Spiritual Aesthetics

I spent most of the day cutting wooden floor blocks to size and fitting them. The glue I used takes up to 48 hours to set. I had some pretty good used wood that could be used for skirting boards. The thickness was right, but it had a few holes from previous use and some cracks around the knots that needed to be filled. Then, I needed to cut the height to the correct size. Once this was complete, I needed to cut the one end of two pieces of wood to an angle that, once pushed together, looks as though it’s not joined. Once this was completed, I stained the wood with its first coat of varnish. Once dry, I’ll add another coat to both the skirting and quarter round. Whilst this dries, I’ll paint the wall. By the time the wood and wall have dried and the floor blocks have set, the assembly will take place. It’s quite phenomenal how much preparation goes into this task. The actual assembly takes about half an hour, but the preparation has taken least three days.

My opposite neighbor has a large lapa as part of his entertainment area. Watering his back lawn over the years caused the one side of the lapa’s support poles to get wet and sink. He decided to remove it and replace it with brick walls and a conventional roof. Trucks brought sand, stone, cement and bricks. Today was a hive of activity with men moving all these items and a concrete mixer adding its unique music blend.

Why replace the Lapa? Because it was sinking on the one side. Why put skirting boards against the wall on the floor? Because it makes it look good. It finishes off the floor!

In both cases it’s really all about aesthetics. It’s all about making the room or the entertainment look good. This makes one think of the preparation of the soul for heaven. The transfer of the soul to heaven is instantaneous–the believer dies and is in God’s presence immediately–but the period between salvation and glory takes a lifetime. Jen and I have been Christians for at least 40 years and we [especially me] are far from ready for glory. Just think of all those spiritual cracks that need filling, or perhaps those spiritual holes or cuts that need to be made. Yes, a life time of work is required! Saved from sin and assured of heaven, but not quite ready yet! There is work to be done on the soul. Think of all those years of the soul being tarnished by rebellious ways against God and His Word. Think of how deep-rooted the anger, jealousy, covetousness, bitterness, scheming is. In fact, we actually break every one of the Ten Commandments, at least in the heart.

Think of how deceptive one was towards his or her parents, not telling the truth to protect him- or herself. Consider the laziness of the teen life. What about the lustful thoughts and desires [not necessary sexual] of adulthood? What about being indoctrinated by the secular, depraved world all around us? Whatever data received, be it from family, friends, lecturers, employers, colleagues, TV, radio, magazines and books is transferred to the mind via the ear and eye gates and impregnates the heart and is stored in the brain for further use.

Have you noticed how lukewarm you are spiritually most of the time? More often than not, you don’t desire to read the Bible and pray. Outside of lock down, it has been a drag to get up and go to church or Bible study. Do you actually join an online video service or listen to an online sermon? When you consider your normal interaction with others, you speak about politics, COVID-19, weather, finances, family, neighbours, crime, food … but very little about Jesus. You might talk about church or even religion, but Jesus talk does not come easily or willingly or at all! The lifetime of instilling secular and sinful information into the mind and the heart is not eliminated the moment you are saved. It takes time for us to progress in living the repentant life.

On Saturday, I was speaking to Nathan (our third grandchild). He started college in the USA, and one of his subjects is Psychology. Many aspects of the course might be good, but the starting block is wrong. Simply, the Bible says we are born sinners, responsible and accountable to God for our conduct and behaviour. Nathan has not only grown up in a Christian home and in healthy, Bible-based churches, he attended a Christian academy and has completed 11 Explore exams. Even though he is not yet 19, his mind has been trained to think Biblically. His life’s experience of doctrine and theology has shaped his world view, enabling him to approach all aspects of life with a finely tuned mind that evaluates everything against the Gospel.

Now when you think of the purpose of the skirting board and the remade lapa, it’s all about aesthetics–making the room or the entertainment area look good. What does your soul look like? Is it analytic in its approach to what is seen, heard or presented? Does it tackle all issues because it are rooted in doctrine and theology based upon God’s Word? Are you “Gospel” in your approach to life? When God looks at your soul, does He see the spiritual aesthetics or does He see a soul invested with the world? Why is it so important to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12)”? Why must you not “conform any longer to the pattern of this world (Rom 12:2a)”? Because through growing daily in the Word, you are “transformed by the renewing of your mind … able to test and approve what God’s will is. (Rom 12:2)” “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Phil 2:13).” When God looks at your soul, His desire is to see beauty–spiritual aesthetics!

1 Pet 3:3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Dear God, thank you for giving us Your Word and Your Spirit. Help me to meditate upon the Bible daily and grant me Your Spirit in great measure to enable me to learn Truth in my soul, so that I will be dressed with “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” to bring pleasure to You, my Lord and King. For Jesus sake, amen.

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