As winter turned to spring this year, we noticed all the usual signs. The azaleas spilled white, red, and all shades of pink and purple blooms under every live oak in sight. The dogwoods made white spotlights in the forests when a sunbeam broke through the gloom. The robins made brief rest stops on their return migration north, and hummingbirds buzzed our feeder, empty since last October, letting us know they were back and ready to be fed. Oak pollen sifted down in a yellow powder all over the car. The temperature and humidity rose as did the gnats, flies, and mosquitoes out of the swamps and bogs. And Chloe started shedding.
Magdi always shed individual hairs as she rolls in the grass, as she scratches, as we pet or brush her. But Chloe sheds in clumps. Whenever she rose, she left behind wads of red fur on the grass or carport, reminding me of the floor of a beauty salon after a haircut. Every time we scratched her head, the clumps stuck to our hands and clothes, or floated off with the breeze as if we had blown red dandelion puffs. Before long she looked like an old sofa with large threadbare patches. Eventually all her winter coat fell off—everything except a two inch fringe running down her hind legs. Now she looks like a canine cowgirl wearing chaps.
But you know what? She is still Chloe, our one-year-old Australian cattle dog. She still loves to eat. She still nips at Magdi’s heels. She still chases butterflies and grasshoppers, and plays tug-o-war with ropes and rags. She still has a sweet little face that melts my heart.
When we become Christians, Paul tells us we should lay aside the old self, Eph 4:22, crucify ourselves, Gal 2:20, and become new creatures, 2 Cor 5:17. Too many times we do what Chloe did, shed the outer self only. The inside stays the same. We still consider ourselves before others, we still give in to every temptation, we still excuse our poor behavior instead of grabbing hold of the power of Christ to really change who we are. We are still exactly the same person; we just have a new haircut.
Changing is hard—it does not happen overnight. But how many of us can examine ourselves honestly today and see a change from that day we claimed to make a commitment? How long has it been? Even one year should show a significant change for the better, and how many of us have twenty, thirty, forty years or more under our belts and still make the same mistakes on a regular basis?
Don’t just sweep some hair off the floor today. If you haven’t already, start making a real change in yourself.
I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. And be not fashioned according to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, Rom 12:1,2.