LandMarks Magazine  
   

May 1997 Table of Contents

 
 

Rooted and Grounded
By Cody Francis

Our only safety is to be rooted and grounded in the love and strength of Christ.

 

Paul says in Ephesians 3:16–19, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; 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 knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” What experience must we have? We must be strengthened by His Spirit, so that we can be rooted and grounded in love. We will never fully understand the mysteries of God, but unless we are rooted and grounded in His love, we will not understand the dimensions of God’s love, or have Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith.

 

In Revelation 13, we read about the image to the beast. “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Revelation 13:13, 14. From these verses we see that the devil will instigate the enforcement of the mark of the beast. What will his first deception be? Miracles. Today, more than ever, people are putting their faith in miracles. To many minds, if something “miraculous” takes place, they believe it is a sign of God. But are miracles a test? They are not.

 

Satan’s second method is a false Holy Spirit movement, a false Pentecostal experience based on feeling. The underlying issue, with both of his great deceptions, is getting people to trust in feelings. When you do not have the peace of Christ, the devil gives you something in place of it. He gives this emotional, “feel good” experience.

 

What does God’s Word say about that? Peter says something very interesting in 2 Peter 1:16–18: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” Peter here recalls the transfiguration, where they were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ majesty.

 

The transfiguration was a type of the second coming. Elijah was there, representing those who will be alive when Jesus comes. Moses represented the dead who will be raised. This was the most dazzling sight that human eyes had ever beheld. It was awe inspiring. Look at what Peter said in the next verse: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy.” Is God’s Word above miracles? Is it above dazzling sights? It is! Peter said, “We saw the transfiguration, that miraculous sight, but we have a more sure word.”

 

Our senses can deceive us. Feelings can deceive us, but God’s Word never will. “We also have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.

 

God’s Word is the only sure, stable thing on which we can base our faith, on this earth. It is, as the psalmist said, a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. (Psalm 119:105.) It shows us the way we should go, and is the only foundation on which we can build.

 

Abraham’s Test

 

There are many examples of faith over feeling in the Bible. Faith is simply taking God at His Word, even when we do not feel like it. It does not take faith to accept what you believe. And so faith is actually putting God’s Word over feeling.

 

The most severe test ever to come upon a mortal was when God directed Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Did that go against Abraham’s feelings? It was directly opposite to all of his loving, paternal feelings for his precious, only son. For three days, as Abraham and Isaac journeyed up to Mount Moriah, Abraham was tormented by a fierce inner conflict. He could not understand. It did not make sense. How could it be? The promised Messiah was to come through Isaac’s lineage. If he sacrificed Isaac, the Messiah could not come. The devil was whispering in Abraham’s ear, “Thou shalt not kill.” (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 148.) But Abraham knew that God had instructed him, and he would obey. Abraham knew that his feelings did not matter. He had to put God’s Word above feeling, above inclination—and that is what we must do.

 

Dependence on feelings will be the devil’s great deception in the last days. He will use it to have the national Sunday law passed, by people relying upon feeling. But the Bible says that we have to rely upon God’s Word. It does not matter how many people are against you. If Abraham had told anyone what he was doing, they would have said that he was crazy. We must rely solely upon God’s Word to be rooted and grounded. It must be the basis for our every action. We must be willing to stand by God’s Word though the heavens fall. The Bible says, “The word of the Lord endureth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:25. We must stand upon this firm platform.

 

How do we become firmly rooted and grounded in Christ? It takes more than just a casual study of God’s Word. Ellen White tells us in The Great Controversy that, “None but those who have fortified their minds with the truths of God’s Word will stand through the last great conflict.” The Great Controversy, 593.

What does fortified mean? It means strong, built up, strengthened. Is it a casual reading here and there? No. Do a tree’s roots ever stop growing? What happens if its roots stop growing? If the roots stop growing, the tree dies and it falls or is blown down by the wind. The Bible refers to the righteous as a tree, as a palm in the desert, and as the cedars in Lebanon. So, likewise, our roots must never stop growing, pushing deeper and deeper into the soil of God’s Word.

 

As we study God’s inspired Word for eternity, we will go even deeper. We can read God’s Word forever and ever, and always receive a blessing, and learn more truth. We must go deeper. We can never say, “I am rooted and grounded.” We have to constantly send our roots down deeper. There is danger of having a superficial experience, content to cling to the surface.

 

In the time of Jesus, there were Jews that had the entire Old Testament memorized, and most had the first five books of Moses committed to memory. They could quote you chapter and verse, but it had not taken root in their lives. They still rejected and crucified the Son of God. Knowledge alone will not save us.

 

The True Source of Wisdom

 

1 Corinthians 2:5 says, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” The wisdom of men will not suffice. Our faith must stand in the power of God. When Paul wrote this verse he was contemplating his work in Athens. The Athenians were worldly wise. When in Athens, Paul had matched wisdom with wisdom, and philosophy with philosophy. But in his next field, Corinth, he “determined not to know anything save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2. Philosophy and wisdom do not change the heart and life.

 

We must be searching for the truth as for hidden treasure. A gold miner cannot just pick up the gold of the ground. He has to dig down deep to find the precious treasure. That is where the truths of God’s Word are—in hidden veins that take time, effort and energy to gain. If we are satisfied to pick up a few of the nice pretty rocks on the surface, our faith is based on the wisdom of men, not on the power of God.

 

Jesus said to the Jews in John 5:39, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they that testify of me.” It is only as we learn of Christ, and accept Him into our hearts and lives, that we study so that we can ask and learn what it is Jesus wants us to do. Then we not only have the wisdom—the head knowledge—but we also have the heart knowledge.

 

I tell those I study with that, “A lot of people are lost by eighteen inches.” Eighteen inches is the distance from your head to your heart. Many are content to have the head knowledge, but not that personal connection with Christ. They are not studying so that they can know the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Many are studying to gain knowledge to explain all the prophecies and symbols in the book of Revelation. But one of the reasons God gave the prophecies is that the Day Star might arise in our hearts and we would be converted. It is not something which we can gain of ourselves, or get by going to church every week, by listening to what other people say. We must make the effort for ourselves. We must be digging deep into God’s Word.

 

The average life of a fundamental Christian is seventy-five years. He spends six months in worshipping, six years in eating, nine years in amusement, seven and one-half year in dressing, six years traveling, nineteen years in working, and twenty-three years sleeping. Do you think there’s some time that we could carve out? It says that we spent six years in eating, nine years in amusement, but only six months in worship. Who are we putting first? Are we putting God first, or are we putting amusement or appetite first? Jesus said: “Labor not for the meat” or food “which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” John 6:27.

 

Very few people go for a day without eating. Why? Because when you do not eat, it is hard to work. You become faint and weak. If we neglect reading God’s Word for just one day, spiritually we grow weak. It does not matter how much we know. If we are not daily sending roots deeper and deeper—if we are not being strengthened by reading God’s Word every day, we are not being rooted and grounded, and we will not be saved. We will be shaken out unless there is a true reformation in our hearts and in our lives.

 

 

Spiritual Growth

 

For a plant to grow and become rooted and grounded, it needs water, air and sunlight. The Bible refers to water. Jesus said, “I will give you living water from God’s Word.” When we spend five, ten or fifteen minutes a day, we are only sipping. He did not say, “I will give you a teaspoonful.” (David said, “my cup runneth over” Psalm 23:5.) Jesus said, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14.

 

Water is the best thirst quencher there is. People drink substitutes like soda pop, but it only makes them more thirsty. Living water is all that will satisfy, and living water is God’s Word.

 

Another requirement for growth is air. Prayer is the breath of the soul. A person can live for only a few minutes without breathing, for a few days without water, and for a few weeks without food. Do you see then why we are told to “Pray without ceasing”?

 

Our prayers should be more than a formal routine. Jesus said not to use vain repetitions in prayer. Prayer should be like talking to God as to a friend. True prayer is not just saying a few set words, then getting into bed. True prayer is where we receive our strength, our nourishment, and where we receive our life.

 

The third requirement for plant growth and strength is sunlight. The Bible refers to Jesus as the “Sun of Righteousness,” that will “arise with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2.

 

Not only do we need to pray and spend that time drinking largely from the fountain of living water, but we also need to be doers. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24–27.

 

It takes more than reading from God’s Word. It takes more than prayer. If we are to be rooted, if we are to stand upon the Rock, we will be obedient to God’s Word. Then it will completely transform our lives. Jesus said, “If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31, 32.

 

Do you want to be a new creature in Christ? Then you must be rooted in Christ, and continually growing to reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. You must have continual growth, or you will wither away and die.

 

Take time every day to dig deeply into God’s Word. Breathe the fresh air of God’s power and strength through prayer. Allow the Sun of Righteousness to arise in your heart. Do not be a forgetful hearer, but instead a doer also. Then, my friend, when the winds come, and when the storms rage around you, you will be found securely fastened to the Rock.

May 1997 Table of Contents

 

       
 

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