root sin & fruit sin
“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 4:25 (ESV)
I’ve heard this verse a lot over the years and struggled with it, especially in high school and college. I’d be told, “take heart – Jesus knows what you’re going through”. So many times I thought it was a load; I had so much trouble really making sense of it. Jesus was tempted and never sinned, but he didn’t really have to deal with the things I deal with today. He didn’t have a computer, so looking at sites he shouldn’t have wasn’t an issue. There weren’t HDTV’s and sweet electronics to want, so no problem there. Society was completely different, problems were different. How can the Bible say that Jesus was tempted just like we are?
I heard Mark Driscoll say once that “root sin leads to fruit sin”, and it finally made sense. So many times we see an issue and try to fix it by picking and throwing away the fruit when the real sin issue is rooted deeply. Picking the fruit is a topical, temporary fix for a deep growing problem. If we never move past the fruit, we’ll be picking it all our lives.
It’s not looking at the webs sites or the cable stations – the real issue is lust, and Jesus had some pretty strong things to say about that. It’s not about the things that I want – it’s about the greed and coveting in my heart. If you’ve ever tried to get a tree stump out of the ground, you know how hard it can be, how widespread the roots can be, and sometimes the damage that can happen to the ground around the roots. If you ask God to do some surgery in your life, he may move with great efficiency but with few painkillers. But we’re being drawn closer to Him, and eliminating the deep rooted sin in our lives that seems to plague us over and over again.