Frazzled and Frayed

???????????????????????????????????????I hate it when I have to retire a favorite shirt. It’s the shirt that fits best, is the most comfortable, and just has a good feel whenever I wear it.

There comes a point when the shirt is moved from the wear on Sunday and to the office section of my wardrobe to the yard work section. When I notice a slight fray on the inside of the shirt collar, it signals a warning—prepare to retire this shirt.

The subtle but powerful culprit that eats away at the collar is my beard stubble. Even though my neck and the collar are well-acquainted, there is no affinity between the two because of the abrasive and constant presence of the beard stubble.

It’s a simple truth that beard stubble and shirt collars cannot coexist. They are like water and oil. You can stir them up and mix them together, but they will eventually separate; and, I know that, over time, the wear and tear of the coarse stubble will fray and tatter the soft collar of my shirt.

When I put my well-worn and favorite shirt on the other day, I noticed the frayed collar and said to myself: “What my beard did to this collar is the same thing sin does to my relationship with God.” Sin slowly eats away at the fellowship you have God, and it will wear you down and wear you out. Think about these relationship contrasts:

• As a Christian, you are formed and fashioned to walk in the light and not in the darkness ( I John 1:5-7).
• You are to be “in” the world, but not “of” the world (John 17:6-19).
• You are to focus your affections on the things above and not on the things below (Colossians 3:1-4).
• You are to “abhor” what is evil and “cling” to what is good (Romans 12:21).
• You are to “cast off” the darkness and wear “the armor of light (Romans 13:12).”

While it’s true that beard stubble can turn a shirt collar to rubble, it’s also true that when you’ve strayed from the path God has laid, you end up frazzled and frayed. You only have to read Psalm 1 to see a contrast that will confirm this.

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