After a week with horrible weather, today (Saturday) has been a beautiful fall (autumn) day. Leaves are turning from green to red, orange and yellow and the day is clear, crisp and sunny. I’ve been looking longingly at recipes with ingredients that contain cinnamon, ginger, and cloves…warm, fragrant ingredients.
With the leaves changing color, you simply can’t ignore the trees. You can’t ignore their beauty and you certainly can’t ignore their leaves as they are swept into piles by the wind as they fall.
In September I focused on roots. Being rooted in Christ. There’s this verse that I’ve read often and it’s part of one of my favorite passages written by Paul, it’s Ephesians 3:17. Paul writes, “And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.”
Paul is talking about how we are to, in our all in all, be totally connected to God. To pursue maturity as a believer in Christ and to be strong in him.
Colossians 2:7 continues this thought of maturity as we grow in obedience in Christ and live for Him. It says, “Let your roots grown down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so that you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.”
Of course, all this root talk made me think of trees and how important it is for them to be rooted into the soil in order to get the nutrients for them to grow, for them to mature. We all know that shallow roots in plants do not make for permanent plants. The stronger their root growth and length into the soil the stronger they will be. Trees need deep roots in order for them to stay in the soil or they will be torn out of the soil if they face a storm.
Psalm 1: 3 says (in describing those who follow the Lord), “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither and in all they do, they prosper.”
When leaves fall off the trees, the leaves aren’t withered, they fall because the tree is working in joint with the change in the weather by storing up nutrients it will need to carry them into winter and into spring…so they will be able to bear fruit season after season. (Yes, I’m proud to have taken the Plants and People class at UC Davis, and can actually use the knowledge gained.)
In Jeremiah 17:5-8, it notes some wisdom from the Lord. It says, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They will be like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, on the salty flats where no one lives. But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.'”
The first part of this verse is an incredible reminder of how our lives would be without Him…I certainly do not know how I would survive without hope and confidence, so life without Christ does not look like some place I’d like to be…it sounds like a place of death. Now, life with hope in and confidence in Christ is, with all certainty, life…did you see the description of the trees in that second part…never changing, always green…no need to be concerned with preparation for the winter like the trees are doing now in Aberdeen. After reading the verse, I immediately began to think of the description of trees before the fall (before sin entered the world) in Genesis 1:11-13, 2:8-9) and how the trees are described in Revelation (Revelation 22:1-2) in the new Jerusalem, in the holy city, after Satan is defeated once and for all.
So what does one take away from this?
While the trees are getting ready for the cold, storing up those necessary ingredients, we too need to store up…store up our hope and confidence in Christ so that when difficult days come, we will not be ripped from our roots…we will stay strong knowing that our roots go deep in Christ. How strong are your roots?
Hebrews 11:5-6, in a description of Enoch that he was approved as pleasing to God…but how did he do this? By having faith and by sincerely seeking the Lord.
Strong roots…strong faith…consistent obedience…connection with the Lord and a grasp on his Word…extraordinary love…surrendered life…mature in the Lord.
Some other things I saw as I was out and about Aberdeen today.