Have you ever tried to uproot a tree? I don’t mean a little one…
I remember as a teenager helping my dad remove an old and less-than-healthy cherry tree that sat in the middle of the front lawn of our family home in San Jose, California. All of us were tired of stepping on cherries every time we walked up the front walkway and decided it was time for the tree to go. So we started by removing all the branches, and left only a large branchless trunk sticking out of the ground like a totem pole. Next, we dug a deep ditch around the bottom of the tree, severing as many roots as we could cut. Finally, we tied one end of a heavy-duty rope to the top of the 20-foot trunk and the other to the frame of our family station wagon…
I will never forget watching the back wheels of that station wagon lift off the ground as my dad tried to pull that cherry tree out of the ground. Now, mind you, this wasn’t just any old station wagon. No siree! Dad didn’t want to try to merge onto the highway in a sluggish car, so he installed a Chevy 454 big block engine—yes, in the family car! And even though we had enough horsepower in that car to beat back every drag racer in our city, that tree refused to budge until we spent a lot more time digging it out.
I want my life as a Christian to be like that cherry tree, don’t you? I want to be “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith” as Paul writes about in Col 2:12. I want to be like the tree of Psalm 1 that is “planted by streams of water,” and not like the wicked who are “chaff that the wind drives away” (1:3-4). I want to be established in Christ (2 Cor 1:21), standing firm in the Lord (Phil 4:1) and having a heart directed to the steadfastness of Christ (2 Thess 3:5). In short, I long to be a man who lives as though I am rooted in Christ, since the Bible claims that I am in fact already rooted in him! And I pray that you long for this, too.
Then when someone starts promulgating false doctrine, like they did in Colossae, claiming that Jesus isn’t enough and that you need something more than Jesus if you really want to succeed spiritually (Col 2:8, 16-23), you will be so rooted in Christ that you won’t pay attention to their claims. And when hardship comes your way because of your Christian testimony, or when suffering comes knocking at your door simply because you are a member of the human race, you will remain steadfast in Christ. And when you are falsely accused and shunned and dishonored and overlooked and snubbed, even though any observer would attest that you are seeking to live a God-honoring and righteous life, you will press your roots even deeper into Christ, and draw all the sustenance you need from the soil where your roots make their home, that is, from Christ.
For, you see, if you truly know Christ, then you have been connected to Christ the way our stubborn cherry tree was connected to the soil. But unlike that cherry tree which finally came out after hours of struggling to uproot it, there is nothing whatsoever that can dislodge you, no power that can move you, and no force that can remove you since you are rooted in Christ.
This is one of 100 devotional readings from my new book: How to Live an ‘In Christ’ Life: 100 Devotional Readings on Union with Christ. Note that every reading in the book is two pages long, the same length as this reading.
Here are a few Scripture snippets indicating our rootedness in Christ:
“rooted and built up in him and established in the faith” (Col 2:7)
“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ” (2 Cor 1:21)
“stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved” (Phil 4:1)
“May the Lord direct your hearts…to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thess 3:5)