It occurs to me that I know some people read this crazy blog, but sometimes I think I am writing this purely for my own....you fill in the blank (if you are indeed out there).
I got an email today from a friend, a sister in Christ, and she used the phrase "Keeping her nose clean." Now, I have heard that before, but for some reason ("There is no such thing as coincidence," yes, I remember Grandma Colby, and thank you for sharing that over and over when I still did not get it) it struck me today.
So I had to look it up.
If you know me at all, this probably does not come as much of a shock. What I found was not much in terms of what is known of its origin, etc. I'll copy a typical result of my search:
"It is an American phrase of 1887. It is an allegorical reference to a child sustaining a proper hygiene in refined company, particularly children with running noses. A person is expected to be presentable and to have good behavior as a child under adult’s supervision."
Interesting, eh? I remember several people getting on me for wiping my nose with my sleeve when I was a wee lad (or lately with Soren's cold, not being one to stand on convention, watching him pull up his shirt to greet his nose), but I was immediately struck by a bigger picture.
How is my nose?
Is it clean? Or does my heavenly father have to come along all the time to clean it up for me? I know that in salvation, Christ lived a perfect life for me, and died for all my sins once and for all, but in santification (getting to be more like Christ as we live this life), I ask the question again:
How is my nose?
You know, I found ways to hide my nose swiping passion as a child...ok, you get caught on your sleeve, so use the underside of the sleeve (clever for a child, ableit perhaps grosser still), use your friends (or maybe enemies?) sleeve, invent a new hair gel (ok, I did not do some of those, but you get the idea). Your nose is clean...just don't look anywhere else!
Hiding our snot from God is not going to happen.
Perhaps it is because I have had a bit of nasal congestion (the past few days) that sparked all this, but if you have ever had a cold or your nose blocked up, and you try to sleep, then perhaps you know what it is like to be up and long for those days gone by of two good nostrils, air flowing in, and out, ah what perfect bliss that would be!? But that snot gets in the way. Ugh! I blow, I run, I eat spicy foods, but ultimately, it comes right back. Its everywhere with its snotty badness (I know snot is there for a reason, this metaphor only goes so far lest I change gears and talk about snot and its resemblance to God's discipline and the healthy effect snot has for our bodies....just stick with me on this one for now, ok?).
My spiritual nose is filthy. My spiritual life is like that night in bed with a cold....there is no relief in sight, just trying to hide the suffering, looking everywhere for a cure, something to take the snot (sin) away, blowing my nose hoping to expel the little gremlins, only to find that my efforts have been in vain (and I hope I don't pop one blowing so hard), the TP is empty. All that work...and nothing. The snot sits firmly ensconced inside me. What a wreck of a man am I.
Ah, but then comes my Savior. Much bigger than some febile herbal remidy, he pulls the weight of that sin right off my nose, and covers my filthy nose with his perfectly clean one (my life with His). I can breathe....I can live! I am free from snot to live for Christ! What freedom! What an incredible life and future that opens up for us!
Why? Why would He do that? Can you imagine taking all that? We talk of dieing for sin, but thinking of it in terms of something that we can see as physically so disgusting, sometimes that brings it closer to home what Jesus really did for us. Without Him in our lives, we are plugged up with this sin, and we die, and are separated from God (go to hell) because we brought this sin upon ourselves! We went for a dance in the dandolin field, frolicked with the chickens, drank from the borrowed water bottle even though someone said "eye hath ah naisty coold", ran in a dust storm, stuffed M&Ms up there, etc.
I deserved that. But now I can breathe spiritaully through Christ who saves me. And thus....
Grace defined: Not getting what you do deserve, and getting what you do not deserve.
How's my nose? Still snotty after all these years, but made perfect by Christ. loved by God, and cleaned routinely by the Holy Spirit.
Can I get an AMEN?!