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Miranda Writes: Rotten Fruit Means Rotten Root! Part 2




by Omar Miranda



Last week we began our time by addressing an honest and anxious reader by the name of “Struggling.” We took some time to discuss what Jesus said about our hearts and our habits, and that was that the things we watch, say, think, and do reflect what’s on our hearts—our attitudes toward God. Then we saw what the apostle Paul had to say about our natural hearts without God. Basically, without God, we’re sinful through and through—we sin because we’re sinners; we can’t help ourselves. But Jesus died to give us another choice. We may always be tempted to sin, but we don’t have to give in and do it! That’s the good news of salvation—no, that’s great news!

Today we’ll see what happened to King David when he continued to live in sin on purpose and what he did to fix the problem. Last, we’ll look at what God’s Word has to say about good and not-so-good fruit and what we can learn from it.

Right now let’s look at what the Bible says about people who consistently and knowingly sin. God’s Word says: “You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life” (Galatians 6:7, 8).* I want us to take a look at a guy named David in the Bible. Like you, “Struggling,” David decided to make a series of unwise choices that drove him deeper and deeper into negative consequences—consequences to himself, to others, and ultimately to God. Like you, he was raised the right way, and had good biblical examples and teaching, but got involved in sexual sin. He decided to do some gardening but planted some bad seeds, which dropped roots; we can see the fruit that resulted. It sounds as if you’ve been feeling this way too: anger, physical and emotional separation from others, guilty conscience, hopelessness, shame, addiction, anxiety, depression, discouragement, despair, suicidal thoughts, lack of respect for self, lack of trust toward God and others, lack of closeness and intimacy with God and others, outright break in a relationship with God—and these things kill a person’s Christian witness for Christ with the other party and with others. Most of these consequences are based on David’s own experiences as written about in Psalms 32 and 51. You should give them a read; they’re both really great psalms, actually.

I don’t know about you, but as I look at this list of fruit, it seems that this stuff is all rotten! I don’t want any of it. So once you realize the depths that unconfessed, uncontrolled, and repetitive sin can take you, where do you go from there? I mean, what do you do? Well, the first thing is you have to decide whom you love more: yourself or God? As a counselor I always try to figure out why people do stuff. What are they hoping to get out of a behavior? “Struggling,” here’s the bottom line: if you love God more than yourself—or more than your sin, for that matter—make the decision to stop sinful behavior. Tell God you’re sorry for what you’ve done (confession) and then make sure you stay stopped (repentance). Put into your life people whom you can talk to honestly about what you’re doing. Accept God’s forgiveness and don’t believe the devil’s lies! Recognize that you’ve started several bad habits that have to be broken, but God has promised to give you the power to overcome any and all bad habits and sinful behaviors.

When you’ve made the decision to love God more than anything else and you stop your sinful behavior with God’s help, then the next time you look at the fruit in your life, you can say without a doubt that the fruit that you’ve got is fresh, not foul; ripe, not rotten! God promises you that “if you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires. The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. . . . People’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. . . . No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom. God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. . . . And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. God’s Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-25).

Did you catch that? Paul uses an interesting word—“if.” In verse 16 he said, “If you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires.” Then the verse goes on to state that if you are not guided by the Spirit, you will do all those nasty, sinful things—bad, stinky fruit. But the flip side of this promise is also true: if you are guided by the Spirit of God, you will have wonderful, beautiful, sweet-smelling fruit. “Struggling,” you’ve got it all backward—you’re feeling guilty, angry, and frustrated because you’re doing all those “bad fruit” behaviors, but you’re continuing to sin! You can’t have bad roots and expect good fruit! You’ve got to get rid of the bad roots and replace them with good roots, and then you’ll naturally have good fruit.

The truth is the moment you make the decision to stop purposely continuing in sin, you’ll be fighting not only your old habits and history of being a sinner, but also the devil, the world, and possibly your friends whispering in your ear. But God has promised us that He “is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6). Translation: If God started the process of your becoming more and more like Him, He won’t leave you high and dry.
So, “Struggling,” don’t give up hope. Keep having faith in God, and don’t let discouragement get the best of you.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*Scripture quotations in this article are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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