Each time I drive into our neighborhood and take the first glance at our home, my eyes draw themselves to a large bush that has died. Where there is surrounding green with manicured touches, this singular bush distracts from the curb appeal of the house I call home. The problem is by the time I pull up the drive and enter the house, the task of taking care of what is dead becomes a low priority.

However, last week was an exception. I told myself that I would address the lifeless plant before I do one more thing. What I didn’t realize was the task would prove to be a test of patience and perseverance.

The shrub was not going anywhere simply by my desire for it to leave. And even when I gave it a hearty push and pull, it slightly bent and raised its head to me in stubborn arrogance. I finally resorted to cutting the branches. As I stepped back to review my progress, one fact remained: the roots were still alive. I got a shovel and began digging. Much to my surprise, the roots had weaved themselves under my house. I could not pull hard enough to get them to release their hold. I gave up and went about my day.

A few days later we had a downpour of rain and wind. It rained for three days straight. On the last day of the storms, I noticed several of my healthy plants had lost leaves and looked tired. And then a thought came to me: now that the storm is over, perhaps the wet ground will submit and allow the root of the dead bush to be extracted.

Back with the shovel I went, this time knowing that it was going to be a messy mission. Through the mud, I found the roots. As I got down on my knees, I pulled with all my might. A gnarled sight came from the ground. I shuddered thinking this was underneath my home.

Friends, this is sin.

“For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

We may recognize a part of our lives that is not pleasing to God. We may even acknowledge that sin distracts from our curb appeal as a Christian; however, we get so comfortable that we do not make it a priority to deal with our sin. Therefore, what is an eyesore to us becomes something much more: a wound to our spirit.

When we finally take steps to address this wound, we soon realize we can trim our sin and make it look better, justifying our actions. However, the roots are still alive. We might even make a conscious decision not to partake in this sin again. Yet, no amount of desire is strong enough to fight the devil. You take your best shovel and dig deep into your soul, pulling and tugging, willing yourself to free yourself. Soon you give up.

And then the storms come. The winds shake the windows of your soul. You surrender to Christ Jesus. On your knees, you realize a great truth:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

God rescued us from the death of sin. Jesus took on sin for all people. We may not realize how sin is affecting the foundation of our lives. We choose not to think about gnarled roots of unrighteousness twisting themselves under our homes, in words, in thoughts and actions. Often it is only after a distressing storm do we finally surrender. We set ourselves aside and see the hand of God in our lives: this protecting hand which saves us by His love.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).

In our humble surrender, God uproots us from that which hinders our relationship with Him. Yes, He is able to give us freedom and new life!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

May we look at the health of our lives this week and ask God to remove any root of sin. And then may we surrender to Christ’s will as we follow His lead towards freedom.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier, Instagram: @tiffanysgly, and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.