Looking At The Roots (Part Two)

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

There has been an obvious distortion or misunderstanding regarding this verse, and so, we must address it. The misunderstanding is not just in the image above, we hear the proverb Money is the root of all evil often enough it has distorted our vision. People want to attribute this teaching to Scripture but in so doing we find a teaching that blatantly misrepresents the teachings of our Creator. Naturally, to be better equipped to address this false teaching we must discuss the verse. We began part one by briefly discussing the word love and how it applies to this verse and our lives. Now I would like to take a step further in discussing the word root. I know, root? It seems like a weird word to camp on but we must and for good reason.

Not too long ago my wife and I moved back to the state of her rearing and upon moving back I embarked on a new journey…the rural life. While we have lived here I have learned much about farming from her family, especially her father. Now, we all learned in kindergarten the importance of roots and such when it comes to plants and through the years our understanding of phytotomy and plant morphology grew. While I understood the basics it was not until working on the farm I began to appreciate some of those lessons at a greater level. I will spare you the details and jump to the point, roots are important. You know this, I know…but do you?

If our tomatoes don’t have a strong root system they will not get the nutrients and moisture they need to thrive. If our corn does not have strong roots the wind and weight will topple the plant over. If the roots of our vegetables have too much competition they will not produce…and that my friend is where we must take a look in regard to our discussion. I did not realize how much work went in to keeping weeds from overtaking a field. A weed will come in and it will reproduce and grow and before you know it your tomatoes have been stunted or your beans have been overshadowed by the greediness of the weed. Many will address the issue with chemicals, they’ll spray the soil or plants to kill the weeds but some chemicals damage the vegetable. Even if the vegetable is not damaged, the chemicals get in the food and that impacts the person eating the food (that’s a whole other topic so I digress).

The best way, the most effective way to rid the root competition is to pull the weeds out by their roots! If you just tear off the top it’ll grow back. If you tear them out too late they will drop seeds that will present new weeds you’ll have to address later. So, when you see a weed in the garden you pluck it up. Now, I do not intend to give you a lesson in agriculture and this concept is simple but it is a problem plaguing mankind and it plagues the church. Money is not the root of all evil, sin is the root of all evil! We have inherited our sinful nature from Adam, Romans 5:12 says: When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. It is in us, in our bodies and it has taken up residence in our hearts. Sin has taken root in our hearts and it attempts to choke out all the fruit in our lives. The only way to address the main root of sin in us is by accepting Christ, Romans 10:9 tells us if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Also, 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us …God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. If we accept Christ we are saved and one day He will tear out the weed that has taken root in our hearts. In the meantime, while we already have victory in Christ and He has squashed the hold of sin in our hearts, it still battles to spring up.

The root is unseen, but the condition of the root will impact the health of a plant. Whether you serve Christ or not the root of sin is competing with the healthy roots. If you want the healthy roots to grow and thrive and produce fruit you must tear out the roots of the weeds. Now, the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. If you love money, if your goal is to acquire material things…the root of sin has birthed another weed and the root of this weed is the love of money. You can tear the root out and you are able to do this only through the power of Christ and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Often we think we can do it on our own but too often we attempt to tear out the weeds in our lives alone and what happens is the root is never pulled completely out so it comes back stronger. Or, we tear the root out with our bare hands and it cuts us all up. So, you can pull out the roots or you can allow the roots to grow. You can allow the love of money to grow, the goal of material wealth and possessions to drive you but realize this root is the root of all kinds of evils.

The root of sin sprouts in many different forms for all of us but universally sin that has taken root in our hearts brings with it desires. James 1:15 tells us Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Love of money is a sin, it is a terrible root and it brings its own desires like any other sinful root. If you are to have any hope you must take heed to the picture this metaphor of roots has for you. You cannot simply tear off the top of the root, you cannot simply plant more good plants around the weeds, you cannot simply treat the problems caused by the weeds…you must tear them out, root and all! Too often we think doing more good things or filling our lives with good things or by doing good things we can then ignore the roots that are choking us out—it doesn’t work, not for long at least.

You cannot do it on your own. The weeds that have grown in your life may require someone to come labor at your side, a friend, relative, or professional. For everyone though, to rid your life of these weeds you will need to be watchful and intentional about what you pull and how hard. Some weeds will require gloves (prayer), some weeds will require tools (fasting), but all the weeds will require you to want to change your garden. You can let the weeds take over, you can let your love for money drive you but if you want to change it… if you want healthy fruit and vegetable to grow and spring forth from your life; it will require a desire to change and grow, and you must realize that desire has come from the Holy Spirit. If the desire is there listen to the call of the Holy Spirit speaking and accept Christ as your Savior. If you have already confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, but you see there are some unhealthy roots taking hold it is time to remember He is the power behind deep change and it is through Christ you will continue to tear out those roots.

We have talked about love and we have talked about roots, next time I intend to wrap up this discussion with more observation and application.

 

The photo above is from: https://www.btny.purdue.edu/WeedScience/NoTillID/pages/canadathistle03.html

 

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That’s Not How Any of This Works!

They’ve got it all wrong–as a matter of fact, we’ve got it all wrong too! In the Church we see many approaches to God, but most can be placed in one of two categories: 1. We have the High Church, those that worship with an emphasis on formality. You see it in their liturgy (order of services and the way people participate) and you see it in their ecclesiology (the role of the church and the people in it). 2. We also have the Low Church, where formality is thrown out and pretty much anything goes. Arguably many non-liturgical congregations are so legalistic when it comes to their services one could argue for their liturgical air, but that’s for another day.

Why do I say “they” and “we” have it all wrong? The finger pointing. The High Church thumbs their nose at the casual approach of the Low Church, while the High Church is criticized for their cold formal approach. Well, I believe there is room for the middle!

Let’s not approach God in rote manner or think of Him as so Holy and other worldly that we cannot know Him. However, we dare not approach Him as our homie or personal genie.

There is something to be said for the formality, after all, we are gathered together to worship our Creator. Still, there is room for a somewhat casual approach because we are worshipping our Father whom we have a personal relationship with. Liturgy can be helpful when it comes to memorization of important themes that make our theology. Catechism is just as beneficial for the Catholic as it is the Baptist! Far too many are ignorant to teachings of Scripture and this is one way to remedy this. Far too many will turn to the book of Hezekiah because of their biblical illiteracy and a little formality could help.

At the same time, I know many people that have let the liturgy and formality act as a barrier preventing them from experiencing God personally. They have let their leaders do the thinking and wrestling for them, they have allowed a church service and/or ritual to stand in as their faith.

There must be a place for the middle–a place where Jesus is our amazing Savior and Redeemer whom we adore, worship, and seek to know; while simultaneously realizing while He is beside us He is also above us, while He is knowable, He is yet unseen. There must be a place where we may approach God in formal and corporate procession and song, while also being able to speak to Him intimately and individually.

There is much more to say regarding this topic but for now…let this get you thinking. Let’s not point fingers, that’s not how this works…let’s learn from each other, let’s sharpen one another, let’s appreciate one another.

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