Getting to the Root

Getting to the Root

The weeds in the front yard were winning the battle against the grass last year, so I declared war.  Armed with my kneeling pad, digger, and fresh fervor, I painstakingly pulled out every weed.  Most of the lawn was dead and barren after the purging, but I reseeded, watered, and waited.  Within a few months, the yard looked lush and beautiful.  

Imagine my shock and horror when I began to see relatives of last year’s invaders choking out my lush lawn this year.  Crabgrass, dandelions, clover, broadleaf, “Creeping Charlie,” and “Prostrate Surge” (who names these things?) had all settled in uninvited.  After all the labor that went into purging and reseeding last year, I felt defeated.  

As He loves to do, the Holy Spirit met me in my disappointment with words of wisdom and a life lesson.   He said that when we come to Christ, we’re purged and delivered from life in the weeds.  Our sins are forgiven and our self-serving sin nature is cut away.  We’re crucified with Christ – the old man is dead and barren.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, we’re reseeded in Christ.  The love of God is poured into our hearts.  As we’re watered with the Word, we grow, and lush, new life appears.  

Yet there are remnants of our old life springing up from time to time.  We find ourselves wrestling with compulsions, attitudes, old habits, and mindsets that we thought were dead when we came to Christ.  The enemy steps in to sow doubt and discouragement.  Salvation is not “one-and-done” any more than pulling all the weeds last summer was a “one-and-done.”  It’s an ongoing work of transformation as we walk with Jesus day by day, led by His Spirit, weeding and watering the new life He died to give us.  

God is not mocked.  We reap what we’ve sown.  If there are weeds in our walk, we need to ask the LORD to get to the root.  Before we came to Christ, when needs went unmet or others’ wounded us, we responded sinfully and selfishly.  We knew no other way.  We judged others, dishonored our parents, kept records of wrongs, chose not to forgive, made inner vows such as, “I’ll never trust again.”  “I’ll never be like Dad (or Mom).”  “I must be strong.” “I must be in control.”  We hardened our hearts and found our own way to cope with life’s hurts.  We adopted unhealthy mindsets, such as performing well to win love and approval or bearing others’ burdens to win acceptance.  We came into agreement with the enemy’s lies.  We formed bitter expectations based on past experiences, and those expectations crippled relationships and blocked the flow of love.  We lived in denial or found another reality that afforded safety, comfort, and respite from the harsh reality of life.   From bitter roots come bitter fruits – sinful habits, patterns, compulsions, responses and problems crossing generations.  Our hearts may be new, but there are old structures (strongholds) in place that need to be torn down before we can truly walk in freedom and find the abundant life.

God often gets blamed for the bitter fruit in our lives.  We think He’s mad at us, punishing us, or withholding good from us, when in reality, our sinful sowing produced a bitter harvest.  Just as God created physical laws to govern the physical world (i.e. the law of gravity), He created spiritual laws to govern the spirit realm and bless us.  Sow to the flesh?  Reap corruption. (Gal. 6:7-9)  Honor your mother and father?  It will go well for you (Deuteronomy 5:16).  Curse your mother or father?  You will be cursed, and your lamp shall be put out.   Judge others?  You will be judged.  With the measure that you use to judge, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:1-2).   What you sow will come back to you multiplied (Matt. 13:8; Hosea 8:7).  Whether we believe them or not, these unbending principles bring a continual harvest.  

Now as I see weeds in the yard, I stop and pull them, not because I care about having a nice lawn, but because it’s become a spiritual battle for me and a reminder to examine my what’s growing in my heart.  When I see bitter fruit, I go to the Lord and say, “Lord, where’s the root?  Is there an unbelieving area of my heart that is still under Self Rule?”  

By confessing, repenting and bringing things to the cross for Jesus to reckon as dead, the cycle of sowing and reaping is arrested.  Jesus took the penalty and paid the price for my sinful sowing, but I need to come to the cross and appropriate the gift.  That requires withdrawing judgments and dishonor, renouncing lies, revoking vows, forgiving those who’ve hurt me and blessing them as the people God created them to be.  Only then can the barren, unbelieving areas of my heart be purged and reseeded to bring forth new life as an image bearer of Christ.  We can have lush walks of faith if we’re willing to partner with the Holy Spirit to get to the roots and reseed us in Christ.   

“Search me and know me, Lord.  Test my anxious thoughts.  Root out any offensive way in me, so that I can bring it to the cross, reckon it as dead, be forgiven and set free.  Forgive me for years of sowing to the flesh and reaping weeds of corruption.  Thank You for bearing the harvest of my bitter roots so that I can walk in oneness with You and find abundant life.  Fill me with Your Spirit, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 

Lisa M.