Ripping Out the Roots

Ripping Out the Roots

How can we do away with the sin we are so deeply woven and rooted in?
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"Not everything that grows us is good and right." —Jonathan Enix (Everything That Grows Us)

It's true— everyday circumstances have the ability to leave a lasting impression for the rest of our lives. Those overalls you wore your first day of school are a contributing factor to the reason you've been friends with the same person for 14 years. That person that you said "hi" to at a service project is now your best friend. That club you decided to join introduced you to the people who have laughed with you through the most awkward situations, cried with you through the tough times, and rejoiced with you through the broken chains.

It's strange to think that our daily decisions have led up to this moment in time that we are in right now. These decisions are the ones that grow us-- positively and negatively.

We have people and aspects of our lives that impact us positively, but we also have other people and aspects that impact our lives negatively. It's important to understand the original seeds from which our true selves grow, but it's also important to understand what waters those seeds and, ultimately, where our roots—good or bad—are grounded.

The roots of a tree are the foundation. They keep the tree in place. A tree's identity is found in the roots because these roots have a direct effect on everything else connected to the tree. Similarly, roots have everything to do with the way we water them. It's honestly simple: whichever roots you water, those are the ones that will grow. Good roots grow good fruit, and bad roots grow bad fruit.

The same goes for us. As people, we have figurative roots. We have people, places, and things that keep us grounded, and these are the things we look to when we have trials and tribulations. However, sometimes these roots are harmful to our well-being if we aren't rooted in the things that bear good fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control— qualities of God).

Sometimes, we don't always water the right roots. Our thoughts, emotions, and actions are the way we water our figurative roots, and if these things are negative, the roots within us won't be grounded in God. They will be grounded with sin. Sometimes, these roots have the ability to grow and deepen, and it is difficult to not turn to those things (bitterness, unforgiveness, substances, etc.) when times are trying because that's where we find our identity.

How do you get rid of the negative roots that are so deeply woven into your emotions, thoughts, and actions?

I am a firm believer in the fact that our God is a God who is able to rip out the roots. I see people who have been delivered from alcoholism, depression, and other things. I see people who are weighed down by these things one day, but the next day their desires for worldly things are gone. Unfortunately, this isn't always the way it goes. There are things people struggle with that they may never get immediately delivered from, whether it's a disease, feeling, or a habit. This can be really frustrating for those who try to stay steadfast in God and feel no sort of weight lifted off of them. That is where this comes into play:

"Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, a victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting."

Philippians 1:27-29 (MSG)

Roots are deep. You can cut down a tree all you want, but the roots are not so easily done away with. There comes a point where we make the decision to not feed those roots. We have to remain faithful to our roots that are planted in Him, and in return, we will see that He remains invested in us. It's easy to kick and scream and cry and ask God, "Why is this happening?" but it's important to remember that we are suffering for a good reason. God isn't setting us up for a loss; he's putting us in a position to better ourselves and deepen our roots with Him. Once we put our emotions, thoughts, and actions in the roots that matter, we realize that day by day we are letting those negative roots die. We have to make a choice to not feed those roots, and although that is a hard thing to do, we've got a God who will fight the battle alongside us.

I believe that God makes the best out of what the devil intends for evil, and I also believe that the harder the circumstances we face, the more God trusts us. What an incredible honor that the Lord of the universe would trust me to face the darkest of shadows! What joy can be found in the fact that God gives us exactly what we need! My God is a God who rips out the roots, yes, but my God is a God Who is faithful. My God is a God Who will stay by my side, come Hell or high water, and help me let the sinful roots rot. That is something we can find peace and comfort in when we have the courage to let our roots die.



*A special thank you to Katelyn Clark, who inspired this article!

Cover Image Credit: Brad Grove

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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You Ain’t Waiting For God To Bring You Your Dinner, You Get Up And Go Cook It

My words often get jumbled and don't make sense, so I figured writing it would help me come across clearly.

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Dear guy friends of mine,

I want you to know how grateful I am for your friendship. Having close guy friends has helped me better understand men and learn how the male species operates. I've been able to ask you so many questions and you've responded with thoughtfulness, kindness, grace, and honesty. I appreciate your willingness to talk to me.

I want to encourage you in something, and with some of you I have tried, but I think I came across as a little crazy. From what I've been told by married women, guys are very afraid of actual crazy. You want your girl to have some crazy (because all women have at least a little bit of crazy), but you don't want her to be, like, crazy. I get that and respect that.

I want to encourage you to ask girls out. It's scary. You're afraid of rejection. I know this because several of you have told me so. I recently spoke with a guy who's been married for a few years and has a baby daughter. He told me that you guys are scared, you don't want to put your heart on the line and have it crushed. That's a good reason not to pursue girls: you'll remain safe and free from hurt if you don't put your feelings out there.

But here's the other side of it: You'll never find that girl if you never search for her. Now, I know that all things happen in God's timing and as imperfect humans, we can't force things to happen outside of God's timeline. However, Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas said this in a sermon several years ago:

"But something's happened in evangelical circles where if you're single you're supposed to not want to be married, but be content in a spot and that's somehow more glorifying than following God's wiring of you to want a mate. And so in the end what happens is that you walk around like a liar. I mean, poor young ladies! Almost all of them have been told, "As soon as you're content, God will send you a man." So you've got hundreds of thousands of women running around acting content! "I'm content, where is he?" You've got other guys going, "You know, I'm just gonna wait for God to bring me the right one." Well, you ain't waiting for God to bring you your dinner, alright? You get up and go cook it."

Pastor Chandler goes on to say that he's not telling the guys to go on the hunt and prowl. No! He's telling guys that they have a role to play in pursuing a woman to marry. Girls have a role to play, too. Girls can't just hang out with their girlfriends in hopes that they'll lock eyes with Prince Charming while in the grocery store or walking their dog in the park. No, girls need to build up the guys in their lives and respect them by letting the guys be guys and giving them opportunities to be gentlemen. That's what I appreciate about you guys, my guy friends. You are such gentlemen and I love that. Don't be afraid to ask out the girl that you think is sweet, cute, pretty, funny, kind, silly, honest, loyal, and the right amount of crazy. You've got this!

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