When I struggle to uproot an old stump, I learn about the process of uprooting ungodly habits in my life.
Question: In your experience, what practical steps can be taken to break ungodly habits?
Hebrews 12:1 (abbreviated)
Have you ever tried to dig out the stump of an old, rotted tree?
One day, in my mid-teens, as I attacked the stump of an overgrown shrub, I became infuriated by its sheer stubbornness. Despite all my efforts to sever every binding root in sight, the stump refused to come out of the ground.
I sat back on my heels, considering. Was there, perhaps, a tap root? If there was such a root, it was buried deeply where I could not reach it.
My father, noting my frustration, offered to work on the stump for a while. I returned to the house, poured myself a drink, then made my way back to the site. To my surprise, as I approached, I found that the entire stump lay next to the crater of earth where it had formerly resided. The stump was out.
“You were 90% there,” Dad told me. “You just needed to clear around it. The old dirt was holding it in.”
The Dirt of Old Habits
How many times do we make the same mistake in our lives? We strike at every root of sin that we recognize, but we fail to clear out the dirt of old patterns. Even with all roots severed, the habits cling to the stump of our faults and defy its removal.
Suppose we clip the roots of sins and immediately remove the things that reinforce them. Do certain places, habits, media, situations, or environments confirm those undesirable things in us? What can we do to clear out the “old dirt” and start fresh?
Of course, the best strategies fail without the help of God’s Holy Spirit to convict and strengthen. Admit your need and ask Him to interfere, as my father did, and to bring a shovel to help you clear the old dirt away.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.