It's human nature to be intrigued by the origins of things. Centuries have been spent investigating the origins of life, behaviour patterns and genealogy, and this fascination with beginnings isn't limited to theological or scientific study. The language of origins has long formed part of our everyday conversations and continues to do so. In the context of hairdressing, if someone's roots are showing, their natural hair colour is resurfacing among the artificial dye; in language, a word's root refers to the part of a word from which others stem; and in gardening, roots are the part of the plant which attach the whole to the ground and carry water and nourishment to the rest of the plant via a system of branches.
Plants are a recurring motif of significant metaphors about spiritual growth and our relationship with Jesus throughout the Bible. The use of plants and roots in these instances are symbolic of our connection to Christ, the necessity of it, the advantages of being rooted and what happens if we're not rooted in Christ and are rooted in something else.
The benefits of being rooted
Roots are essential for the plant to have life, likewise a connection with Christ is a necessity if we are to have a full spiritual life. Just as plants exhibit signs of life depending on the health of their roots, we can exhibit Christ-like qualities if we draw our nourishment from him and his teachings.
Here are a few Bible verses which use symbolism of plants/roots to convey what the advantages are of being rooted in Christ.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 - But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
John 15:5 - I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Ephesians 3:16-19 - I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
Colossians 2:6-7 - So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
The consequences of not being rooted
Without adequate nourishment from its life-source, a plant withers and dies. What the metaphors of plants with bad roots or no roots reveal to us is that if we remain disconnected from Christ, then we will unable to access life to the full. We become much more susceptible to being dragged into negativity without an anchor to provide stability during times of turbulent times.
The following Bible verses touch on what happens to us if we are not well rooted.
Matthew 3:10 - The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mark 4:6, Matthew 13:6 - But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Mark 4:17, Matthew 13:21 – But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
Hebrews 12:15 - See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.