April 29, 2009 § 2 Comments
Last week was one of those where I had to mow the lawn and get a haircut within a few days of one another. You have to understand that my hair, if not controlled, is a wild beast. It seems that over night it mysteriously transforms me from a typical, nondescript individual to the lost twin of Moammar Kadafi (in fact, Katherine refers to me as Moammar when my hair becomes too long, or… bushy, that is). My parents were thrilled when I graduated from Seminary because they were finally able to replace my High School graduation picture in the den (affectionately referred to as ‘the mushroom’).
Our lawn isn’t much different (and I wonder if lawns and owners are like that old cartoon that depicts people and their dogs as looking remarkably similar). When I mow our grass it is spectacular. But two or three rainy days with a lot of sunshine in between, and it becomes a yard worker’s (that would be me) nightmare.
Just this past week I had to constantly restart our poor machine because it couldn’t handle the thick grass. Fortunately the barber’s razor is electrically powered!
Such is the nature of the lawn and a head full of hair – always growing, and always being trimmed.
Yesterday, while inspecting the already-growing lawn, I was reminded of this doctrine we call sanctification. It teaches that as long as we are on the earth God is at work within us. That’s the quick version, but it is a good starting place. In other words, we are constantly being pruned and shaped by God’s indwelling Spirit, daily being confronted by our inner weaknesses, sins and struggles, relentlessly being challenged to live with a view toward the new heavens and the new earth, and daily being shaped to resemble Jesus more and more – a lifelong process every Christ-follower experiences.
There are painful moments because in the process God shows us who we really are, but then there is relief as He draws us before His Throne and dispenses Grace. And it is that daily work of God in our lives that reminds us that at one in the same time we are both unfinished, and completely loved and kept by the Father until He brings us home.
What struck me was that if we are perfectly honest, we don’t really like this process in its rawest form – because there is something in us that has a hard time believing God would love us enough to endure our garbage. And then it hit me that the only lawns you don’t mow and the only hair you don’t cut are those that don’t grow, right? We’re talking artificial turf and fake hair. Because the alternative to the need for consistent maintenance is an artificial existence – an artificial appearance, even. And so we are trimmed because we are living, breathing and growing vessels – we are human. And God has built into His Redemptive work, a vehicle – sanctification – in which to confront our mess and keep us human all at the same time.
Friends, this is such Good News.