“Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
In Acts Chapter 20 Paul in mind of the reality that this will be his last time seeing the Ephesian Elders gives his last words of instructions. In verse 28 he said “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” in verse 29 he would go on to say “ I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. ” He encouraged them to pay attention and stay alert to not only to the enemies from without but a stern caution of warning regarding the enemy within. It was a warning that yes we have to stand against external enemies but internal enemies are also a threat. To tell the truth, it is easy and comfortable to confront external enemies of the gospel because it’s easier to look for the enemy from without and confront him than confronting the enemy from among your own self because that typically means me. That typically means my own heart.
The similarities in heart and spirit with many of the external enemies of the Gospel that have been exposed culturally as we walk through the book of Acts and the enemies of the gospel we see in today’s society and culture are uncanny. It’s important to point out the similarities and the same spirit of these enemies to see that the enemy is using the same tactics but whats even more important yet not often asked is how did they the church continue to stand? The enemy has continued his attack up to this very day but how did they the church not only survive but continue to grow and blossom despite it all. How did they get from there to here though the enemy was using the same strategy of attack? It’s because confronting the external enemy though a good and called thing to do is not what kept them standing nor will it keep us. It’s confronting the internal one. The one that would say give in or give up. The one that would say do nothing. The one that would be fine with fighting the enemy outside while deep decay is growing inside until you spiritually fall away and die being rendered ineffective to fight altogether whether internally or externally. It’s about having a specific focus and care for the church. The church that lives in you and the church that lives in your fellow members of the flock. It’s about cultivating the roots that are not seen. The ones that cause the beautiful and mighty tree and all of its fruits that are seen to stand. There is a quote I love from J.R. Tolkien that says “Deep roots are not reached by the frost”. Growing up in New York and seeing vivid expressions of all four seasons this quote stands out to me. I’ve seen the same tree that beautifully blossomed in the spring become bare and look like it was dead when all the leaves fell off in the fall and then both the ones without leaves and the ones that still had leaves get Completly covered and frosted by blistering cold weather and snow. But when the spring came back around again the once bare frosted tree started to sprout leaves and bear fruit again. Why ? because “deep roots are not reached by the frost”. That being said one thing that I’ve learned in Phoenix Arizona is if you expect that tree to make it through the summer you can’t just spray water on the external parts of the tree. You have to target the roots and water them much. Yet still, it’s the trees with deeper roots that even make it through the seasons of drought more often than the ones with shallow roots.
That being said every year we intentionally take the 1st Wednesday of every month during the times we do community groups to come together as a body for a time of collective discipling. While some times we focus on many of the external issues of the culture around us that often divides the church this year we will be looking internally. We will be focusing on cultivating and deepening our roots so as to be able to stand regardless of the season the culture we live in is experiencing and regardless of the various seasons in our personal lives. We will be focusing on building and growing mature Christians internally. From root to fruit.
We invite you to join us during our first Wednesdays discipling series Cultivating and Deepening Our Roots. 6:30 pm in our learning center Childcare provided.