My zone 7 garden is in the oven now. Temperature and humidity are rising with a long string of 90+ degree days. Yesterday I installed rabbit fencing, tended the compost bins, and spread mulch over part of the garden. After two hours I looked as though Shawn had turned the hose on me, and I considered asking her for that very blessing. In the heat simple tasks like deadheading leave the gardener drenched in sweat and activities which demand more horsepower can drain energy reserves quickly. I find it hard to admit that as my years increase my garden stamina follows another path, but that’s a topic for another time.
Dirty, soaked and in serious need of refreshment I hosed my boots off to avoid leaving a mud trail and tiptoed into the kitchen. Shawn has discovered coconut water can restore my electrolytes quickly without pegging blood pressure as some of the sports drinks might do. According to the WEBMD site the clear liquid contains “more potassium than four bananas!” I poured equal amounts of Juicy Juice and coconut water into a glass and parked in front of a fan in the shop to sip the nectar and cool down.
But that was only the start.
My insides might have felt better as a result of that cool drink but my outsides still sported a heaping dose of garden soil. My attire was inappropriate for sitting on the couch or lunching at the kitchen counter or working in my office. To feel completely refreshed I need a shower and especially a change of clothes. (By the way, while we marvel over the blossoms in our gardens have we taken time to thank God for our washing machines and showers?)
Paul used a similar clothing illustration to communicate to the Colossians that new life in Christ demands that we remove certain practices.
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Colossians 3:8 KJV
We may miss the urgency in the simple command to “put off” but a few verses earlier the wise Apostle explained that “putting off” is best accomplished by “putting to death.” No chance of picking up those habits if they no longer have life. As long as my soiled clothes remained on the laundry floor I might pick them up and wear them again. (Shawn says, “Not a good idea!”) Paul’s message is that it is far better to remove the possibility of a relapse. New life means new choices, new thoughts, new practices, new habits, possibly even a new peer group.
No amount of deodorant could cover up the dirt staining my arms and my clothes. My hypocrisy of pretending to be clean while I still carried filth could be discovered. Quickly. By anyone. Only drastic action could address the situation.
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Colossians 3:5 NLT
The best teachers include positive along with the negative. We know that putting off is necessary, but what comes next? Paul urges us to put on an entirely different wardrobe.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Colossians 3:12-14 KJV
Those articles of spiritual clothing emit a pleasant aroma to people around us.
After a cleanup and quick lunch I drifted into nap time on the couch. I find it much easier to rest when I know the dirt is gone.
Note – The lead picture is of my oldest, Amanda, who loved the left over dirt piles from our home construction. And now she has her own children. Here’s a picture of my grandson August after his mom found him with a mouthful of garden dirt.