A young woman told me that she had discovered that the best way to water her lawn was to leave the sprinkler in one place for about three hours. We briefly discussed that the roots will develop where the water is: light watering develops surface root systems. However, surface roots quickly wither. More water enables the roots to go deeper, helping the plant survive heat and water shortages.
It occurred to me that people are like that too. We need to have deep roots and an abundant supply if we are going to be able to survive prolonged trials, or perform in a godly manner when our normal resources are limited.
The New Testament talks about being rooted. The last part of Ephesians 3 contains Paul’s prayer for his readers. He prays, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . that you, being rooted and established in (His) love, may have (His) power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love (of His) that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
The love of Christ is extraordinary. It is unconditional: we do not have to be loveable to receive it. It is everlasting: nothing we do or don’t do will cause Him to cease loving us. It is sacrificial: while we were still sinners, he died for us.
It is enduring: He endures the hatred and rejection of those he died for. It is a “doing” love more than a “feeling” love. And it is an available love, one that we can grasp the extent of, if we have Christ in our hearts.
I have discovered that my love withers rather quickly. It is not at all extraordinary. It extends easily to the loveable, but it tends to dry up if I don’t see any merit or attractiveness. And it doesn’t want to express itself if sacrifice is involved, being more likely to come and go instead of enduring. I’ve also discovered that when my love is given in response to the way others treat me, it is because I am feeding on something that builds my ego . . . shallow roots indeed.
Unfortunately, a good long dose of ego builders will not produce a deeper root system.
Instead, the Bible says that, “This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son . . . ” Genuine love is from God, and because He loves us as He does, He offers us His Son so we can love one another in the same way. Being rooted in that kind of love requires going to the cross where the love of God was expressed, admitting our lovelessness, and receiving that One who died for us.
Then, as love is required, there is no need for ego trips and other shallow-rooted motivation. We can extend our roots into His love and meet the needs of others, regardless of their condition or response.