Fruit and Roots
Illustrating a Truth of Spiritual Strongholds
Basic discipleship and inner healing restrain and remove strongholds. Strongholds are habit structures of belief, thought and emotion which were programmed into us by an invisible enemy when we didn't know better than to trust our own interpretation of the bad things that happened to us. The Lord warns us not to "lean on" our own understanding,[i] but what child is able to heed that warning? Accordingly, most of us have some emotional reactions we wish we didn't have. These spring up from the deep roots of beliefs we once thought were true. Left unchecked, the bad fruit of negative emotions can lead to the further bad fruit of sinful behavior. How can we get free?
Basic discipleship is the part we play in clearing out bad fruit as it appears. This is steadily accomplished by doing our best to trust and obey with the faith and self-discipline available to us. As we abide in Christ, the Father prunes bad fruit away.[ii] The essential disciplines (prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, service) act as a restraint upon the power of temptation similar to the way that mowing grass restrains weeds. The more we live by trusting the Lord, the less the negative emotions are able to get at us. When they arise, it is our job to crucify these aspects of the flesh, calling on the Lord for His help to turn from the negative emotion by whatever way He shows us is best. This is basic discipleship.
Inner healing, on the other hand, reduces temptation's power because it gets at the root issues which caused strongholds of the flesh to form in the first place. Where there is fruit there's a root! As inner healing brings release from pain and ungodly beliefs rooted in our hearts stemming from past traumatic events, bad fruit disappears from our spiritual tree. We need both fruit pruning and root removal in the spiritual life.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." John 15:1-4 ESV
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12:14-15 ESV
Father, I ask for grace to persevere with You in pruning back my old ways. Help me stay well-connected to You by staying steady with my times of Bible reading, prayer, worship, fellowship and service. Help me also get at the roots that need Inner Healing: What am I really angry about? Why do I feel so guilty and ashamed? Work with me to fully forgive others and fully receive Your forgiveness. And what am I really afraid of? Help me match Your truth to my deepest fears until all of my fears are released.
[i] Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
[ii] John 15:1-2: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit."
Next Illustrated Insight
The Silent Killer
Illustrating the way unbelief secretly crushes the life out of our faith.
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