Monday, November 13, 2017
Download MP3 (right click to save)
John and Becky were gone when this huge windstorm hit their neighborhood. Although no one could be sure a tornado was involved, the winds were clocked at 70 miles an hour. John and Becky told me that when they returned later that day, their street was closed. A huge pine tree had blown down, and it fell right across the road. Now other kinds of trees had lost some branches, but the wind had actually totally uprooted this evergreen. Well, a neighbor explained to John that it really isn't that hard to uproot a pine tree – no matter how big it is. Because even though it's a big tree, it has shallow roots. So, it's relatively easy to bring it down.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Strong Storms, Shallow Roots."
Now, there are a lot of "pine-tree-Christians"-some even big and beautiful Christians-who have shallow roots. And that's why they keep falling.
Jesus talked about vulnerable believers in our word for today from the Word of God, Luke 6:46-49. He says, "Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock (or shall we say developed deep roots). When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation (or had shallow roots). The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
Okay, two kinds of Christians here-just like the two kinds of trees: one with deep roots that can withstand a storm and one with shallow roots that gets felled by the storm. Look, with the times we're living in becoming more stressful and more uncertain-and even dangerous-it's pretty important to be sure that your commitment to Jesus is deeply rooted.
Shallow spiritual roots? Well, they come in several varieties. There's environmental faith-the kind that's strong when you're in your Christian world but it caves in when you're not. And then there's second-hand faith. That's a faith that isn't really yours firsthand-it's rooted in your parent's Christianity, or your church's faith, or your pastor's faith, or your Christian friends. There isn't really much going on directly between you and Jesus. That's not going to survive a storm.
Stagnant faith-that's another form of shallow roots. Not much new has happened between you and Jesus for a long time, and consequently, He seems farther-He seems less real than He used to. And when a test or temptation hits, it's just not going to be enough to keep you standing. And one other kind of "shallow-roots-Christianity"-event faith-the kind that depends on the next spiritual event, the next high, the next big, Christian experience to keep you going. In between, you go into a deep valley. That kind of relationship with Christ is going down eventually.
Jesus' parable about the two houses is a call to a strong foundation...to deep roots. And He tells us the difference between storm-proof and storm-wrecked faith. It's not whether or not you know what He says. No, both these people knew what He said. Both the man whose house stood and the man whose house fell, "heard" what Jesus said. The difference was putting what Jesus said into practice.
The question is, are you regularly getting into God's word on your own-and then are you immediately going out and acting on what you read? It's immediate assimilation of God's words into real life situations that makes you a little stronger each day. So you read or listen to God's Word and you ask these two questions: "What did God just say to me?" and "What am I going to do differently today because He said it?"
And every time you do that, your roots go a little deeper into Jesus. Meetings won't do it, theology won't do it, a great Christian environment won't do it. It comes from letting Jesus change you through His Word a little bit each day. That's spiritual reality. That's deep roots. The kind that will leave you standing strong no matter how fierce the storm.