellel Ministries International.