There is a part of our house about which we often don’t think; a part that some of us probably never think about. Yet, it is a vitally important maintenance item from which we need to apply some principles to our spiritual lives.
It’s not something that we prize or cherish, but when it doesn’t work properly, we surely aren’t pleased. It is the sewer line that takes everything from our sinks, showers and toilets to the city pipes. Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of assisting my father-in-law with cleaning out his lines. As I was on my knees over a pipe that was emitting less than pleasant odors running a snake, I figured that there had to be some spiritual lesson to learn in the process.
When the Junk Doesn’t Get Carried Away
All of us have junk in our life that we need to be flushing out regularly. We need to be sure that negative thoughts, offenses, disappointments, wrong actions and attitudes, and other sins are cleared out and sent down the drain. If we hold onto such things we will be unhealthy and a mess.
There can be a variety of problems that can cause a backup. Roots are often the primary issue. The roots will catch other objects that should be able to flow freely. So we have to deal with the roots in our life. What are some roots that we may have? The roots that block a clean drain include established habits and mindsets, past experiences, family patterns of unhealthy behavior, and accepted false identities.
Once an initial backup is created, it only gets worse, as more junk accumulates at that point. If it is allowed to go on very long, then the junk backs up into the house, and, well, we all have an idea of, or can imagine, what that is like.
Resolving the Root Issues
Even though the blockage is unseen on the surface, out of sight, out of mind won’t last long. Eventually, things are going to implode into a stinky mess that leaves one is disarray. It may come out at the most inopportune time, not that any time to have a mess is opportune.
Step one always seems to require admitting that there is a problem. We can ignore it, hope that it goes away, avoid talking about it, deny that the problem is there, and live in ignorant bliss. However, the root won’t vanish on its own. Until you are willing to deal with the issue, it will just continue to build up.
Gather the Tools Needed
We need to get the proper tools and take care of the root issues. Generally for the sewer lines in our house we will use a sewer snake. This is a tool that runs a cable with a cutting end down the pipes.
In our spiritual lives, the most important tool is the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts and is able to diagnose where the root issue lies. It is also the Holy Spirit who is able to cut off the roots and clear out the junk from our lives. Isn’t that a blessing to hear! Most of the time Holy Spirit will work through other people in our life to do the work.
Sometimes the issue is small and can be handled on our own but many times we need help. Don’t go getting the entire neighborhood together to clean the line; that will lead to a lot of chatter and gossip. Get one, or two, trusted person(s) to come alongside and assist with the process. (Keep in mind, it is best that they have some experience with this particular kind of problem to prevent further disaster).
Depending on the extent of the issue, professional help may be needed. Be aware that all professional help is not the same. If you desire to lead a Christ centered life then getting help from Godly ministers (lay or professional) is important as opposed to going to just any counselor.
Methods for Resolving the Root Issues
Since the sewer line is buried underground, there are a couple options to get to it to clean it out. One option is to go dig and dig and dig to uncover and replace the line. That is only necessary when it is broken or otherwise compromised beyond a cleaning. In our spiritual lives, the replacement of the sewer line occurs at salvation when we are made new in Christ.
There may be times that we have extensive roots which will require some digging into our past to uncover. Family patterns of behavior or even generational curses may run deep. Involvement in occult activities or groups may also require extra digging and potentially deeper work than a simple cleaning.
Cutting the Roots
For ongoing maintenance we don’t need to dig up the line, just have an access point from which to clean it. This access point is called a “clean out” and is generally located in the basement or outside of the house.
Once you locate the cleanout, it’s a process of unpleasant odors and patience. With the help of an assistant begin feeding the tool down the line until you come upon a blockage. Here you need to slow down and let the Holy Spirit do His work. Our tendency is to smash ahead and use force to clear the line. But when you are dealing with roots, they have to be cut and the edges of the pipe cleaned of remaining connections before moving on down the line.
When you come upon a batch of roots you can’t just ram through them. If you try to go too fast the snake will twist and can cause injury as it wraps around your arm. When this happens you have to reverse the machine and work the snake back out. It takes time and patience to work through some of the bigger blockages. Sometimes you have to take a couple of approaches to get an issue cleared. Patience and the help of a good friend are important to clear the roots without causing damage to the pipe.
Completing the Cleaning Out
Celebrate the resolution of each area that you have cleared. Praise the Lord for the freedom that you have received. And thank your friend(s) who have helped you through that problem. Then make sure that there aren’t other issues to be addressed.
Once you clear a group of roots it is important to continue to work on down the line until it is all cleared to the city sewer. There may be just a few small blockages of roots or you may have to work through several big issues. If you leave the work incomplete you will still have backups in the house, which leaves an undesired odor.
Once the line is clear, go take a shower because you stink from being in the presence of the backed up junk. There is no better way to take a shower in the spiritual than to worship Almighty God. Praise the Lord fervently. Let His cleansing water flow over your entire being, refreshing and renewing.
Have a Maintenance Plan
As a follow up, it is important to regularly inspect our lives and be sure that we don’t have roots growing where they shouldn’t. We need to daily (or more frequently) confess our sins and ask the Lord to cleanse us. He is faithful and just and will forgive us of all our sins (1 John 1:9).
Have a maintenance plan for your life. I recommend an accountability partner, who is a trusted friend who has full access to your life. Full access means they have the ability to ask anything from you and receive an honest answer back. The importance of others in our life is shown in Proverbs 27:17 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
When a root is developing, cut it out before it causes a blockage. With the help of your accountability partner you should be able to see potential areas of thought or habits that will lead to problems. Once identified, take care of them before they grow and cause a problem.
When we are willing to take the time and do the hard work of dealing with root issues we can live a clean life before the Lord. We will also be in a position to minister to others more effectively. And best of all we won’t be stinky people!
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