Thursday, May 12, 2016

Getting To The Root

               My gardens are full of weeds. Every year about this time I start to get overwhelmed with the amount of weeds that can grow in just a short period of time. One such weed that we have down here in the south is called Carolina Creeper (also known as Virginia creeper). It’s a vine like weed that is very invasive and will eventually wrap itself around everything it can and kill it. Unfortunately, my garden is full of it. I pull and pull but a few days later its back again. The reason why it keeps coming back is because I can’t find the root. If I can’t find the root, then the weeds are just going to keep coming back.

               These weeds remind me of sin, a sin I have been struggling with for some time now. I pray and repent, and ask for forgiveness, then a few days later I find myself back to doing what I don’t want to do. Sin is just like a weed. If we don’t find the root the sin will just keep growing and growing until it kills everything in our lives. So how do we get to the root of sin? Can we ever fully get to the root of sin? Aren’t we doomed to live in sin as long as we live in these bodies of flesh?
               I think to answer these questions we must first understand what sin is. What does God say sin is? There are quite a few verses in the Bible that talk about sin, address sin and tell us what it is, but there are two that I particularly like. The first one is in Luke, and the second one is in James.
“And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not get ready or act accordingly to His will, will receive severe beating.” Luke 12:47 ESV
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17
               We sin when we do not keep God’s word. When we go against what we know is right, when we know we shouldn’t, but do it anyway, that is sin. We are all born with the knowledge of right and wrong. You knew before you were a Christian that stealing was wrong, or that telling a lie was wrong. (For further study read Romans 2:14-15) Sin is born in us because we are born sinners. Even though we have the knowledge of right and wrong, the desire to do what is right is not in us until we become Christians. Sin, therefore is knowing to do right but choosing to do wrong.
               God tells Cain in Genesis 4:7 that if he does well then he will be accepted, but if he does not do well sin is crouching at the door and its desire is to rule over him. Its desire is to overtake him and control him. But God also tells Cain that he must rule over sin, and not let sin have its way. We must recognize the sin in our lives and get serious about it or sin will get serious and overtake us. We must get to the root of it and get rid of it. If you don’t get serious about your sin, sin will get serious about you. But how? How can we rule over sin in our lives? Once again, it begs the question, how can we who live in a body of sin have rule over sin? The answer is simple, by knowing where the root is.
               “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and is enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” James 1:13-16 ESV
               Sin starts as a simple temptation. Remember Adam and Eve? They saw that the tree was good and could make them wise so they ate of it. They were tempted by their desires and once they acted on that desire sin was born. I have a friend who was struggling in her marriage. She was discontented and felt like her and her husband had grown apart. The romance, the spark, that connection they once shared had waned. They were fighting more and more, and she started to resent him. She began praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom, guidance and for help. She didn’t want to feel this way about her marriage, but no matter what she did, no matter what she prayed, no matter what she tried, this discontentment just wouldn’t go away. It was ripping her marriage apart.
  One day she said she was sitting down watching a chic flic on TV. She liked chic flics, the Hallmark channel, and would read romance novels from time to time. As she was sitting there watching this man woo and romance this woman, those feelings of discontentment started to well up in her heart. As she watched the happily ever after fantasy play out in front of her she realized that her discontentment was rooted in these fantasies that she read and watched. She realized that these movies and books were causing her to desire what was fantasy instead of what was reality. The more she sat there and watched it, the more discontented about her husband she became because he did not compare to the latest Nicolas Sparks hunk on TV. She was convicted at that moment and shut her TV off. She hasn’t turned it back on, nor has she read anymore romance novels. She has since found that love and respect and satisfaction in her marriage once again, and she couldn’t be happier. She is also closer to Jesus now then she ever was before.
               She found the root of the problem and she got it out of her life. She realized the seriousness of that sin in her heart and she traced the root of the temptation back to what she was watching and reading. She traced the sin back to the place it was born and she pulled it from her life.
               I am not saying that we will ever be completely free from sin. Even Paul proclaims that he had not attained to that perfect state of sinfulness, but he chose every day to strive towards that high calling of Jesus Christ to rule over it. (Philippians 3:12-14) We are going to fall into sin, there is no escaping it, but because of the blood of Jesus Christ and His complete work on the cross we now have redemption and freedom so that we no longer have to be ruled by sin. Our desires, our lusts, our carnal appetites no longer have any control over us. Because of Jesus Christ we can now have control over them. But first, we must find the root of it if we are going to eradicate it from our lives.
               What are you struggling with today? What sin do you find yourself stuck in? What sin do you find yourself repeating over and over again? Find it’s root. Pray, get in His word, ask Him to reveal your heart to you and help you trace the weed to the root that has caused this sin to overtake you. “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire-“Mark 9:47 NKJV

If you don’t get serious about your sin, sin will get serious with you. Amen?