Root of the Righteous

We all know the moment.  The mouth opens and before it can be shut the damage has already been done.  The thought came and was out of my mouth before I could even think about the ramifications.  I guess I knew it was bound to happen.  Satan does not like it when the Holy Spirit stirs things in my heart and earlier this week He did.  But until yesterday, I was uncertain as to how to put it all together.  This morning however, the meaning became clear. 

I was greeted this morning with, “Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1).  “Thanks Lord,” was my calloused reply.  I immediately knew my house was torn down with my mouth yesterday morning.  Perhaps if I had woken up just a little bit earlier to spend time with the Lord, I would have read this verse yesterday when I was suppose to and avoided all the conflict I endured.  Yet, the lesson did not stop there.  
Still playing the scenario over and over, my resolution was to disregard any error on my part, when in just a few more verses I read, “Fools mock at making restitution, but there is goodwill among the upright.  The heart knows its own bitterness, and no outsider shares in its joy” (Proverbs 14:9-10). 
Reluctantly giving in I plea, “Lord teach me today how it all fits together.”
Since Monday, I have been wrestling with two verses in Proverbs.  Proverbs 12:3—“Man cannot be made secure by wickedness, but the root of the righteous is immovable” and Proverbs 12:12—“The wicked desire what evil men have, but the root of the righteous produces fruit.”  What is this root of righteousness?  I had heard about the root of bitterness in Hebrews 12:15, “Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it defiling many.”  However, I had not heard about the root of the righteous, or at least I have never paid attention to it.
The next day, truths about each of the roots began to surface:  
The root of the righteousis immovable and produces fruit.
The root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble.
Two totally different types of root systems with drastic differences in their outcomes.  So where does this root of the righteous come from.  My answer was quickly found in Philippians 1:11—“the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”  The root of the righteous comes only through Jesus Christ and the sole purpose is to bring glory and praise to God.  I also know that “if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17), so why am I still struggling with the same sin?  Why does the root of bitterness spring up so quickly and cause trouble for me and those around me?  Why am I not immovable and producing good fruit?  Tenderly, the words come to my mind:
“When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it roams though waterless places looking for rest but doesn’t find any. Then it says, `I’ll go back to my house that I came from.’  And returning it finds the house vacant, swept, and put in order.  Then off it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there.  As a result, that man’s last condition is worse than the first.  That’s how it will also be with this evil generation.’”
It is not enough to till the ground and prepare the soil or to clean house and put everything in its place.  Over time, weeds grow, dust collects, and things get knocked or blown over.  My root system must continue to be watered and feed with the Holy Spirit, God’s word and His power.  Making Christ Lord of one’s life does not mean one becomes perfect immediately.  Becoming Christ-like is a process.  He alone is perfect and no one will be made perfect until the day of His return.  The root of the righteous gets built up over time just as a tree over time becomes more and more immovable.  The tree weathers many storms and endures much over its lifetime, as smaller roots of bitterness try to spring up around it.  Thank God that His mercies are new every morning and I can proceed forward today with a new found truth and lean on His understanding to help stand immovable for His glory and praise and produce fruit that will be sweet to the taste for those around me.

Over 1,000 year old tree.  You know it has weathered some storms.
My Heart’s Prayer: 
For these may the root of righteousness bear fruit for them to taste and see that the Lord is good!
“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.  I pursue as my goal the prize promises by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus…He will transform the body of our likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself” (Philippians 3:12-14, 21).

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