I am happy that as the weather cooled, I could miss mowing the lawn on Monday. This enabled me to get back to my Friday schedule … today. Because the grass is wet in the mornings, I decided to trim the bushes and ground cover along the house side. As I went along, my “trim” changed into some serious cutting back.
Going back some 60-61 years to the days of Rock ‘n Roll and Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley … greasy longer hair was fashionable back then (this hairstyle was not like the Beatles; that was Hippy or Merseyside Style). To keep this longer hair down, people used Brylcreem, a hair gel. My dad, however, was very conservative and said, “Either I cut your hair or you have a short back and sides [at the Barbershop].” If dad cut my hair, it would be like someone putting a “wee potty” on your head, and no 10 or 11 year old who was starting to think about appearance would want that, so short back and side it was. The Elvis cut only came after I left school!
Getting back to the garden … I spent more than half the day giving the bushes and ground cover a “short back and sides”. It was aggressive, but needed for appearance and for the winter weather.
This makes me think of one’s spiritual life. All too often we allow our souls to get cluttered up with so many “things”. Spiritual bushes grow wild, spiritual ground cover stretches far and wide and then Spiritual weeds grow in abundance. We could call this the cluttering up of the soul. It can’t breathe. Parts, such as morals and ethics, start to die off. Spiritual disciplines fade away. One’s relationship with Jesus becomes so bumpy that shutting the door becomes easy. You have been there as I have been there.
Paul writes to the Church at Rome giving some provocative teaching:
Ro 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Proof of salvation is related to living by, or being “led” by, the Spirit. Living according to the sinful nature reflects the lack of saving grace.
Now look at the “short back and sides” we need to engage in to be ruthless in proving our love for and salvation in Jesus Christ.
Gal 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
The “short back and sides” is seen in verse 24: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires”. Once we have done this, we are able to live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit.
Lord Jesus, help me to be true to you and deal radically with all sin in my life so that I can keep in step with the Spirit for your glory and my eternal benefit. Amen.