My husband and I are talking about planting fruit trees in the spring. The bigger the tree, the larger hole we have to dig to allow the roots to spread, reaching down deep into the ground to draw from the water below. The first year, we need to allow the tree to root deeply, so the focus isn't on the fruit. It will yield better fruit in time. If we leave the burlap bag on the roots, it will stunt the tree's growth and eventually kill it. I see the Christian life much like this. If we don't open up our hearts and allow the Love of God to grow deeply into our hearts, our growth will be stunted and our spirits will slowly die. However, if we spend time growing in our relationship with God, founding the truth in our lives, our roots will grow deeply. The winds of trouble can't uproot us and the breezes of our culture can't sway us. The love of our Savior brings fruit into our lives that satisfies.
On social media, I am saddened by the conversations I read in which a lot of Christians involve themselves. The topics are quite often disheartening. I watched a conversation about prayer and spiritual energy. It was appalling and sad to see people falling for the notion that spiritual energy could be sent out with our prayers. One of the questions asked was, "Does it matter if you pray with faith?" What?! Christians were involved in the conversation along with others of different religions. Naive people fall for the lies presented as truth and wonder why their prayers stop at the ceiling of the room.
Other topics have been entertained by Christians as well. I have seen many consult with psychics, accept various relationships as equal to or better than marriage, and the use of profanity. Oh, my! It really grieved my heart to see this. I believe asking His forgiveness for considering those sorts of things as okay would be more appropriate.
It appears that the roots of so many Christians today are still in the burlap wrap. The space to grow is too shallow so the roots aren't receiving the nourishment needed for the soul. These conversations and today's passage were weighing heavily on me enough that my workout will be later than I normally like. God deserves my time before anything else. So, here it is:
Today's passage comes from Ephesians 3:14-21:
"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
At the time Ephesians was written, Paul was in prison. In Acts 19, he upset Diana worshippers and those who sold statues for worship. He was beaten horribly by Demetrius the metalsmith because he and the other metal workers were losing money as a result of Paul and his companions preaching Jesus Christ, the way of salvation. It caused a riot, so the city authorities placed Paul under house arrest. Paul never renounced Christ nor did he apologize. He also was not rude or unloving in his message. It was out of love for Christ and people that he preached. He was simply God's messenger. Amazing how the messenger of Truth is the one "in trouble".
We aren't God; He is. When we yield ourselves to Him, submitting to His authority, love abounds in our lives. It doesn't promise us a life without problems. It promises that He will be with us when we remain firmly rooted in Him. Out of our love for our Savior, we will want to live the life He has for us. This dying to self is an act of worship to God. First, begin the relationship by praying to accept the loving sacrifice Jesus gave for your sins-- your messes. Second, yield yourself to His will. Third, root yourself firmly in God's Word. Nothing else is Truth than this. Let's get digging!
May God bless you!
Special note: the Love Tree shown is the picture used in the theme for the Churches of God General Conference Women's Ministries 2015 Spring Retreat. I do not know who the artist is. To learn more, http://www.cggc.org/ministries/womens-ministries/
Their tree logo appears here. http://womenforgod.org/web%20ready%20file.pdf