Why is it that we are so prone to dealing with our external sins without dealing with the heart? As I have had the privilege of working through the Behold Your God Bible study with a friend of mine, I am faced with this reality once again. This is not my first time through John Snyder’s study on rethinking God Biblically. And each time I am confronted yet again with the problem of dealing with the fruit sin in my life apart from dealing with the root sin.
Fruit sins are the external sins. They are what Snyder refers to as, “the many outward expressions of rebellion against God.” They are usually noticeable by ourselves and others – things like anger, bitterness, drunkenness, frustration, lust, greed, gossip, etc. But underneath these ever so noticeable fruit sins, lie three very troublesome, less noticeable, root sins, from which all sin stems: selfishness, pride, and unbelief.
Many times we try to deal with the fruit sins apart from the root sins and end up in frustration because in reality they are not surface level sins. They are rooted deep within the heart of mankind.
When dealing with ourselves or with our children, it is easy to focus on the externals because as humans, by golly, that is what we want to fix! But everyone knows that when you pull weeds, if you leave the root, you leave the problem. It just keeps coming back. So it is with our sin.
When we see the sin in our own lives or in the lives of our children, let’s take a moment to ask, where is this rooted? What is breeding this ugliness? Is it selfishness, pride, unbelief, or perhaps a troublesome mixture of all three?
In order to truly repent, we have to go deep. We have to ask the hard questions. We have to address the heart. Luke 6:45 reminds us, that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” And Proverbs 4:23 tells us to, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” And Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Every sinful action of mankind originates in the heart, which is why we are called to guard our hearts with all diligence. But what does addressing the heart really mean? Well, I believe it looks like addressing these three root sins:
- Selfishness: Selfishness looks out for me, myself, and I. Selfishness doesn’t consider others as better than myself. (Philippians 2:3) Selfishness asks, “What do I want?” and lives in an unhappy state to various degrees, pursuing what I want until I get what I desire.
- Pride: Pride tells us we are the most important thing in the world and as such, deserve the very best. Pride causes us to live with a puffed up idea of self.
- Unbelief: Unbelief causes us to doubt God and His Word and all we know to be true of Him and ourselves. Unbelief actually causes us to live a bit of a delusional life, because it believes things are one way, when in reality they are quite different.
So, let’s just say (for the sake of argument of course 😏) that I have a problem with frustration. And I really don’t like being frustrated. In fact, I get frustrated at this amazing ability I have to easily give way to frustration. Well, if I just say to myself, “Hey, Kim, knock it off. You need to just stop getting so frustrated,” how is that going to work for me? Well, I’d say it doesn’t work well at all. But if I say to myself, “Wow, Kim, you have a problem with frustration. Let’s take some time to look into this and see why? Where is this coming from? Well, then, I could do a little painful self-probing and recognize that I get irritable when things don’t go my own spectacular and well-thought-out way, when my ever so perfect schedule gets messed up, when my incredibly important stuff gets ruined,…and the list goes on.
Then I can analyze it all and see where there might be just a smidge 😬 of selfishness, pride, and/or unbelief. That is what I need to repent of, along with the frustration.
Furthermore, I need to take a lot more time looking at my Savior and seeing Him for Who He is, appreciating that He is God and I am not, giving Him His rightful place in my life, and trusting Him even when things don’t go my way.
It is often that my priorities are out of line, or that I’m working hard to accomplish things that God never intended, or maybe I’m not really believing that God is in control of all these people and situations that wreak havoc on my precious life and perfect schedule. 😉 Maybe I just need to take a step back and realize that actually I don’t deserve the perfect life. *gasp!* Maybe then, I can begin to deal with the outward sin of frustration by understanding and dealing with the underlying sin that breeds that frustration.
So, let’s remember that for every ugly fruit sin in our lives, there’s an underlying hidden sin that’s breeding it. Let’s do some self-probing (as painful as it may be) and get to the root so that we can truly repent and grow in sanctification, shall we?
And then let’s have some fika and thank the Lord that He is in the business of making us more and more into the image of His Son – something that only the Spirit of God can do, as we acknowledge and repent of our sin and submit to Him in all areas of life.