Living in Florida, we are no stranger to Hurricanes. Every year or so, we get a storm that is so bad we have to get ourselves together to prepare for all the dangers of the storm. Most years, in our area at least, there is minimal damage and just a lot of rain. Other times, though, we get such a bad storm that homes are demolished. In one particularly bad year, I went walking through our area and saw many trees that had been knocked over. The amazing part was that not just that huge trees had been knocked over but that the roots were actually sticking out.
As I looked at these trees I noticed that the reason the entire tree fell over (roots and all) was that the roots did not go deep into the ground. The tree was tall and had grown wide over the years, but the roots were so shallow that when the storm came it had nothing to keep it upright in the middle of all the wind that pushed against it. Because the roots were not deep, it looked strong but, in reality, it was as weak as a much younger tree.
As Christians, we can become like those trees. We can grow and develop by getting older, reading the Bible, going to Church services, and even being part of different ministries. However, if our roots do not go deep into Christ, then when the storms of life come our way we will fall over. To combat this we must learn how to become deeply rooted in Christ. This is not as easy as simply coming to a DNOW weekend or youth camp. We must learn how to live a life that is so dependent on Jesus that we know how to weather any storm life can throw at us.
This weekend will be all about becoming rooted in Christ. As you journey through these short days I want to encourage you to take this time seriously and use it to honestly evaluate where your faith stands. Are you so rooted in Christ that you possess the strength to be obedient when temptation comes your way? Can you stay true to the faith when life doesn’t seem fair? Can you trust God when things don’t go the way you want them to? Only you can answer that; and only you can change it for the better.
 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NLT)
This story Jesus told is a pretty accurate reflection of how following Jesus works in real life (of course, because Jesus said it). When we follow His teachings and become deeply rooted in Him, the storms of life can come at us and we will be able to stand strong and endure. Unlike the trees I saw after the hurricane, we won’t lose faith when life gets hard. Instead, we will rely on Jesus and trust in Him. We won’t lose our faith just because life is no longer easy.
To help take this further, we have to ask the question, “How deep is deep?” Or, how deep is deep enough? Is just a little faith okay? Or, do I need to be so super-spiritual that I earn my spot in the Bible (like Moses or Daniel)? This is not an easy question. The answer is simple but it isn’t easy. To become deeply rooted we must commit to the process of becoming obedient to Jesus and placing total trust in Him. Think of it like training for a marathon; you won’t be ready to run the entire 26.2 miles in just one day. You’ll have to train for a long time and run many races to be prepared for the entire thing.
Let me ask you a few questions for you to see where you stand as of right now: If a friend offered you the answers to a test while you were taking the test, would you cheat? If you saw a person drop $100 on the ground would you tell them they dropped it or would you take it for yourself? If you fell in love with a person who was not a follower of Jesus, would you still date them? If you woke up tomorrow and found out you had a deadly sickness, would you still trust God for your future or would you refuse to follow God if He lets such bad things happen?
Each of these questions may seem simple but they are real life situations people find themselves in on a regular basis. Life will test your dedication to following Jesus and being deeply rooted in Him gives us the strength to do the right thing even if it costs you.
Look in the mirror
How does this apply to you? Perhaps, like me, you’ve fallen into the trap of only wanting to follow Jesus when life is easy. Maybe you’ve struggled with this too. It can be hard to trust God when we don’t know how things are going to turn out or when we see people do wrong things and get rewarded for them. It can seem like following Jesus is a punishment when doing what we want is more rewarding. The problem is, the Bible tells
Write it down
In the past, what things have made you struggle in your walk with Christ? What was it about those things that made it so difficult?
What in your life do you need to surrender to God so you can grow deeper in Him? How will laying those things down help you to rely more fully on Him?
 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)
In this passage, James is telling Christians that they grow deeper in their faith when times get tough. Take some time right now to ask God to help you become more deeply rooted in him so that when times get tough that you will be able to stand strong in the storms. I pray that you would even now begin to ask yourself if your roots are only surface level or if they go deep into bedrock. If they are shallow, I hope you’ll ask God to help you grow deeper in your trust in Him.