Too Safe

I won’t say that I enjoy mowing the lawn. Mostly, I do not. I think my particular mower is sort of fun to drive and I like to see the progress as I move along. It’s rewarding, albeit a pain in the rump. I could pay someone to do it. But because it’s something I CAN do myself I was raised to believe that I SHOULD do it myself. So, I do.

If you’ve never seen me mowing the grass, you’ve really missed something! You see, I like to be safe and prior incidents have encouraged my due diligence in wearing protective gear to do relatively simple tasks. So, as I prepare to mow the grass, I first apply sunscreen. Because I have allergies, I then put on a mask. The mask is complemented with full-coverage safety goggles. Then, to farther protect against the sun’s brutal rays, I place a ball cap and secure it onto my head with noise reduction safety earmuffs. As you can imagine, I look ridiculous.

Mowing the grass is like being human. We are in the world and the world can hurt us. We need to be safe. So, we are taught to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6).

Sometimes we think maybe we can get by without the goggles. That is the day we run over a stick that breaks and flies back with uncanny accuracy and strikes us right in the dang eye. The day we let down our shield is probably the day co-workers approach with the best gossip or the gorgeous guy down the hall spills coffee on his shirt and MUST take it off right in front of your desk. Don’t neglect your spiritual safety gear! Trust me, you’ll need it.

One time while I was preparing to mow, I applied sunscreen hastily and ended up with a very irregular burn. Initially I thought the sunscreen had gone bad or lost it’s effectiveness. Soon, however, I realized the problem was that I didn’t apply it correctly.

Sometimes our instinct is to blame the equipment when really it is our application of it that causes problems and renders us unarmed. Sometimes we take up “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” (Ephesians 6:17, ESV) hastily. Reading the Word becomes something to mark off our to-do list and we miss the point. Sometimes we misinterpret scripture because we take up the sword without “… praying at all times in the Spirit ….” (Ephesians 6:18). Our study and application of scripture should be intentional and applied with a sincere desire to know God.

It is a good thing to look at a freshly mowed yard and feel good about it. In fact, scripture tells us that “there is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil” (Ecclesiastes 2:24). However, scripture goes on to tell us to “… Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Looking at a freshly mowed yard with a black eye and a blotchy sunburn is far less satisfying than looking at a freshly mowed yard injury-free on the back deck in a comfy porch swing.

A yard well mowed is nothing compared to a life well lived. Be diligent in your work. Put on ALL the armor and ALL the safety gear. In the spiritual realm, you can’t be too safe.

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