Being changed into the image of Jesus
Remove All The Bad Roots
It Is Possible
(taken from the book "I Will Give You Rest" by Edward Kurath)
A subtle but profound misunderstanding of what we are like
inside has made it difficult for many Christians to see how there
can be sin inside us. There is a prevalent view that implies that
inside we are like a jar, a container with a single compartment.
Therefore, when we give our life to Jesus, He forgives our sins
and the jar is now clean. Now that we are pure on the inside, we
should be able to act pure on the outside.
The reason this view is erroneous is that, unfortunately, this is
never the way it works. I know of no one, including myself, for
whom life has been this way. And it was not that way for Paul
when he wrote the book of Romans (specifically Chapter 7) for
Honeycomb Honey Jar
The truth is that inside we are more like a honeycomb than a
honey jar. We have many compartments inside, not just one.
Some of the compartments contain Jesus, and those are like the
"good roots" referred to in Scripture, and which I referred to in
the prior chapter. These good roots produce good fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
kindness, goodness (Galatians 5:22-23).
"Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad
tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad
fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. A good tree
cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good
fruit. . . Therefore by their fruits you will know
them." (Matthew 7:17-18, 20, NKJV).
However, some of the compartments still contain bad roots.
These bad roots produce bad fruit, as I have previously
mentioned, and they are still present and continue to produce
bad fruit even after we become a Christian. These bad roots are
shown as dark spots in the honeycomb diagram.
We need to bring Jesus into each compartment of the
"Honeycomb" that has darkness in it. This transformation is a
process, not a one-time event.
This is the sanctification process which is addressed in so many
places in the Bible. Bringing Jesus into each compartment is
the process of being changed into His image.
Once Jesus has taken up residence in that particular place in
our "Honeycomb," He produces the good fruit automatically,
because Jesus can do nothing but produce good fruit. It is His
nature. As He takes over that part of our heart, His nature
actually becomes ours in that area. This good root that now
resides in that part of our "Honeycomb" then produces good
For instance, if we have struggled with lying, we have found that
trying hard not to lie hasn't worked (trying implies use of our
willpower). We find ourselves still lying. We need to find the bad
root. Perhaps we realize that our father lied to us, and we
judged him for it (we sinned by judging him). This bad root is
causing the bad fruit.
When we deal with the bad root and replace it with the life of
Jesus, we find we just don’t lie anymore. There is now good
fruit, which is evidence of Jesus in that place in us. It is now so
natural not to lie that we may not even be aware that we are
different, because it is a new “us."
Does this sound too good to be true? Believe me, it is true.
Better yet, believe Jesus when He said,
"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father
in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48, I added the bold).
When Jesus cleanses one compartment of the Honeycomb, it
does not mean that all the compartments are clean. Other bad
roots will undoubtedly remain, and they will be causing other
bad fruit. We need to continue being transformed as God shows
us areas in our heart that need healing. This is what Paul meant
when he said,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
for it is God who works in you both to will and to do
for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).
We will look more fully at the necessity to keep working on this
process in Chapter 17, “It Is A Journey."
All of us want to be completely healed and set free right now.
Once you discover that healing and relief from your pain and
bad fruit is possible, you don’t want to wait. You may wonder
why this process has to take the rest of your life. Doesn’t God
want you healed?
You need to be patient. Jesus is directing your sanctification
process, and He is proceeding as fast as possible. You are not
behind schedule. There are many possible reasons for any
delay. If He is going slowly, you can be assured He is acting
slowly for a good reason. For instance, if the bad root relates to
a very traumatic event, the memory of the event may be deeply
buried. Your defenses buried it specifically so you wouldn't
have to relive it. To see it again before you are prepared might
cause you to be re-traumatized. Because God loves you, He
wants you healed, not wounded further.
Before revealing such a root to you, He spends time preparing
you. He will not let you see it until you will be able to see it
without again being wounded. God's process will have made
you ripe to deal with this root.
"Ripeness" is like picking apples. If you try to pick an apple
before it is ripe, it is difficult to pull off the tree, and you are likely
to damage the branch. However, ripe apples fall off easily in
your hand. So the Lord ripens you so that when you pray (when
you apply the blood of Jesus), it is easy. Then the process
brings healing. But you can't rush your healing any more than
you can speed the ripening of the apples on a tree.
"If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:
When we read a scripture like this, we tend to strive to keep His
commandments, because we want to please God. We want Him
to know that we love Him, and it seems as though this scripture
is telling us that the way we can prove our love for him is to keep
His commandments. How can one reconcile this with what we
have been discovering about our inability to keep His
commandments in our own strength (that is, with our willpower)?
Fortunately, Jesus clearly explains what He meant in the context
surrounding the above scripture. The explanation is in John 15:
5, which is sandwiched between two scriptures that talk about
keeping His commandments.
"He who has My commandments and keeps them, it
is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be
loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest
Myself to him" ( John 14:21).
" I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides
in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without
Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in
My love, just as I have kept My Father's
commandments and abide in His love" (John 15:10).
What could be clearer than "without Me you can do nothing?"
Keeping this in mind, then John 15:10 is saying something like,
"If you keep My commandments this is evidence that you have
been changed into My image, because on your own you could
not do it. When you have My nature, you love the Father in
exactly the same way that I do." Jesus loves the Father because
that is His nature.
The reason that we can be thrown into striving to keep God's
commandments is that we are confused about how we go about
pleasing God. We focus on our behavior (keeping the
commandments) rather than the cause of the behavior (our heart
condition). We try to keep the commandments in order to prove
that we love God.
That is backwards.
We can only please God by first being changed into the image of
Jesus, and then we will keep the commandments because that
is now our new nature. The heart has to change first, and then
the behavior will change. Changing our behavior does not
change our heart. 1 John 4:19 says,
We love him because He first loved us.
This is the direction of the flow, from God to us, not the other
way around. If you are not clear on this, you can misread many
scriptures. I would suggest that you read John 14:15 through
15:17 in your Bible to get the full flow of what Jesus is saying.
Let me illustrate this with a parallel. Imagine that I break my leg.
It hurts, so I take a painkiller, and it hurts less (I manipulate the
symptom). But the leg is still broken (the cause). If I neglect the
painkiller, it hurts a lot. If the doctor said that a healthy leg
shouldn't hurt, I would agree. If mine weren't broken, it wouldn't
hurt. But saying my broken leg shouldn't hurt doesn't keep it
from hurting. The only way for my leg pain to go away (the
symptom, or bad fruit) is for my broken leg (the cause, or bad
root) to heal (be changed to a good root).
Similarly, when I sin, there is a wound in my heart. It causes
emotional pain and I have bad fruit, so I try to act differently (I
manipulate the symptom). But it doesn't work very well,
because there is a bad root inside me (the cause). When Jesus
says that I should keep His commandments, I would agree. If I
didn't have the bad root in my heart, the bad things wouldn't
happen. But saying I should keep His commandments does not
make it possible as long as Jesus isn’t abiding in that particular
area of my heart (my heart is wounded). The only way I can keep
the commandments (the symptom) is for my wounded heart (the
cause, or bad root) to be healed and for Jesus to take up
residence there (the bad root to be changed to a good root). The
symptom is not the cause. We have had it backwards, and have
focused on the symptom (the fruit outside) and not the cause
(the root inside).
Keeping God's Commandments
When Jesus says that we should keep His commandments He is
simply saying that is how we can tell whether there is a bad root
inside us. Be careful not to be confused about this. The
emphasis is never on the fruit, but is always upon the root.
Focusing on the bad fruit can set us to striving to keep the
commandments with our willpower - and thus doom us to
failure. It is a subtle but deadly trap, and we so easily stumble
on this stumbling stone.
There are many scriptures that can be misunderstood if we
confuse the fruit with the root. The book of James has some
significant examples of these kinds of scriptures, such as:
These scriptures are simply saying that if there are no "works"
- Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is
dead (James 2:17).
- You see then that a man is justified by works, and not
by faith only (James 2:24).
(no good fruit) this is evidence that there is no "faith" (no good
root). They are not mandating "trying" with our willpower. Good
fruit is all about outward evidence (our behavior), whereas good
roots are all about the cause (conditions hidden inside us).
When we find it difficult to obey a commandment of the Lord, we
have three choices:
1. We can ignore the command.
2. We can try to obey the command in our own strength (our
willpower) - - - The Destructive Path below.
3. We can have the Lord deal with the bad root through the
blood of Jesus - - - The Healing Path below.
- Perceived wound
- We sin
- Bad Root planted
- Bad Fruit results from the Bad Root.
- Perceived wound
- We sin
- We repent
- We receive forgiveness (Bad Root uprooted)
- Good Root planted (infilling of Jesus)
- Good Fruit results effortlessly from the Good Root.
We Plant New Bad Roots
The healing path is to bring Jesus into each bad root in our
"Honeycomb." Unfortunately we also frequently plant new bad
There are many ways that we all sin and thus plant more bad
roots in our "Honeycomb." However, the sin that produces
most of the damage and destruction in our lives is the sin of
judging. Jesus singled out this sin when He said,
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what
judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the
same measure you use, it will be measured back to
you" (Matthew 7:1-2).
When we judge another, we will surely reap bad consequences.
When we plant a bad root in our "Honeycomb" by judging, we
can call the bad root a "bitter root" and the action of judging a
"Bitter Root Judgment." I will frequently use these terms in the
rest of the book. In the next chapter it will become more clear
why this particular sin of judging is so serious and so
Not Just For A Sick Few
Now that you understand the truth about bad fruit and bad roots,
it should be clear that this process is not something for only a
few Christians who are really sick emotionally. We all sin and fall
short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and Jesus died to set
all of us free from this bondage. This process of being changed
into the image of Jesus, which is also called "Inner Healing" by
some people, and referred to as "sanctification" in the Bible, is
the normal walk for all Christians. In the Chapter 6, "God Is On
Your Side" I will explore in detail how very important this
process is to God. It is His gift to us.
We have a tendency to sin often. When we do, we plant dark
places in our "Honeycomb," and these prevent us from
following God's laws in those particular areas of our life. These
bad roots produce bad fruit. When we repent and bring Jesus
into those dark areas of our "Honeycomb," one area at a time,
we are changed into His image, step by step. As He takes up
residence in those particular areas, the cursing side of the law
stops. The good root of Jesus produces good fruit.
God's commandments are a way of measuring whether we have
a bad root inside. If we misunderstand and thus try to keep them
with our willpower, we will fail.
Even though we have the tendency to sin often, we have the
living presence of Jesus, and He provides His blood to wash us
clean every time. There is no shortage of the blood of Jesus.
Through this provision, He has provided the way for us to be set
free from the sins that beset us, by changing us into His image.
Now perhaps you can better understand why Matthew 11:28-30
and the title of this book so clearly describe your struggle.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and
learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is
easy and My burden is light.
Click here to go to the next chapter.
If what you have been reading makes sense to you,
then to actually take this journey out of your
brokenness and into peace, you need the whole story.
My book, "I Will Give You Rest" gives you the whole
story, including the scriptures revealing how Jesus and
you can do this.
He came to give us life here and now, not just in the life
Click here to see how to buy the book.
Copyright 2003 Edward Kurath.