Anger · Cross-Centered · Forgiveness · Fruit of the Spirit · Jesus-Centered · Root Sins

Root Sins:Part II Pulling and Replacing Root Sins

In a previous article we talked about root sins. We addressed the three root sins: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. These sins were identified with Eve in the garden. Satan later used these root sins to tempt Jesus. Then John, in John 2:16 reaffirms these three root sins.

The questions we have to ask ourselves once we identify our personal sin is, is where do they come from? How do we deal with them, and pull them? Once we have pulled them, how do we replace them in order to flourish again.

In part one we developed a scenario where someone was slandering me. I became angry about it, and then I lashed out at them. We decided that the root sin was pride, which developed into a trunk and branches of anger, and then the fruit of the root was me cursing out that person.

Now, we are not saying if someone is slandering me, that I should just forget that it happened. I should address it. I should confront that person lovingly, and attempt to make things right if at all possible.

The question I want to deal with is how is my anger, and even righteous anger, spills over into my sinning against that person? My  pride tells me that I believe no one should ever be able to sin against me. I see myself as someone who no one can sin against. No one can ever cross Tim. Everyone must perfectly honor me and obey me. In that way, I have almost set myself up to be God.

Which in a way is funny, is it not? Even God is unjustly talked about. Even God is misunderstood, cursed at, and slandered. He is not perfectly looked at the way He deserves. And He decides not to lay down justice and His wrath immediately. He is patient, long suffering, and kind.

But our pride gets in the way, and for some reason, even when God is being attacked, we come up with some prideful notion that we never should be attacked. I’m not saying that being attacked is good. I’m saying when we feel like everything should perfectly go our way, we pridefully think that no one should ever cross us. We forget that we live in a sin-cursed earth, not a perfect Heaven which we as believers will be able to taste one day.

So, what would I tell someone who is in this situation? The person being slandered? First, it is alright for you to be upset about being slandered. Your reputation is important. You understandably want people to think well of you. It is alright for you to be upset and want justice.

Second, if you are exposing rotten fruit which comes from pride, that’s when you know that your righteous anger has turned into sin. That is when you become aware of your root sin, and in this case it is pride.

Once you recognize that you have a root sin problem, how do you get rid of it? You don’t want to simply  prune rotten fruit, you want to cut the tree out at the roots. The question is, how do Jesus and the cross address this?

While we realize that being sinned against is not what we hope for, we can relate to Jesus, who was sinned against much more extremely than a slander. We can connect with the fact that we have a high priest who was tempted in every way like us. Hebrews 4:15  helps us respond like Jesus. Jesus was slandered, and yet did not sin against His enemies. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  Hebrews 4:15

We need to be cross-centered and Jesus centered in our thinking as well.  People will sin against us. Remember, we sinned against Jesus, yet we were given forgiveness through the cross. Because we received forgiveness through the cross, we must  forgive those who have sinned against us. “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15

We can get rid of root sins by first learning about them through Scripture. We then pray for God to expose them in our hearts. Then comes repentance and praying for God’s forgiveness. Then we confess our sins to others and make things right with them. This seems easy, but it is an entire process that hinders our peace with God and others.

Lastly, we need to remember that while people sin against us, God is in control. Think about the cross. In reality, while God ordained the cross, these people still sinned against Jesus by executing false justice against someone who had never sinned. In the same way, while we are being sinned against, we too can trust in God’s sovereignty and that He is in control. He will execute ultimate justice one day.

Once we have identified our root sin, pulled it out, followed Jesus’ example, and trusted in God’s sovereignty, we can start to move on with our lives. But we must not end there. We can’t simply pull root sins. If all we do is pull them, something will inevitably grow in its place. What should we do then?

We need to start planting. What do we need to plant? The fruit of the Spirit. Now we know that the fruit of the Spirit is the Spirit’s fruit (see Galatians 5:22-23). We can obtain these things with the obedience to the Holy Spirit’s help as we read God’s Word, are convicted of His message, repent of sin, and start practicing  love, joy, peace and other fruits of the Spirit. We are told to cultivate that garden. Once we pull the root sins, and then plant the fruit of the Spirit, there will not be room for the roots of sin to grow. It’s a replacement which we must do.

What do you think are your root sins? Can you track backwards the leaves of sin you commit to their root? How can you pull out those roots? What are the fruits of the Spirit that you can use to replace them?

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