What Of The Root

“Because they had no root, they withered away.” Matthew 13:6

A root is very important in a plant or a tree. One may take a green branch from a living tree and set it in the ground, and for a little while it may seem to be living; but soon, under the sun’s heat, it will wither. It has no root. The root is not a very beautiful part of a tree — it is hidden away out of sight, and nobody praises it; yet it is essential to the tree’s life. In like manner there is a hidden part in every Christian’s life. It does not seem to bless the world in any way. It is the heart-life, faith, love, communion with God in his Word and in prayer. No one praises a Christian’s inner, closet life; it is secret, and no one sees it: yet it is the root of the whole strong, beautiful life with men do see and praise, and whose ripe fruits feed their hunger.

Our Lord says the trouble with these shallow-soil people is, that they have no root in themselves; that is, there is not in their heart that root-principle of Christian life which consists of faith in Christ and love to Him. Where there is such a root no persecution can tear it away, no outward circumstances can affect the permanence of its life. It is not kept alive by any external influences. Its source is in the heart. It feeds on heavenly food. Temptations and persecutions only make the true Christian purpose all the stronger.

But it is no so with this superficial religion. It has no inward life of its own. It is not produced by an unconquerable love in the heart for Christ. It depends simply on external excitement, — revival meeting, some favourite preacher, some special form of worship, the influence of some friend, — something, at least, in the outer circumstances which keeps the emotions in play for a time. But it has no root in itself; and in such a religion there is nothing to carry a life very far through experiences of trial.