I have discovered another spiritual application as I continue to work in our desert yard. It relates to roots. There are some small Cholla cactus that have taken root from the segments that drop to the ground. Especially now, with so much summer rain they are growing profusely. I probably pulled up 20-30 of them. They pull up pretty easily since the roots are still small.
There are others, however, which have been allowed to grow for many years and because they are such a nuisance we are removing some of them. They are also called Teddy Bear cactus, but they are far from cuddly! Their roots are big and spread out. I was able to root up the small ones in the time it took to root up one older Cholla.
What does the Bible have to say about roots? Mark tells Jesus’ parable of the sower.
And He was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching He said to them: Listen! behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had not root, it withered away.Mark 4:2-6
Mark goes on to explain what Jesus meant by this seed with no root.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.Mark 4:16-18
This one with roots in the rocky ground, was not rooted in the word of God to know God’s faithfulness and His character.
Then there are the bad roots which may grow in hearts for years.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.1 Timothy 6:10
Money itself meets our needs; it is not evil. It is the love of money, the pursuit of money, the craving for money that causes all kinds of evil. Money is deceiving because it appears to be the answer to all of our problems. However, money cannot buy lasting peace or satisfaction; only the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us can bring fulfillment. We don’t have to worry and starve, God will meet all of our needs.
One more: the root of bitterness.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift up your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he decided to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.Hebrews 12:11-17
How does bitterness get into a marriage? Unforgiveness has a way of festering under the surface of a relationship if you do not fully deal with a conflict. If you are still rehearsing a conflict and problem in your mind repeatedly, then you still have unforgiveness. Unforgiveness leads to resentment and eventually to bitterness. The roots become larger and more entrenched.
In a marriage, what would happen if one spouse gave in to the other and said, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” That battle would be over. Then you might be able to sit down and calmly talk about the issue and arrive at truth and a real resolution.
We are so afraid of exposing our inner selves that we keep up fronts that hide our real needs. Thus, we never enter the oneness we desire in our marriage through trust and intimacy which we can achieve through conflict resolution. A kiss, a dinner, even sex does not resolve it. There must be conversation, understanding, humility and honest forgiveness.
It is through Christ’s love in us. Here is Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus, the church of Jesus Christ. We are to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. It is through his Spirit in us.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts though faith–that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you be filled with all the fulness of God.Ephesians 3:14-19