“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)
Growing up one of my favorite stories was "Fantastic Mr. Fox," by Roald Dahl. The book, first published in 1970, told the story of Mr. Fox who lived in a hole under a tree in the woods near some farms. As a kid reading the book I imagined what the hole looked like inside. I imagined the enormous root structure that would provide for walls and partitions between the rooms. In my mind’s eye the root structure had to have been incredibly deep and vast. The tree which Mr. Fox lives under with his family was inspired by a real tree at the edge of the woods near Roald Dahl’s property in the village of Buckinghamshire in the UK. The “witches’ tree” was a large, 150 year old beech tree. Its size and root structure inspired Roald Dahl to write the story. It was a healthy tree for more than 150 years because its roots grew deep down into the earth. Whether there was an actual fox who lived under the tree is still debatable.
The fact that trees can grow to be 150 years old, support life around them, provide shade and comfort is evidence of the importance of growing roots. With a strong root structure a tree can live for a very long time. Of course, this is true of many things. With the proper structure and nutrients things are healthy and healthy things grow. It is the same way with people. People who spend time growing roots are going to be healthier people. This can mean strong roots in their exercise and diet yielding physical health. It can also mean strong roots emotionally and intellectually as well. Spending time growing roots and feeding those areas of our life we want to grow will ensure growth.
It is the same with our faith. We are called to “Let (our) roots grow down into him (Jesus Christ), and let (our) lives be built on him.” We need to spend time putting down our roots in Christ by studying Scripture, praying, journaling, fasting, and Christian conferencing. These are the spiritual disciplines that help us grow deep roots for a healthy, vibrant, and growing spiritual life. In addition to personal spiritual disciplines we also grow our roots deep through studying together in Sunday School and short-term classes/studies. When we meet together and study together in these venues we continue to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God’s truth. Our roots grow deeper down into Christ and our faith grows stronger and healthier.
Growth is natural! When we grow our roots deep down into Christ our faith will grow strong. If you are not already involved in a Sunday School class or a short-term study at the church I encourage you to get involved. We want for everyone at St. Andrew’s to grow to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is a follower of Jesus whose life is centering on loving God and loving others. In this context we continue to grow to be disciples of Jesus Christ as we grow in our understanding of the truth of Christ and grow in our ability to love God and love others. Healthy things grow and healthy people grow. When we are spending time in study together and in our own spiritual disciplines we grow in our ability to love God and love others. I pray that we all find some time each and every day to grow our roots down into Christ so our faith will grow strong and we will overflow with thankfulness.
This Sunday we will continue our message series “Love Does.” It will be another opportunity to see what Love Does when we lead people to experience God’s grace through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I look forward to growing in faith with you in worship this week. I can’t wait to see you in church!