I was working in my garden the other day pulling up crabgrass. If you have worked on your yard or in your garden, you know what that’s like. You see what looks like a single blade of grass sticking up but when you try to pull it it doesn’t budge. As you dig around you find many tendrils spreading out in different directions. Dig a little further and you find this tangled mess of root ball with shoots going off in all different directions.
To me it seems that bitter roots in our soul could look much like that. Often we may not even realize that ugly old root ball is in there. We may deal with those single blades or issues as they come up and think we are taking care of the problem. But if we don’t get to the root we will continue to have the same issues over and over again in our lives.
The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15 “ looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled”. These bitter roots in our lives have the power to not only continue harming us, but to cause harm to others in our lives and in our interactions with them.
Just like that crabgrass where the roots can be so strong and so stubborn, so too the bitter roots in our lives. If we’re not aware of them, or don’t deal with them they can become like chains. Chaining us to behaviors or attitudes that we may feel we just can’t get free from. Strongholds in our minds.
These bitter roots can come from things that may have happened to us, or been said to us in the past. Maybe even so long ago, we don’t really remember what they were anymore. Yet the damage is still lurking there in our soul. Perhaps it caused a pattern to form in our lives.
Let’s say someone betrayed our trust at some point in our life. Then, maybe even not consciously, we treat others with suspicion, waiting and believing that they will betray us also. This can keep us from ever having close relationships, even sometimes with the Lord. Then it could even become a self fulfilling prophesy.
In Romans 7:15 Paul is talking about sin and the law. Can’t it also feel so true when there are things in our lives that we do that frustrates us? “ For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
I believe it is only with the help of the Lord, and His Word that we can finally free ourselves from these things. On our own, we may very much want to change, and even try really hard, sometimes we may even think we have overcome the problem. Then all of a sudden, up pops a situation and you find yourself back in the same old spot.
This process of getting free can take time. Don’t become discouraged along the way just keep moving on. You may find you deal with one root only to find there is another one behind it. I believe, as long as we remain open to allow the Lord to show us these things, and be willing to repent and to change, we will get the victory.
Find a trusted friend to help you through the process as you go. Someone who will be honest with you and not just tell you what they think you want to hear. Know that you’re not alone. It may feel like you’re the only one with these issues, but I would venture to say that many Christians struggle with some of these same things.
I am by no means an expert on this subject. Just sharing some insights from things I have been taught or gone through on my own journey. Which, by the way, is by no means over. But I can say, like Paul in Philippians 3: 12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”
This is a huge subject which affects so many parts of our lives. I have only begun to understand it. If you are interested in learning more on the subject I recommend this book by Jack Frost, that I think I recommended in a previous blog. “Breaking Free” Uprooting Destructive Habits & Thought Patterns. I believe its still available on Shiloh Place Ministries website. There are DVD’s and a manual available. I only had the manual. It was very eye opening.
I started this post a few weeks ago but hadn’t finished it till today. Believe it or not, when I went outside to work on my garden yesterday there were more weeds! More weeds and more crabgrass. Some in the same spot I had pulled them from before! What? But, I thought I took care of those! I guess it just shows how diligent we have to be to keep on top of these things so we don’t get any more roots! In the garden as well as in our lives.