OK, so this is further proof that I am a strange dude. Sometimes the things that connect in my skull are a bit disjointed.
This morning after going for an early morning jog, I was bumming out about having to cut my fingernails. Not whining, but thinking - it is a pain to cut these all the time. I then thought "if we could genetically engineer our fingernails to not grow, maintain health, and hardness...I would do it." I have no idea where that thought came from or why. I do have an interest in gene therapy, biomedical engineering - for ethical reasons in concern. There is so much potential for doing good and so much for evil doing as we learn more and more about our genes...anyway, that is another post. Yet when I thought about "monkeying" with the design of our finger nails, I thought, the fact that fingernails grow, exhibits their health and usefulness. Their growth shows they are connected to a growing body, getting proper nutrients.
Then I thought for a second about life in general...how much growing things need to be cut back, pruned, or disciplined to remain useful. For example we prune fruit trees so that they will produce more fruit of higher quality. Growth which is guided by purpose results in something much more beautiful that simple overgrown chaos.
The I though of a few passages of Scripture that speak to lives which are solid, grown on a good foundation, in good soil...and yes, pruned and cut for a purpose.
1 Corinthians 15:58 - Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain
How do we become fruitful in our labors? We must be planted in good soil, and then pruned, cut back, and tested...
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
1 Peter 1:3-9 - 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
And of course there is Jesus own teaching that our lives must remain connected to him, pruned by him when necessary (read John 15) so that we are established and fruitful. So life in Christ proceeds somewhat like fingernails -cut, grow, cut, grow, cut, grow, prune, grow, discipline, grow - and we become useful, hardened - not hard towards God, but for the battle of love waged in a broken, shipwrecked world. Comfort is found in the comforter (2 Corinthians 1:3-7), not the stuff of this life where we think comfort is found.
So, I'll go cut my finger nails, and nutrients from the body will flow and grow them again. Pride cut, humility growing, usefulness to God suited for each task to which he calls. I have no idea why these ideas connected in my head today - I think too much.