Evil roots bear bad fruit.
Have you ever said to someone:
“Well, that’s just the way I am.”
“I’ve tried to overcome ______ (fill in the blank), but I’ve never been successful.”
“It’s part of my personality; I’m a _________” (insert label here).
“I guess some things never change.”
Or has your spouse, parent, or close friend ever said to you:
“You always do this….”
“I wish you would stop ______.” (Fill in the blank)
“Can’t you see that you’re the problem here?”
I believe most of us have said or heard at least one of these statements in our lifetimes. I certainly have!
Typically, comments like these stem from issues we or others have noticed about ourselves that don’t represent our best selves. You know what I mean: the nagging wife. The controlling husband. The angry child. The fearful friend.
Ask any one of us why we do what we do and we’ll say, “It’s because _______ (name a situation or offender) made me do it. I was bullied as a child, so I never became who I wanted to be. My mother was always angry. My husband doesn’t help me around the house unless I nag him. You get the picture!
Evil roots bear bad fruit, and while it’s easy for people to spot the bad fruit (and want to throw you out like a rotten tomato for it!), it’s not so easy to deal with the roots.
Instead of thinking we are bound to bear bad fruit in some areas, we can take a more comprehensive approach to prayer and work with the Lord to destroy evil roots and establish righteousness.
When Old Testament prophet Jeremiah received his call from God, he made a similar statement: “God, I can’t do this! I can’t speak, and I’m way too young!” (My paraphrase.)
Before Jeremiah (whose name means “God establishes”) could see prophetically, he clearly saw his own inadequacies! His statement to God is the equivalent of what many of us say about ourselves and others when we notice salient faults: “I’m sorry, God, but You seem to have chosen the wrong person!”
Do you ever wonder why that man is a pastor? Why that person thinks she can speak? Why God uses people who are so obviously broken? Shouldn’t they clean themselves up first?!
If I were God, you might think, a good clean up would be a requirement! We probably wouldn’t allow half the people who are in ministry today to be there, and the more mature among us would realize that we really aren’t qualified either!
Yet God tells Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:5)
Here’s the funny part: that word sanctified means consecrated, or cleaned up! God says to Jeremiah - and to all of us, by extension:
“I formed you.
I know you.
I’ve declared you clean.
I’ve ordained you to be “fit” for a specific purpose in My Kingdom.”
These are the truest statements about us, godly declarations that should make us stop and think. God is not surprised by our deficiencies, and He pronounces us free of them before they even happen! So why do we still struggle with besetting sins, and what can we do about our own misgivings?
UPROOT AND TEAR DOWN
The answer is found in God’s response to Jeremiah’s complaint:
“Do not be afraid… for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord… “Behold, I have put My Words in your mouth… I have set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:8-10, NKJV)
Nothing is hidden to God. In the best scenario, our place of prayer becomes a place of revelation for us, where we begin to see as God sees and take up the authority God gives us to overthrow anything that stands in the way of seeing God’s Kingdom manifest in us and in our world.
When God exposes an evil root - something that has sprung up in us as a result of our family’s iniquity, for example, it is not to condemn us. It is to challenge us to use our God-given authority as prophets, priests, and kings to uproot that root and overthrow that behavior - the bad fruit.
For example, dealing with anger was always difficult for me. The louder an angry person became, the more I retreated inward! I had experienced plenty of anger and rage already in my life, and that kind of behavior triggered memories I would rather forget. I feared the consequences, so I withdrew.
Unfortunately, avoiding issues didn't help me resolve any conflicts! But no amount of reasoning could convince me to “stay in it” when things got ugly; I was pre-programmed to shut down in self-defense.
To be free of this classic behavior, I had to go to God. As I kept bringing my fears and dysfunction to the cross of Christ, I gained more freedom and confidence: enough to see an argument through to its end. Enough to realize that some anger can be constructive. Enough to know that even in the tough places, people deserve to be heard.
Generational sins such as alcoholism and abuse, addiction and pride can wreak havoc on us, even if we were never involved ourselves. Predictable behaviors emerge from these iniquities. Understanding them helps, which is why God exposes them to us in prayer. Managing them, however, does not.
It takes spiritual power to uproot besetting sins and generational iniquities!
A biblical prayer life isn’t just about presenting your requests to God, worshiping, or remembering others in need. It involves regularly dealing with deep-rooted issues that crop up like weeds, trying to ruin your harvest! After all, if you don’t weed your own garden, who will?
God has given each of us the authority to overthrow and destroy evil roots through the power of the Name and Blood of Jesus. God is working within you to expose that which hinders you and to set you free. In His mind, you already are free, because He knows that you and He together can overcome every evil root as you establish yourself IN HIM! (See Ephesians 1:3-14.)
ONE STEP FURTHER: A PROPHETIC WORD CONCERNING AMERICA
Those of you who have walked with God for a while know that what He does individually, He also does corporately. It is so important for us to be firmly rooted and established IN HIM in this hour, because what is sourced in evil roots is now being exposed on a grander scale. One look at the nightly news confirms this.
For those of you who pray regularly for our nation, I encourage you to take these thoughts a step further and read this related prophetic word God gave me concerning America. I am grateful to Intercessors for America for sharing this word with their prayer warriors this week as well!
Our lives should be full of victory, not defeat! Victory comes as we use the authority God gives us in prayer to demolish strongholds and become all we are destined to be.
That which the enemy has used to destroy us, we now overthrow through the power of God. As He did with Jeremiah, God anoints our mouths and uses our words to declare our established victory!
Your prayer life is prophetic! What you declare about yourself has the potential to deliver you from iniquity and end besetting sin. Your prayers reach back into history to uproot evil roots and your proclamations reach forward into the future to establish you with good fruit that will last.
My prayer for you this week is that the next time you hear yourself say “I’ve tried unsuccessfully to overcome this behavior in the past….” you’ll finish your sentence with “and now I am defeating it through the power of Christ in Me!”
© Deborah Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com. Photo Credits: Camille Kmile and Miguel Bruna of Unsplash.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.