Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "He Keeps Me Singing"1 (Lyrics)
Hosea 12:6 – So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God. (ESV)
I have moved house recently to a chalet bungalow on the very edge of town here in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. The house is rather run-down and in need of major TLC.
There was a holly tree that was planted some twenty years ago to decorate the patio with its leaves and red berries — very pretty it was, too. However pretty it was, it was too large and too close to the house. Its branches overshadowed the roof guttering, and its roots were in danger of getting into the foundations. It had to go.
In addition, over many years, the tree roots had grown underneath and lifted some of the patio slabs well proud of their neighbours, making trip hazards and see-saws of the slabs. So I had to dig up and re-lay a large section of our sizable patio to the rear of the house.
To get this into shape again involved using various tools: pickaxe, shovel, crowbar, spade, etc. The slabs were heavy, and I am a lot fitter now! As Friedrich Nietzsche said, "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger." It certainly got the heart pumping.
As I removed the holly tree, I also found tree roots from the cherry tree —even bigger, but further away. Now that I have removed the roots, trimmed the cherry tree, and put it all back again, I realized that these beautiful trees had nearly compromised the safety of the rear of the house. The roots went right up to the back wall. So just in the nick of time, the hazard has been removed before it had done any permanent damage.
I wonder what roots are growing under the surface of our lives, endangering our faith? It could be ungodly attitudes undermining God's love in us, and through us to others. They could be sinful and of the world, sneakily breaking up God's straight path or blinding us to the truth. The only inkling that we may have that something is awry is that we find ourselves not as calm and level-headed as we know we should be, or once were. Are we emotional see-saws or spiritual trip hazards to others? How are our quiet times? How often do we really listen or give time to God in our lives?
Not to worry! As we hold fast to God, He will dig out the overgrown roots from our past, make our paths straight, and pull out the weeds, if we ask Him in Jesus' name.
Prayer: Lord, we are saddened to find that we have allowed ourselves to let the roots of sin grow under our spiritual feet, and we are surprised at how close to Your foundation that we have allowed them to come. Please open our eyes to the truth; dig up the unhelpful roots that have grown in us over the years; and show us the way forward. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.