Monday, April 25, 2016

5 Daily Activities to Create Deep Spiritual Roots

In the parable of the sower, Jesus taught that some people fail in their faith because they lack spiritual depth. When the trials of the world hit (and they always do), these people wither and die. Faithfulness requires us to put down deep spiritual roots. Below are three Bible passages that talk about putting down spiritual roots and five principles I've drawn from these passages:
Deep spiritual roots are the key to withstanding life's storms.

Passage 1: Psalm 1:1-3

Psalm 1:1-3
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Limit your time with people whose influence is spiritually shallow (Psalm 1)

The people with whom you spend time will influence you to become like them. To be sure, you can influence them as well, but if you are not intentional about the nature of your relationship, you will become like them more quickly than they become like you.
I often think of a ladder when I read this passage. Imagine two people on the same ladder, one desires to pull the other up and the other is working to pull their partner down. Gravity sides with the low man on the ladder. He will have a much easier time pulling the other down. Our natural tendency toward sin and selfishness causes us to get pulled down much more quickly than we pull others up.
Psalm 1 warns against spending too much time with those who live in opposition to God. They influence you toward spiritual shallowness. Implied in this Psalm is the need to surround yourself with those who will produce spiritual depth in your life. Allow yourself to be influenced by those who will ask tough questions, hold you accountable and encourage you toward faithfulness.

Immerse yourself in God's Word (Psalm 1)

Psalm 1 also declares the person who delights and meditates in God's Word will be blessed. The Bible is God's revelation of Himself to us. Everything we need to know about Him and everything we need to know about living a righteous life is included in its pages. Spiritual depth is the result of time spent with God's Word.
Meditating on God's Word indicates more than simply reading a passage, setting it down and getting on with your day. Meditating means you take God's truth with you throughout the day. You may not be able to memorize an entire chapter and recite it to yourself all day long, but you can identify a principle and repeatedly come back to it during the day. Perhaps you can write it down or email it to yourself. Maybe you can set an alarm on your phone reminding you to take a couple minutes to review what you discovered. Most importantly, seek opportunities to apply God's Word to your daily situations. As you do this, you'll discover a new depth to your spiritual life.

Passage 2: Colossians 2:6-7

Colossians 2:6-7 -- So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Continually demonstrate gratitude to God (Col 2:7)

In Colossians 2, Paul is encouraging a group of Christians to live consistently with their roots in Jesus' example and teaching. This is accomplished, according to Paul, by "overflowing with thankfulness." Saying, "thank you" every so often is nice, but a quick prayer of thanksgiving once a day is hardly "overflowing."
Causing anything to overflow requires filling it with more than it can handle. If you want to overflow with thanksgiving, you must FILL your life with more gratitude than you can handle. That means being thankful even when you don't feel like it.
Begin your day by giving thanks (you can start by thanking God that He woke you up). At various points throughout the day (meals), give thanks. At the conclusion of your day, give thanks. When things go well, give thanks. When others treat you with kindness, give thanks. When things go poorly, give thanks that they aren't worse. When others treat you with malice, give thanks that you are being treated like Jesus was. You can always find something for which to be grateful. The more you thank God, the more you'll be rooted in His Son.

Fill your mind with Biblical teaching (Col 2:7)

This may seem similar to an earlier idea, but an important distinction should be noticed. Psalm 1 focused on what you do on your own. Do you long to study God's Word? Do you carry it with you? Colossians 2 is focused on what you do with others. The key word in this phrase is "taught". You should regularly place yourself in relationships with those who can teach you God's Word.
You can learn from pastors, small group leaders, authors, podcasts, YouTube, blogs, friends, family members and even your children. The key is getting into places where you will hear the truth, submitting yourself to listen to the truth, and opening yourself to be changed by the truth. It's no secret that God's plan for us includes relationships with others. He created us to be shaped by our relationships. Allow yourself to be impacted by those around you so that you can develop a new level of spiritual depth.

Passage 3: Ephesians 3:16-18

Ephesians 3:16-18 -- I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

Choose love (Eph 3:17)

Concentrate on how much Jesus loves you. Paul wrote in Ephesians that God's love is wide, long, high and deep. In other words, it's way bigger than you can imagine. Think about that. The God of the universe loves you more intensely than you could ever love yourself. How do you want to respond to that love?
These verses say that we are rooted and established in love because we have Christ dwelling in our hearts. The more time you spend contemplating Christ's love for you, the more that love will spill out of you and into the lives of all those around you. More importantly, the more you think about Jesus' love for you, the more you will discover your love for Him.
At the end of the day, this is spiritual depth: to love and be loved by your Creator, Savior, Redeemer and Lord.

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