17b that you, being rooted and grounded in love
Reflection On This Scripture
We learned yesterday the desired result of the Holy Spirit is “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” As He rearranges our inner life, He wants every aspect of our lives to be established in God’s love: “that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” Paul is using two metaphors to describe how foundational love is to the believer’s life; rooted, which is botanical, and grounded, which is architectural. Let’s look at both of these metaphors a little more closely.
When a seed sprouts, the ﬁrst thing it sends out is a tiny root to hold it’s position in the soil and start drawing in water. The tree roots cling tenaciously to the soil in order to better absorb water and nutrients. Love is the soil in which believers are rooted. When you first heard the Gospel, seeds were sprinkled upon your heart. It was the Holy Spirit who made your heart soft for the seeds to penetrate, and even at this moment He is working in your heart to make those roots go down deep. The word of God is the water from which you get your nutrition, because it is only through God’s word that you learn about His nature, character, and desire. Paul is saying that we should be so rooted in the love that God has for us that whatever may come, we are secure. Today I am not asking you to work to be rooted; I am encouraging you to trust who God says He is, and the love He has for you. According to Jeremiah 17:8 the person whose trust is in the Lord “is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
When a house is being built, setting a proper foundation is a key aspect. Jesus spoke of building on solid foundation in His sermon on the mount (Matthew 7:24-25) “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Now Paul is praying that believers would build upon the truth of God’s love for us. If our foundation is built on anything but the love God has for us, it is faulty. When storms and trials come, we will wither away because we do not understand the love of our Father. We live in a world that loves with conditions. Let me explain. I will love you as long as you don’t do ______(fill in the blank), but the moment you mess up I am taking my love back. We bring that understanding of love with us when we first believe, and if we don’t search scriptures to learn about God’s perfect love, we think He loves us the same way the world does. But that’s not what we find when we read scripture. We see the opposite- that in spite of us God still loves us. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1John 4:10-11). Our foundation to which we are rooted and grounded is that He loves with a love which is perfect, without limits, and without fear or conditions.
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