A note from Kelly King: I’ve often taught on what it means to abide in Christ and how believers should bear good fruit. But, I was struck by Kaye Hurta’s article today and how she confronts the unwanted fruit that produces harmful results. I hope you will take a few moments today to read through these words carefully and examine your own heart. Ask the Lord to sow good seeds of the gospel that will produce the fruit of the Spirit.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 15, Jesus gives a clear word about what it takes to produce fruit—much fruit—in our lives. He says in verse 5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (NIV). Our Father is a Gardener. He plants seeds of life and truth in the soil of our lives, and it indeed produces fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 gives us a glimpse of what that fruit looks like in the life of the Christ-follower: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things” (CSB).
The enemy of our souls is also a gardener—a counterfeit gardener. The soil he sows in is the wounded soil of our hearts. If we do not tend to the wounded, hurting, pain-filled soil in our lives, we can expect the enemy to plant all manner of harmful seeds there. Those seeds also produce fruit. Do you notice any fruit in your life that could be growing from seed the enemy is planting in your wounded soil? Is there hatred, despair, anxiety, unkindness, faithlessness, or harshness?
If you are noticing any unwanted “fruit” in your life, may I make a suggestion? Follow the fruit to the root and be intentional about uprooting what doesn’t belong. I am in a challenging season of life right now. Earlier this week, as I was praying through my situation, I was made aware that some unwelcome “fruit” had sprung up. That fruit was anger. I’m a nine on the Enneagram so it’s already hard for me to identify when I’m feeling angry, but there it was. Thank you, Holy Spirit.
I followed that fruit to the root (its cause) and began a process to uproot it in my life.
If you have noticed something similar in your life or in the lives of the women you are ministering to, here are six ways to uproot unwanted fruit:
1. Create space to listen to your story and to the Spirit. We live distracted. Ruthlessly eliminate distraction from your life and create space to listen.
2. Name it. What is the unwanted fruit? Can you see it? Can you name it? For me, it began by saying, “I’m angry.”
3. Follow the fruit to the root. This is helpful to do with a trusted friend or counselor. It involves knowing what triggers the emotion and then following those triggers back to their origin in your story. As you do this, keep in mind that the tracing back could be to a recent situation or something that happened in childhood.
4. Process with a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor. Whatever you determine the root to be, process that with someone else. Processing may also include journaling. Journaling may also include writing a letter or writing your own “lament.”
5. Pray. Even before you were able to name the unwanted fruit, you prayed and asked the Spirit to reveal it. Pray now, not so much for revelation but for transformation. Is there something to confess? Is there someone to forgive? Is there someone or something to “hand over” to the Lord? Transformational prayer involves action and application. Surrender your concerns to Him daily! In the quiet space of walking and talking with the Lord, I was able to name what I was feeling—my anger. I could follow that unwanted fruit to the root and began to process it before the Lord and with others who love me.
Anger is not a sin, but how I respond and react in it and to it could easily be sinful. Has your wounding produced some sinful patterns in your life? Confess that now.
6. Courageously take necessary next steps. There are times when we need extra help. Some roots are deep and stubborn! Consider a support group or seeking a counseling referral. It is one of the best ways to care for yourself. Uprooting an unwanted root takes courage. You can do it! I’m “rooting” for you!
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.