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Are You Rooted or Held?

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7 NLT

Appearances can be deceiving.

This morning while watering my outdoor plants, I noticed a withering vine. I couldn’t tell anything was wrong with it until I stood right next to it. From a distance, the entire plant appeared to be thriving, the little shoot disappearing into beautiful cascades of green blooming with bright pink flowers. But when I got close, a cluster of withered leaves drew my attention.

They hung there—limp—entwined and hiding among the healthy leaves.

A little investigation uncovered the cause. Strong winds from a recent storm had broken the vine at the top, disconnecting it from its life source. True to their climbing nature, leaves from the healthy shoots had wound around it, holding the broken piece in place, but their grip couldn’t offer the life it needed.

Being held in proximity to the root system is no substitute for being rooted yourself.

As I looked at the little broken piece, my heart began to stir for the church. I saw how the enemy has sent storms, strategically designed to sever our connection to Jesus. He has succeeded in more ways than we have realized.

Hidden within our churches, detached hearts languish and wither. From a distance, they appear to be growing and thriving alongside everyone else, but their prosperity is an illusion.

They are held, not rooted.

Instead of connecting to Jesus themselves, the arms of rooted believers hold them close to Him. They receive some level of strength from the people supporting them, their corporate experience of worship and fellowship offering periodic comfort to their wounded souls.

But it can’t restore them.

So, although they’re held close by loving members of the body, they continue to wither. Without personally connecting to Jesus, they will never thrive, no matter how entwined they are with the people who know Him.  

Unless we are rooted in Jesus ourselves, we forfeit our ability to bloom. Click To Tweet

Jesus said in John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

Jesus wants you rooted, dear one. He wants you to personally experience the depth of His great love for you. Only knowing that love becomes an anchor that sustains His life in you, even in difficult times. In Christ’s kingdom, storms shouldn’t destroy and deplete us. When we draw from the Life Giver, they only serve to strengthen us and establish victories over the enemy we didn’t know were possible.

Open your heart to the reality of God’s desires for you, beloved.

…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-18

God wants to fill you with the complete expression of who He is. It begins when you personally encounter His love for you and dare to return it. In that place of unbroken fellowship—rooted in His vast love expressed toward you—the Life He brings will begin to revive and restore what pain has left dead and broken in you.

Oh, dear one. Regardless of the condition you presently find yourself in, you can take hold of this miraculous promise. In Christ’ kingdom, broken and detached branches can be grafted back in!

And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. Romans 11:23

Precious one, don’t settle for earthly expressions of divine fellowship. Go to the Source. Dare to surrender your heart to the One who made it. Offer it to Him freely, and He will give you His in return. Confess your unbelief and invite Jesus to lead you.

And experience the love that will leave you overflowing with thankfulness.

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Unlikely Cherished Things

Confession time again.

Have you ever held onto a promise of God—watching, waiting, wrestling with the time it has taken to fulfill it—and wondered if perhaps you had been wrong to believe it? You reason that God might fulfill this promise for someone else, but what if He’s decided not to do it for you? What if this isn’t part of your blessing?

A part of my heart has been broken for a very long time. Nothing particularly traumatic or extraordinary happened to me to break it. Years ago, I simply made some destructive choices in search of acceptance. Choices that the world offers as commonplace and right, but that God warns will leave their mark. They did.

I had no idea the extent of the damage. Like most of us do, I looked at my life and the progress I’d made with the Lord and thought I was okay.

But God is too good to allow us to settle for okay. After all, His Son was beaten, bled, and hung on a cross to heal what sin’s damage left broken. To restore us. To make us whole.

Still, as much as God has transformed me and poured His grace into my life, in this area, I have not been whole.

And I’ve struggled with God over it.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve cried out to Him in prayer, surrendering this one thing and asking for healing. Yet I remain stuck.

While Living Water flows and empowers so many areas of my life, something has blocked its movement here. This place remains a dry desert.

This week, I revisited Numbers 13. I stood in the desert with Moses and witnessed God sending men from each tribe to explore the land He’d promised to Israel. After forty days, the men returned and reported what they had found.

“We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.” Numbers 13:27

They found the land exactly as God had promised. They even tasted the fruit available to them there.

“But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” Numbers 13:28

So they determined not to even try to claim the land God had promised them.

Listen, dear one. Twelve men entered the land God clearly said He was giving them as an inheritance (verse 1). They all witnessed the same things. They all saw that the land was good, and they all saw the fortified cities and fighting men.

Two of those men focused on the promises of God and received them into their lives. The other ten focused on the obstacles keeping them from attaining it. Those ten, as well as the rest of the Israelites who believed them, never left the desert. That’s where they died.

It struck me that I have had a similar experience to those Israelites. I have witnessed God’s awesome power to deliver and have left the captivity of much of my sin. Now I stand in the desert looking at the promise of wholeness God has placed before me, that He has promised to give me through His Word. I have even tasted the fruit of it as God has graciously allowed breakthrough moments that have shown me what’s possible in Him.

But those moments always fade, and the obstacles loom large once again. Still, I remain in the desert.

I can’t help but ask the question. Why?

I’m not particularly fond of the answer He gave me.

You see, just like those Israelites, I have kept myself in the desert. Part of me clung to its familiarity, even while I cried out to God to deliver me from it.

Somehow along the way, this very part of myself that I hated and cried out to God to restore became a cherished thing. I wanted God to miraculously heal it, but at the same time, I’m recognizing that I didn’t really want to give it up. It defined me. It was familiar. I actually feared the void it might leave if I let go of it. So I didn’t. I asked God to take it, but I wasn’t willing to hand it to Him. I said I was, but I’ve discovered that my heart didn’t agree.

And that was the problem, dear one. Because God will only take what we freely offer Him.

Yesterday, my Scripture reading took me to Mount Moriah. I wept with Abraham as he placed his cherished thing, his beloved son Isaac, on the altar of sacrifice. He didn’t allow the obstacles ahead of him—death itself—to keep him from believing God’s promise to bless him through Isaac. Hebrews 11:19 reveals that he reasoned God could raise him from the dead.

So Abraham placed his son on the altar, fully believing in the goodness of his faithful God. Expecting a miracle, he chose not to withhold his cherished thing.

And God provided a ram in place of Abraham’s offering. God didn’t take, dear one. He gave. And He multiplied Abraham’s offering. Instead of only the one cherished son, Abraham would have “descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17).”

Look at God’s response to His faithful servant.

“I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you . . .” Genesis 22:16-17

What are you withholding from God, dear one, that blocks the flow of His blessing into your life? As I discovered, sometimes the things we’re holding onto aren’t even good things. They’re destructive things. Things we’ve convinced ourselves we need, when actually they are the very things that rob us of the blessing we desire through them.

God doesn’t empty, beloved. He fills. He swears on His own name that He will do it.

“I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld ____________________________ I will surely bless you . . .” Genesis 22:16-17

Will you believe Him?

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