Rooted

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. – Ephesians 3:16-19

The longer I walk and reflect on this journey of life and faith the more convinced I’ve become that love is the deal. Jesus came to reveal the depth of God’s love for us. Faith is daring to believe that we are indeed loved that much, unconditionally. And that love heals (saves) us and sets us free to love one another.

Paul’s passionate prayer above is that we might know and experience that love of God. On the one hand that sounds a bit crazy, like praying that your five-year old will eat desert. Who wouldn’t want that kind of love? But the truth is we need God’s power and strength to be open to receiving that love. A love that great, a love so freely given, frightens us. It humbles us, making us vulnerable, exposing all our schemes to earn it, to stay in control and cover up our guilt and shame.

I recently read Paul’s prayer as part of my devotions and got to thinking about what it means to have our “roots” grow down into the soil of God’s love. What a great image!

Roots grow slowly and steadily over time. So does our trust in God’s love for us. We’re constantly growing into that love, surrendering more and more of ourselves to it. A plant can’t outgrow its roots, nor can we outgrow our rootedness in God’s love.

Roots anchor a tree so that it can withstand storms. None of us escapes the storms of life, but the deeper our roots grow into the soil of God’s love, the less likely we are to be toppled. We may still suffer and struggle. We might lose a few leaves and branches. But in it all we remain rooted. I have found that to be true time and time again.

Roots take water and nutrients from the soil, feeding the tree so that it can grow and bear fruit. Sinking our roots deep into the soil of God’s love through prayer, meditation, worship and reflection on Scripture feeds our soul, growing us into the likeness of Christ, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Today, ask God to empower and strengthen you so that your roots may grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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