In Matthew 3:8-10, John the Baptist established a foundational Kingdom Principle: The Kingdom of God is all about the transformation. If Kingdom is about transformation, then it requires getting to the root!
…bear fruits worthy of repentance 9 (mentions fruits) (and then goes to the root)"and do not think to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father. But I say to you that God is able to raise her children to Abraham from the stones. 10 "And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown
into the fire. (NKJ)
If we are going to experience transformation we have to get to the roots. John's word to the Jews was "the Kingdom is here," but before they could ever step into the kingdom & experience transformation, they had to address their roots. At the root of it all, the Pharisees and Sadducees were hanging onto a religious system rooted in God’s covenant with Abraham. It was meant to be a committed relationship built on faith and trust. But they proved they had a shallow faith capacity. Faith capacity and the ability to trust God are deep, deep root issues. For the Pharisees and Sadducees, it somehow evolved into following Law and Legalistic practices that produced a prideful religious attitude of entitlement and elitism.
When Jesus addressed attitudes of the heart, it was because he was no resemblance of faith and trust. Jesus said "unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (NKJ) In other words, you can’t be religious on the outside and rotten on the inside. What John saw in the Pharisees and Sadducees was that “at the root" their religious life was a barrier to Kingdom Life. Religious Life and Kingdom Life don’t mix. The Kingdom of God is not ruled by religion – not by routines, rites or rituals. The Kingdom of God is ruled by RELATIONSHIP. The Jews understood Jewish Law and heritage. This stuff was ingrained in them from birth. It's all they knew and they refused to see that it was their barrier to truth and freedom.
Prayer and fasting is a time to examine your roots, to examine your heart.
Consider the following "Root Assessment." How might each one be part of the barrier to truth and freedom for you?
1. Birth parents, family, siblings, marriage, children, etc.
2. Ethnicity, culture, hometown
3. Traditions, Life patterns and cycles
5. Activities, sports, entertainment
7. Life experiences: celebrations, loss, traumatic experiences
8. Personal values and beliefs: How did they begin/develop?
Address each one. Ask God to reveal your barriers to truth and freedom. Transformation is a life-long process of checking and dealing with our roots so we can walk in truth and freedom and so we can produce greater fruit for the Kingdom of God.