I had my wisdom teeth removed last week. The surgical crew took me to a room. They discussed the procedure. I gave my consent in the form of a pathetic signature. Then, I gave my consent again because the first signature was a straight line. I was slightly nervous. But before I knew it, I was sound asleep with anesthesia.
The surgery went well. I remember nothing.
As I escaped anesthesia’s strong grasp, I pointed to the sky and mumbled words. That’s what they told me. I like to say I came out preaching.
According to the surgeon, my wisdom teeth had some of the deepest roots he’d ever seen. Little did he know, his statement gave me a sermon.
I’m not writing about wisdom teeth. I’m writing about wisdom. I don’t care about the depth of my wisdom teeth roots. But I really care about how deep my roots are with Jesus Christ.
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (Col. 2:6-7 NLT).
Let’s talk about tree roots for a moment. You can’t see them. You don’t admire them. You don’t take selfies with them. But without those roots, a tree dies. The health of a tree depends on the depth of its roots. On a spiritual note, the health of a human depends on how deep his or her roots are in Jesus.
There’s a story about Jesus cursing a fig tree.
“On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he [Jesus] was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs” (Mark 11:12-13 ESV).
A fig tree is supposed to bear fruit when it’s full of leaves.
The tree appeared to have fruit. But upon closer inspection, the tree was fruitless. This made Jesus hangry. “And he said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard it” (v. 14 ESV).
After this story, Mark describes the time Jesus clears the Temple.
“And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons” (v. 15 ESV).
Wow! Jesus goes from cursing a fig tree to throwing shade in the Temple. Has the Messiah gone mad? Nah. But He is angry.
The Jews had become an appearance-driven people. Like the fig tree, they appeared to produce fruit for God. Like the Temple, they looked good on the outside. But behind closed doors, they were a mess.
I’m afraid this sounds like a handful of people today. As the Scriptures continue, the fig tree is mentioned again.
“As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered’” (v. 20-21 ESV).
The tree was “withered away to its roots.” The foundation didn’t sustain. The tree didn’t live.
Friends, how strong are your roots in Jesus Christ? Maybe you can relate to the Israelites. Maybe you appear to follow Jesus from the outside. But upon closer inspection, you’re fruitless. Maybe your religious pretense appears strong, but behind closed doors, you’re full of sin. If so, there’s no better time to start digging into Jesus than right now.
Paul writes, “In him [Jesus] lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments” (Col. 2:3-4 NLT).
As 2019 approaches, you’re probably thinking about ways you need to improve. Me too. But in a culture full of self-help gurus and self-centered psychology, I’m writing about God’s Word. Don’t forsake practical advice. But deeper roots in Jesus Christ is the best resolution you can make.
Let’s grow deeper roots in Jesus this year.
Isaiah Pauley is a 2018 graduate of Wahama High School and attends Ohio Christian University. He can be followed at www.isaiahpauley.com, or on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page.