The tree was huge, in full leaf. It certainly wasn’t the one I picked as a potential fall risk during the hurricane. It still fell. It wasn’t that the tree wasn’t strong. It’s roots were just in a bad place. It had grown along the muddy bank of our vernal brook and when that began to wash away in the flood…well there just wasn’t anything left to hold onto. Strength means nothing if what your hanging onto has no substance.
“that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:20-32 NLT
Paul gets specific here. He doesn’t pull any punches. If we want to have God’s power to stand through the storms of life we need to change specific things we used to do before we were born again. In other words we have to find a new place to put our roots.
Before we were Christians we couldn’t help the way we lived. We were sinners and sinners by definition sin. But Christians aren’t sinners; We are saints, people who have the power to stop sinning and who are learning to use that power.
Just a note, God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He knows we won’t be; But He does expect us to start using the strength He has put inside to start changing who we are. He says here in these verses it starts with thoughts and attitudes not just actions. If we change the way we think, the way we behave will take care of itself.
Tomorrow we get down to the nitty-gritty! Are you ready to do some spiritual root transplanting?