What does theology have to do with directions printed on a bottle of shampoo? Well, more aspects of living out the Christian life than one may expect. Although once we come to realize Christ as our Savior, there is no need to repeat; we’re washed by His blood. Same with being washed in the waters of baptism; only once will suffice. However, if we’re going to take on each breath throughout each day that He gives us, these directions apply to various choices and experiences we’ll have. Forgiveness, repentance, evangelism, Scripture reading, prayer, dealing with persistent sins, and the most mundane of them all, awaking each day to tackle the tasks God has sovereignly set before us whether we’re cognizant of that fact or not.
I could go into what each of these entails, but instead will focus on how they all require our attention to the idea that shampoo bottle directions just may have some wisdom. Just like we most often disregard those shampooing directions and rarely follow the instructions to repeat after the wash and rinse, we can also neglect to perform that last directive, to repeat, in areas of our lives that God commands us to be repetitive in our dealings. The top three reasons, or excuses, for not following through the entire process as directed are: laziness, frugality, and/or ignorance. The outflow of these in washing a head of hair isn’t unreasonably far from the causes of our neglect to follow through in repeating the more pressing and relevant list in the first paragraph. Yours truly fails at two out of the three: laziness and frugality, though ignorance falls close behind.
We can be guilty of laziness when we’re called to forgive others as He has forgiven us. It’s too much work, too much energy to invest, too much addressing, too much confrontation, and too much communication. That’s where our frugality jumps in, when we’re guilty of avoiding issues by justifying our lack of time available or rationing our energies only to causes we deem worthy. How we end up spreading out the duties we face everyday is quite telling of what priorities we hold dear, whether we’re introspective enough to see them clearly, or not. Enter ignorance.
Ignorance is, perhaps, the most dangerous reason of them all for leaving out important details in our doing. As much as apathy and cheapness can hinder our direction, being blind to what we’re called to do is the catalyst to the first two. To be ignorant, clueless, or blind to the fact that we must be engaged in repeating instances and actions of forgiving, repenting, sharing the Gospel, spending time in God’s Word, praying, and the never ending battle with perpetual sins could call into question whether we are devoted to Him at all; not questioned by Him who knows every iota of our hearts, but by those we are living life alongside that are aware of our proclamation to be Christians. Ignorance, or self reasoning as to our unintentional motives to live with our eyes closed, is not reason enough to defend our laziness or frugality. It is this hardness of heart and spiritual blindness that gets us to the point where we don’t think we need to repeatedly act as Scripture reveals. Somehow, in the midst of our ups and downs, we end up grasping on to a victim mentality.
Playing the role of a victim isn’t fitting for believers, but to own up to how wretched we are takes utter devotion, ample time, and an unwillingness to remain in the dark. When we are devoted to prioritizing knowledge only found in His Word, we increasingly know who He is, what He says, what He demands, what He did and what He does. And by gaining insight into our Creator, we simultaneously grow to know who we are. His sovereignty and saving grace can’t allow us to identify as victims of circumstance, regardless of how painful and antithetical that is to our pride and selfishness. So as followers of Christ, believers in the One who sacrificed for us, we could offer our own sacrifices of time, energy, dedication, and generosity with a reverence for the Almighty rather than reason our way into laziness, frugality, and ignorance. Who do you need forgive? What do you need to repent and turn from? Where can you share the Gospel? When do you read the Bible? How often do you commune with Him in prayer? When’s the last time you addressed a persistent sin issue? Why wait? Do it today and repeat every day afterwards.