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Lessons from a Posion-Ivy t-shirt

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lessons from a Posion-Ivy t-shirt

Throw it off

I spoke at a retreat in Texas last weekend.  I shared how when I helped my pastor clear some brush from his land I came in contact with Poison Ivy.  Two hours into our work he said, “Don’t touch any plants with three leaves.”  He was a tad late.  Every plant I saw had three leaves.  Not good.

The right side of my upper body broke out in the Poison Ivy rash. Also, I learned that poison ivy oils remain on your shirt.  And if the shirt rubs against you, you can get the Poison Ivy rash also.

I had a shirt with me in a Wal-Mart bag. I told them it was the shirt I wore when I got Poison Ivy.  I shared how they could get Poison Ivy from the shirt.  I asked, “Who is allergic to Poison Ivy?” Many people raised their hands.  So I tossed the t-shirt into the crowd. There were yelps, screams (probably curse words), arms flailing, glances of rage at me, and a mad scramble to avoid the t-shirt (After a minute or so I let them off the hook and told them that in fact it wasn’t the shirt I wore and that it was clean anyway).

My point was and is this:  In Colossians 3:8, Paul says to “Put off [throw off]” some things:
-    Anger- a festering, seething, underlying, boiling anger (anger fantasies).
-    Wrath-  A boiling over or explosion of anger.
-    Malice- Planning and acting to harm someone
-    Slander- Words that will injure someone’s reputation
-    Obscene talk
-    Lying

Paul says to treat these like a Poison Ivy t-shirt.  In other words, you don’t want these anywhere near you.  When the temptation comes to think upon or act on any of these, we are to flail, scramble, fight off, and avoid them like a poisoned t-shirt. We do this by God’s grace, for God’s glory, and for our good.

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