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Seeds of the Kingdom

Spiritual Scarification

by Malcolm Wood

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV

Having waited for over eight weeks for my birthday present, which apparently had been delayed due to a combination of Brexit and Coronavirus restrictions, it arrived a few weeks ago. My belated present was a lawn scarifier, a mechanical device for removing thatch from a lawn. For the uninitiated, as I was until quite recently, thatch is the accumulation of dead grass parts and other organic debris around and under the growing grass. This thatch soaks up the water and prevents it and other valuable nutrients reaching the soil to benefit the grass roots. Removal of thatch therefore enables the grass to receive the air, water and nutrients, which it needs for healthy growth.

I believe that the lawn scarifier gives us a picture of our spiritual life and the process of sanctification, or becoming more like Jesus.

Firstly, we need to recognise that there are things which can accumulate which may stifle our growth and maturity as a Christian. Sins which haven’t been confessed, bitterness, wrong thoughts and attitudes, and unforgiveness are just some of the issues which can prevent us from developing in the way God intends for us.

Just as the thatch in a lawn prevents water and nutrients getting to the roots of the grass, so these things can prevent us receiving the things God provides for our spiritual development. Regular Bible reading, worship, advice from trusted friends, and the influence and presence of the Holy Spirit are some of the ‘nutrients’ that our spirits need for healthy growth.

Secondly, when we do recognise that we do have a problem, and that our spiritual growth is being hindered in some way, we need to acknowledge our need to God. Like a heavenly gardener, by His Spirit, He will come and help us ‘tease out’ these troublesome areas of our lives. Then we can bring them to Him for removal and cleansing, so they no longer cause a problem.

The writer of Hebrews encourages us to ‘throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles’ (Hebrews 12:1). This was written in the context of running a race, but it also applies to our spiritual growth, which can become stunted.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I am sorry for allowing the ungodly things in my life to prevent me from becoming the person You want me to be. Please help me to identify those things and, with the help of Your Spirit, clear them completely out of my life so I can receive more of the good things You have for me. Amen.

Malcolm Wood and his wife Anna became part of the Ellel family as House Managers at Ellel Grange in 1990. Since then they have been involved with many aspects of the developing Ministry. From 2001 until 2015 they were Directors of Ellel Scotland where they hosted several International Schools and Operation Blairmore and helped pioneer the exciting Creative Inspiration Weeks. They have three sons.


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