Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.Ephesians 3:17 nlt
As I shared with my counselor my roller-coaster of emotions after a stress-filled week, she listened thoughtfully. Then she invited me to look out the window at the trees, lush with autumnal oranges and golds, the branches swaying in the wind.
Pointing out that the trunks weren’t moving at all in the wind, my counselor explained, “We’re a bit like that. When life is blowing at us from every direction, of course our emotions will go up and down and all around. But sometimes we live as if we only have branches. Our goal is to help you find your own trunk. That way, even when life is pulling from all sides, you won’t be living in your branches. You’ll still be secure and stable.”
It’s an image that’s stuck with me, and it’s similar to the image Paul offered new believers in Ephesians. Reminding them of God’s incredible gift—a new life of tremendous purpose and value (Ephesians 2:6–10), Paul shared his longing that they’d become deeply “rooted and established” in Christ’s love (3:17), no longer “blown here and there by every wind of teaching” (4:14).
On our own, it’s easy to feel insecure and fragile, pummeled by our fears and insecurities. But as we grow in our true identity in Christ (vv. 22–24), we can experience deep peace with God and each other (v. 3),nourished and sustained by Christ’s power and beauty (vv. 15–16).
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Instructions for Christian Living
17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20That, however, is not the way of life you learned21when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;23to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
When do you feel most “blown here and there” by life’s challenges?
How might remembering your identity in Jesus encourage and strengthen you?
The church at Ephesus faced tremendous challenges in their home city. One was the fanatical devotion of the Ephesian people to the goddess Artemis, whose temple there was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Additionally, Ephesus was a center of the dark arts—magic and the occult. In Acts 19:19, some of the people who trusted Christ displayed their spiritual commitment by destroying the scrolls used in the practice of sorcery—scrolls valued at 50,000 drachmas(a drachma was a day’s wage). With challenges like these, Ephesus was a difficult place to live for Christ.
Jesus, thank You for the overwhelmingly good news that the strength needed to withstand life’s challenges isn’t our own. Help us to grow ever-deeper roots in Your love and our place in Your family. In your Holy name, I pray and give thanks. Amen!!