Last week a friend and I went to buy a plant for another friend. We went to a local home store and spent about an hour in the July heat shopping and searching for just the right one. I know nothing about plants but was very committed to the cause. My friend decided we should get several smaller plants and re-pot them together into a larger pot. Finally, the selections were made and purchased. We loaded them in the car and I began my journey into the "how-tos" of repotting plants.
We removed the small plants from the small pots and began to place them on potting soil that we had placed in the large pot. As we removed one plant my friend said: "Uh-oh that one is root bound." I with my vast knowledge of horticulture asked, "What's that?" She explained the roots had no place to go. They were out of room for growth. The dirt had to be shaken from the roots and they had to be gently pulled apart before we placed them into the new soil. I could almost hear the roots breathe a sigh of relief and say, "Ah that feels better." I told my friend I felt a writing coming on from this little experience. She wasn't surprised. I have been told by some (just a few actually) that my ability to take the most humdrum everyday things and relate them to God is amazing. Most people just think it's kind of weird.
As I thought of the roots being bound and not having room to grow. I thought of Christians. I know a lot of times we hear the cliche of "staying in our comfort zone" or "staying inside the box." This of course, no matter how cliche, is very true. We can't really grow properly, the way Jesus intends, all bunched up, never attempting to spread out into new soil and spread the good news to others who aren't inside our zone, or inside our box.
I decided to look up the actual definition of root bound. Below is what I found.
So what's root bound? Rootbound is when there is no effective space for new roots to occupy. Roots effectively occupy the entire volume of space between the soil particles. One of the first symptoms of being root bound is, in fact, that plant growth slows despite favorable environmental conditions (light, water, fertilizer, etc). The second symptom is that root bound plants begin having difficulty taking up fertilizer. This doesn't happen overnight. There is a long gradual procession of slowing growth over time, usually several years before all new growth stops. It is clearly evident what is happening if you stop to look.
So it is with Christians. Even though we are in a favorable environment for growth, we sometimes stop growing. Even though we are fed what we need for growth every week, we sometimes have difficulty taking in the food that is given to us. This doesn't happen overnight. We all usually start out committed to the cause, eager to learn more about God and grow in Him every day. As time goes on, we become a little complacent, and our growth in Christ gradually slows. This process may take several years. If we stop and look at ourselves honestly, it is clearly evident what is happening.
Today check your roots. Shake the dirt off making sure they aren't bound. Gently pull on and stretch the roots of your faith that have you grounded in Christ. Give them plenty of room to grow and spread out a little in some new soil today. You will find yourself breathing in more deeply all the things God has for you and find yourself saying, "Ah that feels better."