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).
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.