by Christine Berglund
New research has shown that there are microorganisms in the soil that alleviate depression. However, I personally hate touching the dirt.
As a die-hard gardener, I can’t always find a pair of gloves whenever the urge strikes to pull a weed or to move a plant. Now I feel a little better about those times when I get really dirty hands, but I still don’t like it.
While I love to play in the dirt, I don’t really like the dirt at all. My daughter-in-law thinks it’s normal to have dirty fingernails, but then, she is a mechanic as well as a gardener. Most of us try to get rid of the dirt as soon as possible after the dirt happens, as it surely will when you have a garden.
Dirt on your hands, dirt on your shoes, dirt on the jeans if you kneel in the garden; there is plenty of dirt to clean up afterward. And just think–all this dirt is helping you to feel cheerful! And here you thought that it was the fresh air and floral delights that made you happy!
Scripture tells us about spiritual dirt, and our attitude toward it.
“But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, ‘In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.’ These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” (Jude 1:17 – 23, NASB).
As our world gets friendlier and more tolerant of sinful behavior and lifestyles, it is going to be more challenging for us as Christians to exhibit clean living and extol its virtues.
We are in danger of isolating ourselves as we strive to keep ourselves above the disgusting and reprehensible behavior around us.
The answer probably lies in the standard method of gardening. We must come in contact with the world’s dirt, but we don’t let it rub off on us on purpose. We do it to reap a harvest! “The fields are white for harvest…” (John 4:35).
We also won’t track the dirt into our own lives. We come into contact with precious souls who need our help in pointing them to God, no matter what kind of depraved behavior they are involved in.
But we wouldn’t dream of allowing those sins to creep into our own lives any more than we would throw a pair of filthy garden gloves down on our clean table linens.
Jesus prayed for his disciples and for future generations of Christians, to live in the world without being influenced by it.
“I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:15-17, ESV).
Jesus asked God to sanctify us in the truth. Let’s use the truth as if it were a pair of garden gloves, to be “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27), and “not touch what is unclean” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Now, where are my gloves?