Daily Devotional

"Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." Hebrews 12:15b

I do not have a green thumb…at all. I don’t think I’ve ever kept a plant alive my entire life. Any greenery that we have around our house is solely due to my wife’s persistence and dedication. I can mow the grass, trim hedges, and prune branches, but that’s all simply upkeep. I couldn’t tell you the first thing about planting and nurturing anything that grows in the ground.

We have a small hill in front of our house that we planted grass on. My wife’s parents were in town visiting and were admiring the grassy hillside. My mother in-law noticed some weeds that were invading the grass and so she sat down and started digging them up. Like I said, I have no problem mowing the yard, but little did I know that when I was mowing the beautiful grass, I was also mowing that weed. My mother in-law pointed out that even though the top was getting cut off, it was growing stronger and tougher under the surface and in fact needed to be pulled up by the root. As soon as the root was removed, the weed no longer threatened the grass.

I’m sure I’ll forget the agricultural lesson, but the spiritual implication has certainly stuck with me. We can do everything right on the surface and make sure that what people see looks just right, but it’s under the surface that really matters. We might be outwardly kind to someone while a seed of bitterness is taking root in our heart.

Any kind of growth is always slow and if we’re not careful a bitter seed can take root and every so subtly grow stronger and more treacherous without us even noticing. This will not only poison our own hearts, but it will also naturally spill out of us and onto others.

The surface isn’t the only thing that matters; we also need to tend to the gardens of our hearts. We must be careful what we plant because whatever seed we plant will eventually grow and bear fruit. If a seed of bitterness has taken root in your heart, don’t just cover it up, don’t just remove the visible part, dig down deep and pull it out by the root. A bitter root can only lead to bitter fruit. If we instead plant the fruit of the Spirit in our hearts, we will reap a much more appealing harvest.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.