Bitter Root, Bitter Fruit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23a NIV)

“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)

Fruit can be deceiving. Vegetables—not so much. I don’t know why. When I pick up a head of lettuce, a bag of potatoes, or a bunch of carrots, they usually taste like lettuce, potatoes, and carrots.

Fruit, on the other hand, can be tricky. Luscious green grapes. Shiny red strawberries. Round little oranges. They look yummy. Until I pop one in my mouth—and I pucker. The taste is sharp. Sour. Bitter.

Fruit of the Spirit tend to be true to form. Like vegetables, though much more pleasant. I took a recent inventory of my own fruit—spiritually speaking. While I respect the ebb and flow of the seasons, I also recognize I should be growing in love, joy, . . .

And I wasn’t.

Love proved evasive in my thoughts, words, and deeds. This raised a red flag, and I began to pray about it. Something was wrong. I just didn’t know what.

The Holy Spirit lost no time in revealing the problem.

A bitter root.

One I thought I had dealt with. Turned out I had simply buried it deeper. And it was making me sharp, sour, and bitter. It needed to go.

So, I dealt with forgiveness, learned to bless the one I’d been bitter toward, and loosened the dirt around that stubborn root.

Soft instead of sharp. Sweet instead of sour. Blessing instead of bitter.

So, how’s your fruit? Are you sweet or sour? Here are some tips to find out.

Take Inventory

Are your spouse and kids walking on eggshells? Or is there an easy freedom in your presence?

Check With the Gardener

John 15:1 says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” Ask God to reveal the issue. He will know if it’s a root problem, poor soil, or bugs.

Check Your Attitude—At The Door

Humble yourself and accept both the diagnosis and the treatment. For me, the bitter root had to be removed. While leftover bits threaten to sprout, the problem has improved greatly.

Remember your place in the scheme of things: You are a branch. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Stay connected to the Vine.


How do you choose fruit at the store?

Have you ever been burned? Bought fruit that looked good but wasn’t?

Have you experienced people that were the same way?

How’s your inventory?


Fruit can be deceiving. Vegetables—not so much. Click To Tweet
Soft instead of sharp. Sweet instead of sour. Blessing instead of bitter. Click To Tweet
A bitter root. And it was making me bitter too. Click To Tweet

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