John and I decided not to go out for Valentine's Day. We just didn't think it was worth facing the lines we knew we'd find at most restaurants. So I just made a special dinner. We splurged on steak and I made my special potatoes. We also had asparagus, fruit salad, and home-made banana bread. It was probably better than anything we could get at a restaurant we can afford and at a much better price! I think John looks pretty satisfied with his meal, don't you?
John gave me some chocolate and a pretty potted rose plant for Valentine's Day. Unfortunately the rose is already looking, ahhh, shall we say, not very healthy. I know I do NOT have the green thumb required for keeping plants alive. I really do try, and I love having plants, but...... Maybe I didn't water it enough?
Or maybe its roots are just not deep enough. Let's blame it on the plant, shall we?? The past two weeks our pastor has been preaching on being rooted and grounded in love. "Rooted" is an agricultural term and it means that a plant or a tree has roots that go so deep it can't be blown over or uprooted in a storm. (Unlike the national Christmas tree that blew down in Saturday's storm!) The word "grounded" is an architectural term, referring to a building having a foundation or a footer so that it won't topple in storms.
The phrase "rooted and grounded in love" is part of Paul's prayer for the Ephesians in Ephesians 3:14-21, a prayer of empowerment. This being rooted and grounded will only come as I allow the Holy Spirit to have full control of my life. I need to ask myself if I have the intimacy with the Lord Jesus that allows Him into every room of my heart. One thing the pastor said that really hit me and that I've been thinking about for over a week now is this: When trouble (whether in the form of an event, a circumstance, a person) comes knocking on my door, do I REACT or do I RESPOND? Reacting would be lashing out in anger, getting depressed, snapping at people, lying, denying, etc. It is acting automatically without thinking and these reactions are almost always sinful behaviors. A good way to identify strongholds Satan might have in my life is to examine the places where I REACT. Instead of REACTING, I need to ask the Spirit to help me RESPOND. What would Jesus do? How would He answer? What is the best way to handle this situation? What can I do that will most help the other people involved? Pastor Fuller said it's like trouble comes knocking on your heart's door. When it comes do we say, "OK, Jesus, you answer the door and deal with this" or do I say, "Step back, Jesus! I got this one!" Letting Jesus deal with it is RESPONDING. Pushing Jesus out of the way and dealing with it myself is REACTING.
Being able to RESPOND instead of REACTING takes time spent in intimacy with the One who loves me more than anybody. It is getting to know Him, becoming more like Him, and learning to step out of the way and let Him handle it. It is growing my roots deep into Him so that I don't bend and break when the storms come. Or whither and die like my poor rose.