Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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You know, I've been told so many times in my life, "Go take a hike," so I finally did. Well, this particular summer I was at a lovely Christian conference center in California called Forest Home. One day when I wasn't speaking, they had a nature hike. They had a fellow called Father Nature who took us out (you didn't know there was a Father Nature I'll bet) and he showed us the four different kinds of nature zones they had on their property.
There was the river bed; the desert section, and so on. It's rather amazing from a scientific standpoint. And he showed us two kinds of trees: First, there were these beautiful White Alder trees. They grow lushly by the river bed and they wave their leaves. And he said they can evaporate up to 400 gallons of water a day!
Now, the roots of the White Alder are very shallow. They get plenty of water and therefore they have shallow roots. But when the floods come, oop, we've got a problem. He showed us the desert zone trees, and the ones in the desert survive on 40 gallons of water a year sometimes. How come? They use everything they get, and their roots are deep. Guess which one is still standing after a violent storm? Yeah, the one with the roots.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Saturated But Not Strong."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God is about those roots. Not so much the roots of trees in the desert or trees by the river bed, but God's trees—that would be you and me. Colossians 2:6-7 - "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Now, this describes the point of entry into a relationship with Christ. It says, "...just as you received Christ."
Do you remember when you opened your life to Christ how dependent you were on Him; how hungry you were to get into His Word; how boldly and frequently you prayed; how trusting you were? Well, you see, this verse is necessary to talk to us about our roots because we have a tendency to get lazy about those spiritual roots.
See, in many ways, we American Christians, are the White Alder tree that I described earlier—the one that has all that nourishment that evaporates up to 400 gallons of water a day, lives by the river bed, saturated but with weak roots. See, we're saturated with Christian resources. We've got Christian radio, and websites, and books, and TV, and Bible studies, and seminars, and conferences, and we're waving and we're celebrating. But we're depending on meetings and feelings, and events, and miracles, and experiences. We've got weak roots and we're vulnerable to the storm.
Now, you talk to Christians in the desert places like China, for example, and they know where their roots are: consistent, personal Bible study every day; fervent prayer; deep roots in the church; always learning...always growing. But we get lazy here in our spiritual rain forest. It takes a heavy hit to show us that what we have is broad but not very deep, and maybe then it's too late.
You know, maybe it's time now for us to see that our roots need to be growing, not just our leaves. Do you know some things about the Lord that you didn't know a month ago? Have you given Him some new ground that He didn't have a month ago? Are you praying in fresh, new ways? Are you going by the book and not by your feelings? Is your relationship with God mostly vertical...not horizontal, just when you're with His people?
Well, you could be saturated but not strong. You have to build your roots. Then when the storm or the drought comes, you'll stand tall through it all.