ODJ: roots

September 16, 2014 

READ: Matthew 12:22-37 

A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad (v.33).

My friend noticed that his maple tree was shedding leaves prematurely. The tree doctor told him his tree was suffering from a girdling root. It had taken 30 years, but the offending root had encircled the tree and was now slowly choking it. If my friend didn’t dig down and hack the root off, the tree would die.
The Pharisees had allowed the root of pride and jealousy to smother their love for God. When Jesus cast out a demon from a blind and mute man, they credited His miracle to Satan (Matthew 12:24). Jesus replied that it wouldn’t make sense for Satan to drive out Satan, and He warned that the Pharisees had become bad trees that could only produce bad fruit (vv.33-35).

Like my friend’s tree, we can look fine on the outside, while inside a root of pride, envy or lust slowly suffocates our spiritual lives. The damage can go deep, far beneath the surface where others can’t see it. But if we don’t take decisive action, we’ll begin to show signs of decay and spiritual death.

It’s vital that we also root out the evil that begins to grow between us and others. Hebrews 12:15 commands, “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”

Paul says that after we’ve uprooted evil, we keep healthy by planting our roots in Jesus, so that “[our] roots will grow down into God’s love and keep [us] strong” (Ephesians 3:17). He also says, “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7).

—Mike Wittmer

365-day plan› John 15:1-16

Read Ephesians 3:14-21 to learn what feeds our roots and makes us healthy and strong. 
What’s the state of your roots—your spiritual condition? What personal or relational sin must you address before it grows and chokes you?