Changing Your Roots


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One of the sayings I have when talking to people is, “Look past the fruit. Look for the root.” What I mean by that is that when we see a behavior in someone else or hear an excuse as to why they can’t do something, that’s not what’s really going on. That is a fruit that is being fed from a root somewhere else. I tell them to dig deeper beyond what lies on the surface if they really want to help them. What I mostly see is people dealing with fruit and they wonder why things keep happening over and over and they’re helpless to stop it.

When we only deal with the fruit, the behavior we see, we can affect change. We have to find the source of that behavior and deal with that if we really want to create change. When I think of sin in my life or in the life of others, it’s usually something we can see. We tell ourselves, “Don’t do that!” It’s a temporary fix, because eventually we go back to it. We took away the fruit, but we never did anything with the root. It just takes a little time and it grows right back. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Where is this coming from?” Follow the trail to the root.

Hebrews 12:15 says, “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” The Message puts it this way, “A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.” If we don’t deal with the roots of our sins, we will continue to struggle with them and possible corrupt others. If you’ve ever dug in your yard and came across a root, you know this is no easy task. You have to pull on that root. Follow where it goes and chop it off at the source. You have to get the whole thing out.

If we want to change the fruit in our lives, we have to change the roots. In Romans 8, Paul tells us that we have no obligation to do what the flesh wants to do. In verse 5 he tells us not to be dominated by our sinful nature, but to let the Holy Spirit control our thinking. When we’ve pulled up the roots of our sinful nature and let the Holy Spirit take roots in our lives, Galatians 5:22 says the Holy Spirit will produce this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. That is the fruit that we should be producing as Christians.

If you’re looking at the fruit of your life and want to change it, don’t keep dealing with the fruit. Look for the root and deal with that. Romans 8 has a lot of good stuff to say about the struggle we all face in wanting to do good, but having trouble with it. Take time to read that chapter today. See of you can relate to Paul’s struggle. I know I do. The way he tells us to change the fruit in our lives is to uproot the sinful nature that controls our mind and then to submit our minds to the Holy Spirit. Once we learn to do that, we can produce the fruit God wants us to show in our lives.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Changing Your Roots

  1. Brandon

    I agree with the need for deeper-level heart surgery, but… if we are indeed the root-pullers once saved (and not Christ), then aren’t we the ones who get the credit for doing so?

    • Thank you for your comment. You’re right that it is Christ who pulls the roots of sin out of our life. My intent was not to say that we pull the root out alone. Our responsibility is to find the root of sin in our lives and have Christ chop it out. The contrast I was going with and alluded to was in Romans 7 where we deal with the fruit and Romans 8 where the Spirit controlled mind changes us.
      I believe it is still our responsibility to make sure that no roots of bitterness or any other sin spring up in us. If they do, we have to deal with them. Trying to get rid of the fruit they produce is useless without dealing with the root. I hope that clarifies my intent.

  2. Brandon

    Yes, that makes sense. I think it’s helpful to talk about this topic first in light of what’s already been done for us, rather than immediately focusing on what we do. Does that make sense? Here’s a helpful blog post from my old Pastor on this: http://livingbyfaithblog.com/2014/07/17/what-is-the-root-cause-of-my-sin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-is-the-root-cause-of-my-sin

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