Have you ever cut down a tree? Do you know a tree will grow back if the roots are healthy? How do you stop a tree from growing back? How do you stop bad behavior? How do you keep people from being bad people?
The answer to all these questions lies in the roots. You must go to the root of the bad behavior to stop it. You must go to the root (or heart) of people to stop them from becoming bad people. You must destroy the root to keep a tree from coming back.
Why is the root so important? It is the root that draws nourishment from the soil. It pulls in the water and minerals from the soil to feed the trunk, to cause branches to grow, to cause leaves to sprout or blossoms to bloom. The root is the key.
It is the same for people. To make a change for the good, the bad root must be expelled. To keep a good person from turning bad, the person must continue to be fed good. When talking about people, their heart is the same as the root. Regardless of what we call it, it is where changes must be made and where good must be planted.
In today’s passage, John the Baptist is giving fair warning to the religious elite of Jewish religion that the root is about to be cut, which means they are about to fall from God’s grace. Why? They are not producing fruit—the fruit God wants them to produce.
Have we fallen into dormancy? Are we producing fruit for God? If not, we may find ourselves in the same situation the Pharisees and Sadducees found themselves in. However, we have been given fair warning and have the opportunity to change, just as they had. Taking John’s warning to heart (or root) is the best choice we can make.
Producing fruit is something God looks for. That doesn’t mean we are required to bring ten people into God’s kingdom. It does mean we are to represent His Son as an ambassador. We are to be a positive influence on those we encounter. We are to be the light of Jesus.
I pray we take John’s warning to heart. I pray we are good ambassadors for God. I pray we show the light of Jesus to everyone we meet. Be a good ambassador for God. Be the light of Jesus. Bear fruit for God. Do not risk being cut off at the root.
Matthew 3:10 “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”