My daughter, Regina brought me a beautiful vase of flowers while I was in the hospital last month.
I brought them home and they brightened my kitchen with cheer for two weeks before they died–then they dried out, got ugly and produced a nasty stench.
We all know cut flowers die because they are cut off from the source of life.
We’ve all had times in our life where we felt cut off from Jesus, wilting, withering, fading, wasting away, even stinky.
Blossoming flowers look great before they’re cut or picked, but without soil or water they wither more quickly than grass. (Job 8:12).
Job used flowers to illustrate the hopeless condition of man in this world.
He is like a flower that is soon cut down, a shadow that slowly disappears, a hired man that puts in his time and then is replaced. (Job 7:1).
Isaiah warned the corrupt politicians of his day that the fire of God’s wrath was coming and would burn them up like cut flowers that had no roots, beautiful for a time, but destined to die and turn to dust.
God Understands Our Weakness
When I experience grief, pain, feel hopeless, or forsaken by God; I top it off with guilt and shame! How quickly I forget God’s compassion.
God understands our pain. God came to earth–perfect love packaged in a human to deliver us.
Jesus experienced the cruelty of the world. He understands grief and pain. Never did He say, “Buck up and get over it.” Jesus forgave people when they messed up. He encouraged them.
Jesus invites those with heavy burdens to come to Him and let Him carry their pain. He want us to stay properly rooted in God’s forgiveness. We won’t experience God’s power, unless we are rooted in a sense of God’s presence and promises.
Branching Out and Bearing Fruit
We can abide the source of all strength– in the living Christ and His Living Word. (1 Cor. 15:58) by being born again into “a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3) that grows stronger each day and eventually blossoms and and bears fruit.
Our job is to remain in rooted in Christ–continuing, continuous, deep-seated, enduring, ever-present, fixed in Him. In the knowledge of His unconditional love, His grace, His mercy. We can only produce fruit of Him (loved spilled out through us) when we are properly nourished by the living root.
The word “leviathan” is the transliteration of a Hebrew word, the root of which means “to twist, to writhe.” When a plant grows it struggles and branches out. The transforming power of God’s love pulls our stubborn will toward repentance and faith.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Ps 1:3
The roots don’t show but it is obvious the roots are there sustaining the plant. The plant can’t make itself grow. The growth is only in response to the nourishment from the root.
In John 15 Jesus said, “…I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”
In this chapter the word “fruit” is used six times, and “abide” at least fifteen times (but it is not always translated “abide”).As we abide in Him, His life flows through us and produces fruit.
Blossoming Through the Muck
C. W. Cranford tells of a a pastor that used a pure white orchid as an illustration. The tuber for this flower had once been covered by muck in a flood. But the owner had cleansed it, and tenderly cared for it, and after seven years of patiently waiting, this beautiful blossom had appeared.
In the same way God is trying to cleanse us from the muck of sin, trying patiently to bring out the beauty of character that is there, because it was for this God created us.
Love is not found in superficial Christianity–looking good on the outside– it is only in abiding in Christ. The Holy Spirit empowers us from within through the Word of God and prayer. Paul prayer was for God’s Spirit goes to work in us:
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth all knowledge, that ye might be filled will all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:17
Scripture sinks us into the rich nourishing roots of spiritual truth. Stories of God’s love and mercy through the pages prove to us God’s presence in our own lives.
When the disciples asked Jesus for more faith, Jesus replied even the smallest amount of faith (like a mustard seed, the smallest seed; cf. 13:19) could do amazingly miraculous things, such as uprooting a mulberry tree, a tree with deep roots (17:6).
Pray to be deeply rooted in God’s package of Love–our Living Savior– in steady position, drinking in the nourishment, like a tree rooted deeply in the soil, cultivated by abiding fellowship, prayer, and submission to God’s Word.