I wrote the following for a newsletter I help edit for our church's Women's Ministry. I decided to share it with a "wider audience" here. Hope you don't mind the re-run!
I have ten year old boys. (They are the “M” and “I” of BBMI, Ink, in case you were wondering.) God uses them almost daily to teach me life lessons and truths about Him. Such was the case a few weeks ago. As we stood in line at a church luncheon, my senses went on full alert. About the time my nose detected the distinct aroma of Old Spice deodorant, my eyes discovered white marks on a boy’s shirt. (I’ll not tell you which one; he deserves to remain innocently anonymous.)
“Oh, man,” I said to him. “You got deodorant on your shirt this morning when you pulled it over your head. Maybe we should try to get that off…” Then I discovered a shocking fact: The white mark wasn’t just in a small spot on his shirt. It ranged from the hem, all the way up the side seam, through the arm pit area, and down to the cuff of the sleeve.
They were masterful, perfectly drawn lines. Yes, I say, “they” because he’d accomplished this artistry under both arms! White stripes on a red shirt. I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so of course, I asked, “What happened? Did you do this on purpose?”
His reply makes perfect sense if you are a ten year old boy: “You told me to put on deodorant before we left. I already had my shirt on and I was in a hurry so I just put it on the outside.”
It’s hard, but you have to suppress the giggles that often come with motherhood and discipline. So that not everyone in line would know what was going on, I tried to quietly explain to him that deodorant goes on our skin. That’s how it works. The Hubster, much more science-minded than I, began to expound on the chemical reaction that occurs when sweat and deodorant mix and why it’s called “antiperspirant.” The glazed look we got from the boy led me to interrupt The Hubster’s discourse and say, “Just don’t do that again. You have to put the stuff where it belongs for it to work.”
Believe it or not, I got a spiritual lesson from the Great Old Spice Debacle. As I was studying the Bible in the weeks that followed, God said to me: “Are you just painting this stuff you’re learning down your sleeves and all over the outside of your clothes? Or, are you putting it where it will really work: on the inside?” You see, for God’s Word to make a difference in my life, I have to apply it correctly. I have to allow it to interact with my soul’s chemistry. When I allow this to happen, my heart and my mind begin to change.
What are you doing with the stuff you’re learning these days from God’s Word? Is it changing you from the inside out? Or, are you merely painting it on the outside because you don’t have “time” to let it do its chemistry? Apply it according to the directions: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)