We recently had to remove a large tree close to our house. To the passerby it was a pleasing tree, providing shelter to birds, oxygen to the world, and beauty through all seasons. It had stood tall; it had stood strong; and it had stood long. To a trained eye however, standing so tall it was over-powering our house. To stand so strong, its roots had spread everywhere. It had stood so long that it had collected soot and ash from the nearby chimney, sullying the part of the house closest to it.
While a closer examination exposed its aesthetic deficiencies, something far more sinister was lurking just below the surface. I was informed that because the tree was so close to our house, it had stretched its roots out under our porch and possibly down close to the foundation. I was schooled that the problem with roots being close to a foundation is that as they make their way down in search of water, they expand and contract shifting the soil around them. Shifting soil shifts the foundation, causing cracks in the building.
A beautiful, strong, tall, life-giving tree is a good thing but it was the wrong thing for our foundation. The night after we had the tree removed, I went outside to see how it looked. I noticed frantic, screaming birds flying around in a confused pattern. They couldn’t find their home, their nest, and most likely, their babies. While my husband’s sensible concern was for our foundation and our house, my singular motivation for having the tree removed was a strong childhood dread towards birds of any kind. However, as fearful as I was of these birds, their plight pulled at my heart. This tree was good for them; it was their home, but it was wrong for the foundation of our house.
There are good things that can threaten the foundation of our spiritual walk. They can shift the very ground on which we stand and crack open our lives. Our singular spiritual basis should be oneness with Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of a spiritual walk. When a disciple surveys the Cross of Christ and the salvation it freely gives, the response should be one of reckless abandon and total surrender to this kind of God. It is because of and through this oneness that He asks us to serve, to teach, to grow and to make disciples. All we do for Christ or in the name of Christ must flow from this oneness that Christ died to attain. The purpose of salvation is not the reward of heaven or even of pure characters; it is the reward of dwelling with God and God dwelling with us; it is what God has always been after. It is not our goodness, our usefulness, our characters, our sanctification, our hard work or our service that can be the foundation of our lives in Him. These are all good things that walking and dwelling in oneness with Him will produce, but they are not the foundation themselves and should not become entangled with it.
“‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.’” (Revelation 21:3)