As I type this, I am on a short blogging break. That sentence amuses me. I felt the need to step away from posting on my regular days, but not the need to stop writing. I love and need to write. But sometimes, I just need to step away from the routine of pressing the publish button.
Last Friday, I wrote a post for Five Minute Friday about taking some time to recharge the roots. I felt the nudge Thursday night and then let my readers know in Friday’s post. “Root” might have started as Lisa-Jo’s word prompt for the day…but it continued to be the word and the concept the Lord and I would revisit several more times.
At church on Sunday, the message focused on Mark 4:1-20. Here’s a portion of that:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
Then, a couple of hours after church, I picked up one of the new books I purchased on Saturday. The book is Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. I’ve heard people mention this book several times over the last year and I finally picked up a copy to read.
Shortly into the book, the author shares a story of one of his friends who once shared a portion of her testimony with him. His friend had started reading the Bible and it began to impact her:
“Yeah, there’s a part in Matthew where Jesus talks about soil, and He is going to throw some seed on the soil and some of the seed is going to grow because the soil is good, and some of the seed isn’t because it fell on rock or the soil wasn’t so good. And when I heard that, Don, everything in me leaped up, and I wanted to be the good soil. That is all I wanted, to be the good soil! I was like, Jesus, please let me be the good soil!”
Then, I open up my email Monday morning and staring back at me is an email titled The Bitter Root. It was the most recent post from Proverbs 31 Ministries. The devotional centers around this verse, ““See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15
As I looked at the verse, I understood.
That’s it…isn’t it, Lord. There’s unresolved bitterness lurking in my heart which needs to be confronted.
And you know something, I’ve been following Jesus long enough to know that when He points out the areas of my heart that are ugly, it’s always, always, always in my favor to address the problem swiftly.
If all this weren’t enough of a wake up call, on Tuesday, I began working on this week’s lesson for the Ladies Bible Study I lead. We are currently doing a study on the Book of Ephesians. You want to know what verses were emphasized this week?
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4: 31-32
Everything, and I mean everything, comes down to the condition of our hearts. I can’t change or fix the hearts of others…but I can give God permission to come in and clean up mine.
So today, I acknowledge this root in me, this root that I’ve tried so hard to ignore and to keep neatly buried under the dirt. I ask the Lord for continued healing. I cry out to Him like that lady in Blue Like Jazz…not only for me but for anyone struggling in this area.
Jesus, please help us be good soil!
Linking up with Shari from Legacy Leaver Thursdays