In a recent attempt to improve my diet, I ventured into the produce aisle and bought some whole carrots. I like crunchy things and figured carrots could replace some of my cracker/chip intake. It’s working out pretty well. And while I may look somewhat ridiculous and Buggs-esque munching on the things, they’ve served as a pretty strong spiritual metaphor that I’m excited to share with you.
Here’s the thing: carrots are roots. Taproots to be precise- large, vertical, central roots from which the other smaller roots grow- the core of the carrot plant, hidden in the soil, absorbing and storing water and nutrients for the leafy greens above.
And the plant you see above the ground seems fairly inconsequential. Just a small green plant that the casual passerby might never realize indicates a large, orange, edible root. The exposed plant is just a symptom of what lies below. Porn addiction is also a symptom. That means there is a root, and that root is big deal.
If you have only seen carrot leaves, you do not know what a carrot is. You know a small part of the plant, but you have no idea about the main attraction, you’re clueless about the primary defining characteristic of the thing. If you’re addicted to porn or struggling with same sex attraction, or dealing with any type of sexual misconduct, you need to examine the root of the issue or you will never understand it. You can treat the symptom- train yourself to resist temptation, find victory over behaviors, and your life will be better. You’ll be a more pure and obedient follower of Christ, but there’s still so much unseen and untreated.
I have the stalk and leaves of my porn addiction and homosexuality pretty well tamed. I’m fighting for obedience and purity, but as I’ve broken the plant off closer to the ground than ever before I’ve been disturbed to notice the root for the first time. Digging even a little I can see the shoulders of a startlingly large taproot that’s been sitting under a shallow layer of soil all this time. It’s surprising and scary to know there’s so much more to my struggle than bad habits and impure thoughts.
I haven’t yanked the carrot out of the ground yet. I’m afraid of it. I can tell that peer rejection, insecurity, distrust, resentment, loneliness, feelings of inferiority, poor coping skills, a rebellious spirit, depression, doubts about God’s goodness, and childhood abuse may very well compose my root and that’s a lot to face.
Honestly, this is going to be traumatic. Uprooting anything is a violent act. But roots provide sustenance to the plant- feed the addiction, support the dysfunction. God wants to heal us and free us not only from our sins, but from the causes- our past, our pain, and our defects. I hope you’ll take some comfort with me from God’s word:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
–James 1:2-4. Identifying and confronting the root of our issues is surely a trial, but it’s necessary for us to grow up in our faith, overcome our sinful ways, and become equipped to be the disciples and testimonies of grace that our Father created and then saved us to be.
Philippians 1:6 assures us, “…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God Himself works to sanctify us; we don’t need to unearth carrots by our own strength. And He already knows what we’re about to dig up!
Psalm 139:1- “Oh Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.” We can do this, we can trust Him.