Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death
through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Rom.5:12).
I once had received some shrubbery from a friend of mine who felt he had
too many shrubs and wanted to get rid of them. I was looking forward to how they would add
character to the front yard and soon began to dig holes to plant them in. But it seemed
that in the transplanting process that the roots had become enormously damaged. Not to
mention I really didn't know what I was doing as well. Yet I still tried to make it work.
I planted and watered and they looked great, that is, for the first week or so. But it was
not long before the leaves turned brown and then the branches became brittle. There was
nothing I could do now but to pull them up and throw them away.
We too have bad roots. Not to put it all on Adam, but it is true that our roots are
tainted with sin and the effects thereof. God, of course, saw this condition and knew what
to do to bring life back to us [For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned.
. .much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness
will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Rom.5:17)]. God replaced the roots.
Or should I say, He engrafted the branches onto a new root system--one that was full of
life. Jesus said, "I am the vine and you are the branches, if a man remains in me and
I in him he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (Jn.15:5). Jesus
was God's answer to our bad roots.
But strange as it is, we continue to try to do so much on our own--out of self will and
self determination. Referring back to the vine and the branches, we would think it odd if
the branches on a plant suddenly jumped off, deciding they would go it alone for a while.
Yet that is exactly what we do when we choose our way over God's. We stop abiding in the
Vine (Christ), and somehow think we have the strength within ourselves to do all
things--or at least some things.
The only way to abide fully in our Lord is to shed selfish will. Not an easy task. Yet we
must remember that any time we go it alone we are depending on our own old, rotting root
system. Not much life in that.
How then do we shed selfish will? By abiding in Him. How do we abide in Him? By
surrendering self will to Him. But it won't happen overnight so don't get discouraged by
setbacks. Confess it, get it right and get back in the right Root System of Christ.
Remember that it takes no strength to remain in Christ, for if we do then He is our
strength. But when we do not remain in Him we will soon be sapped of all our strength, and
become dry and brittle.