Everyone has roots. They’re from somewhere, and it shows and becomes part of them. The culture that you are from effects what you eat, the kind of music you listen to, the kind of clothes you wear, the language you speak, the religion you follow, and so much more. Our roots affect us in our daily life. They are important to us. We want to know where we came from, who we belong to. If our physical roots affect us this much what about our spiritual roots? When I say spiritual roots, I don’t mean where the church came from, or where our religion came from. I mean, where are we growing? Where are our roots growing? In the world or in Christ?
In order to figure this out, we need to evaluate our lives. We can do this by asking ourselves some questions: What do I spend my time doing, studying God’s word or something else? Who do I spend the most time with, my Godly friends or my worldly friends? What do I talk to people about? I consider myself to have my roots in God’s Word, but when I asked myself these questions, I got some answers that I didn’t like. As I thought about it, I realized that there is a lot I can do and I’m not. I like to write stories and read books, and I spend a lot of time doing that when instead I could be studying and reading the Bible. I’m not saying that doing those things that I enjoy is wrong. What I am saying is that when we spend all of our time doing them, it becomes wrong because it takes God’s place as number one in our life.
My roots are mostly in God’s Word, but still, too many of them are in the world. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The beginning of the verse tells us not to be conformed to the world. Just like with our physical roots, our spiritual roots help to shape us and make us who we are. So if our roots are in Christ, we will be like Him. Unfortunately, the same is true of the opposite, if our roots are in the world then we will become like the world.
So how can we change where are roots are growing? I would suggest to you that you take the answers of the evaluation and look at your life. When I got an answer that told me I was putting other stuff above Christ, what part of my life gave me that answer? Figure out what needs to change and what can stay the same. Once this is accomplished, look at your spiritual life and decide what would be best to work: prayer, Bible study, encouraging others, etc. Replace what was being put above God with this. Sometimes it helps to start small. When you decide to get in shape, you don’t just go out and run a marathon. You start by running shorter distances and training your body. This is the beginning of your spiritual body’s training. I am not saying that you must only do spiritual things and can never go to the movies or things like that. When we go to the movies, out to eat, etc., we can use that as an opportunity to spread God’s Word. We just need to pay attention to how much we do that. Going back to the marathon illustration, how do you get out of shape? You don’t watch yourself. You put the wrong stuff in your body, and you don’t do anything to take care of it. That can happen with our spiritual bodies. When our roots are in the world, we are putting the wrong stuff in it, and we’re not taking care of it. We need to start training for our marathon.
Why is this so important? Why do we need to train ourselves and take care of our roots? We’ve already talked about how if our roots are in the world the world will shape us, but think about a plant. A plant’s roots are what give it life. If you pull a plant out by the roots, it won’t live anymore. Where you put its roots also affects how well the plant will grow. This is the same for us. If we put our roots in Christ, then we will get eternal life, but if they are in the world, we will get death (Romans 6:23). If we are planted in God, then we will grow beautifully and strong, but in the world, we will wither and die. It makes me think of Psalm 1, specifically vs. 3-6, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers. The wicked are not so but are like the chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteousness; for the Lord know the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
A plant’s roots also keep it anchored and hold it steady. When the wind blows, or a storm comes the roots keep the plant where it is. James 1:2-3 tells us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” So when the winds of life and sin come blowing on us our roots will be what keeps us steady. Where our roots are planted will be important. If you have ever weeded a garden or a flower bed, then you know that plants in a different soil can be easier to pull up. Another factor to that is how deep the roots go. If we aren’t deeply rooted in Christ, we will be easier to uproot.
This applies in our everyday lives. Every day we need to evaluate ourselves and see what we have done that needs to change. Every day we need to train ourselves in Christ. Every day we need to be sure that our life is centered around God. Every day we need to grow our roots in Him and his Word; if we do these things, the storms of this life will not be able to shake us.
By Re’Elle Crowell