We had lived in our home for a few years before we experienced one of the coldest winters on record. For days the temperatures hovered in the negative numbers, worsened by a brisk, northern wind that was downright brutal at times. For endless nights we shivered, bundled under layers of blankets, listening to nature’s fury unleashed, as those frigid winds howled and battered our little abode. Spring was certainly a welcome sight that year! But as the flowers were popping with vibrant colors, and green was beginning to grace our landscape once again, we noticed that the hedges bordering our property were not budding, no leaves, no green, no nothing, only brown sticks. Obviously they had fallen victim to the ruthless winter they had endured. My heart was saddened by the fact that they did not survive the harsh temperatures, for now they would have to be pulled from the ground. Without those hedges in place to keep my active brood of toddlers within the confines of our yard, I envisioned a stressful summer of chasing kiddos all over the neighborhood.
One day as I was out mourning the loss of my toddler-gate hedges, my elderly neighbor read the panic and concern on my countenance. She was definitely old-school, raised on a farm, knowledgeable, and wise. Don’t you worry about those hedges, Sweetie, they ain’t dead; the roots are fine. What you do is cut ’em back, close to the root, give ’em some time, and they will come back good as new. We carefully followed her instructions, painstakingly cutting away the dead branches, trimming as close to the root as possible, waiting impatiently to see if our sweet neighbor was right. And right she was! Those unseen roots WERE still healthy and life-giving. Gradually those small humps of dead brown sticks found their way back to green and healthy foliage. Thirty-five years later the hedges are still intact, thriving year after year, surviving on that strength stored in those deep roots.
Christ is our nourishment, vital to our stability and growth as a Christian. Our faith cannot be strengthened apart from deeply immersing ourselves in the person and the work of Christ, as we are “rooted and built up in him.” Deep roots will yield mature fruit in our lives. Sometimes when we are distracted by the world, burdened under life’s stresses, busy with our daily responsibilities, our branches lose that close connection with our Root. When prayer and Bible study are squeezed out because of our time commitments and overtaxed schedules, our fruit loses its luster, our testimony becomes stale. It’s then that we need to cut away some of those dead sticks and draw closer to Christ.
Christ warned us that “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” He demonstrated His deep love for us when He provided eternal salvation for us, so draw close to Him and His Word, drink in that nourishment from the Root, and “Grow in grace.” As you “Draw nigh to God,” He promises to “…draw nigh to you.”
Colossians 2:6,7 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Lord, there is no growth apart from Your Word and the Spirit’s work in our lives. Help us to never be too busy to spend some time with You every day, close to the Root!<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-609-6391ea7697591' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=609&origin=wp.blog.blog.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-609-6391ea7697591' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-609-6391ea7697591' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>