It’s only been a few months since I wrote about the mess I had from clogged pipes. Back in January, in a valiant effort of heroism, at least according to my kids, I manned a face mask, rubber gloves, and cleaned grimy sludge out of our bathroom sink drainage pipes. You can read more about that episode here.
Well, I made a startling discovery last night as I was going through my nightly-getting-ready-for-bed routine. The water that had been flowing so freely after the great January Pipe Clean-Out had changed. Its flow didn’t have the same “umph.” You know, “umph,” that word that means things are moving along powerfully. What was rapid and continual just a few months back, to my discovery, now appeared more interested in hanging out in the basin. I stared at the slowly decreasing pool of water in disbelief. Could it be, already, gunky stuff clogging the bathroom sink pipes, again???
Before I hear from all you plumbers, ready to tell me the real physical problem with my pipes, I want to take a moment and explore the deeper message I got last night. As I stood before my sink watching the water filter down the drain at a turtle’s pace, these things came to mind:
The Mess is coming back
The clog is coming back.
The gunk is coming back.
From hidden inside those pipes, something was building up, and it wasn’t pretty.
It would only be a matter of time and everyone else would know what my sink pipes have been hiding.
Oh, my. Oh, my. How much this can mirror life. If you have not yet read my January post, click here to do so. Then everything I am about to say will make more sense.
I believe there are a lot of people who desire to do what’s right. Hopefully, even beyond “what’s right” they want to follow God’s direction. Possibly that sentence defines you. You want to be God’s servant and you’re diligently striving to get rid of any “junk” that might pull you away from God’s path. But little things can cause roadblocks. Maybe it’s watching something on TV that you know isn’t God-honoring. Maybe its music with questionable lyrics. Perhaps, the temptation to “talk about that other person (gossip),” or maybe it’s an addiction to shopping, the internet, or too much food. The list could go on and on. For each person, something different is the trigger point.
In our day to day life, there are so many things that can bring us down. Little things. Things the outside, ungodly world doesn’t consider to be “red flags,” yet things you know are keeping you from the freedom in Christ you so greatly need. We work hard to get rid of these “trouble spots,” but too often, their symptoms slowly return.
So how can you really be free?
I am not free in my bathroom. In January, I thought I’d freed my pipes from all the grime and gunk that clogged them. I was so excited about the fresh start and felt nothing but encouragement for the future. Things would be different. The “junk” was gone.
But day to day life kept me from properly keeping tabs on what was taking place. Without even realizing it, the yucky, murky junk that could eventually stop up my drain’s water flow, was building.
That “stumbling block” in your life is the same way. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 says: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
In January I cleaned out the clog, but I didn’t take ongoing measures to keep the clog clear. What sinful issue in your life needs regular “check-ups?” In what way should you, like 2 Corinthians 10:4 says, work continually to demolish strongholds?
Start by following 2 Corinthians 10:5: we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
As often as is necessary, do a self-check.
How are you doing? Are you taking thoughts captive, or, are you allowing yourself to fall back into bad patterns?
James 1: 12-15 gives us a clear reason why it is important to take captive every initial tempting thought. Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “I’m doing okay. I’m on top of this stuff. I believe my life is pretty much in order.” Then take a moment to ponder my pipe situation. I thought that was doing fine too until one night (last night), when I suddenly realized I’d been ignoring the little symptoms and would now be facing a much bigger one.
Ask God to reveal the “little areas” in your life that need to be removed.
Set up a regular plan to self-check your life, to make sure you’re not at risk for a major downfall later on. And finally, spend time every day reading Scripture. Biblically based encouragement books are nice but don’t ever let anything overtake the Inspired Word of God.
And, if you find yourself with any additional time, you’re welcome to come clean out my bathroom sink pipes. Unless, of course, God is using this situation to teach me a lesson. In that case, the cleanout job should be all mine.
Jennifer Beck is the Director of Marketing for WTLW and WOSN TV in Lima, OH. She is also an area rep for the Christian Home Educators of Ohio. Jennifer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (419) 339-4444 x 162.
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