I love trees. I really love big shade trees. Living in the South has given me a love for shade and the trees that produce shade. Shade is life in the south during the summer. Well, it’s pretty important from about April through October.
When my husband decided to cut down the ONE tree in the backyard offering us any escape from the scorching rays of the sun, I was not happy. Not happy at all. The tree also shaded several rooms in the house from the glaring rays and limited the heat trying to penetrate our home. Oh, and it was covered with pretty flowers most of spring and summer.
Okay, to be fair. My husband bowed to my wishes for a pool. But I still stubbornly protested the cutting of the tree even after I knew every time the wind even threatened to blow; petals from the crepe myrtle would cover the pool’s surface. Sigh! Ten years of tree growth and shade would end with a few chainsaw cuts.
My husband whacked the tree. And then we left town for a week.
When we returned, we had a new crepe myrtle bush! Since we didn’t have time…well, we had the time just not the muscle and fortitude…to cut out the roots, the tree sprouted. And when I say it sprouted, I mean it sprouted and it grew a LOT! Picture #2 shall be admitted into evidence.
Hubby attacked the “bush” with loppers and then sprayed it with some sort of poison. And guess what? The tree started sending up shoots from the roots several feet away from the trunk of the tree.
The tree continued to live and grow – however it could – because we didn’t cut out the root. Eventually, we hired two guys willing to whack away at the roots for several hours. Once the beast of a root was out of the ground, it was hauled into the woods and put on our burn pile, covered with more tree trimmings and left alone for several months. A few weeks ago, we burned the pile and the fire burned for over 12 hours.
Roots are tricky sticks – both in our yards and in our lives. In our lives, if our roots are connected to Jesus and the roots are in good soil – the Word of God – then roots can be strong and life giving. I wrote about good roots here.
Our beautiful crepe myrtle reminded me of those roots that aren’t so healthy and beneficial like – unforgivenss, bitterness, jealousy, lust, and other unsavory sins. If we only deal with the surface part we see and don’t dig down deep to get the root out, the “issue” will come back with a vengeance and threaten to take over our lives. The deception is that the bad root isn’t always recognized as a bad thing. It’s more subtle. Unforgiveness can look like justification. Jealousy can look like achieving success or healthy competition. Lust can masquerade as love.
When our tree sprouted after the first whacking, it looked beautiful and full of life. It was full of life. But the truth is if we allowed it to continue to grow, we would be right back where we were before. The problem would not have been solved. And when the roots started to sprout after the second whacking and poison application, they were closer to our house’s foundation. Had they been allowed to grow, our foundation would have been destroyed.
We had to get the roots out.
It’s the same for our lives. We can know there is a problem and whack at it a little bit (or a lot) and think we’ve solved the problem – until it rears it’s ugly head again (or maybe it looks luscious and full of life.) So we whack it again – only to have the roots go deeper and spread until the very foundation of our lives – our faith, marriage, relationships, or even our jobs are threatened and facing destruction.
So we have to get the destructive roots out, let the Holy Spirit purify us and establish a life with a good root system – a life with Christ leading and guiding us.
Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up
to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15b
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. Psalms 51:2
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
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. Ephesians 3:16-17
I especially love the Colossians 2:7 verse because it lays out a path for us.
Be rooted in Him by reading the Bible, praying, and spending time with Jesus.
Your faith will grow strong in Truth
You will overflow with thankfulness
How about you? Have you ever had to pull out a deep, stubborn root in your life? Do you have a stubborn root?