When we think of pampering ourselves, we often think only of relaxing and enjoyable things: massages, manis-pedis, splurging on a tube of extra glossy lip balm, slowly nursing a lovely pumpkin spiced latte that’s been generously topped with a creamy spiral of whipped cream. (Hmmm…suddenly, I’m quite discontent with my current beverage choice of lukewarm tap water.) As we observe those around us, it’s easy to see outward evidence of someone who has physical pampered herself: brightly polished nails, nicely maintained hair, carefully applied makeup, appealing scents, straight teeth, physically in shape. Wait…of those items don’t reflect our idea of what it means to “pamper ourselves!” What could possibly be relaxing about placing your teeth in metallic torture devices in efforts to force them into a straight line against their desire to grow contrary?!! Furthermore, what’s relaxing about working out? Are not the two terms oxymorons?!!
According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, the word “pamper” means: to treat with extreme or excessive care and attention. Take a minute to review the above list of outward signs that someone has “pampered” herself. Go ahead…I’ll sip my tepid tap water while I wait. Did you notice that several of those outward fruits reflect an implemented method of pampering other than “relaxation”? That’s because to treat certain parts of our outward appearance with “extreme care or excessive attention”, it is necessary to employ means other than “relaxation.” In fact, hard work and sometimes even pain are just as vital to pampering ourselves as relaxation is.
When “pampering” is viewed through the lens of “taking extreme care of”, it is easy to see that not only has the woman who smells nice and sports French-tipped nails “pampered herself”, but so has that woman who is physically in shape or has straight teeth. The difference is that the latter two have employed the method of hard work and/or pain—rather than “relaxation”—to take extreme care of themselves. Employing the right method is not the only device necessary to produce the outward fruit we desire; it’s also utilizing the proper tool that makes such activities successful: oils/perfumes, nail polish, mascara, running shoes, an appointment with a beautician, tweezers, magma-hot wax…each tool has a definite purpose in helping to treat specific areas of our physical appearance with “extreme care and excessive attention.” (That last tool is reason enough for a woman to hold on to her God-given, bushy eyebrows. Ouch and double ouch!)
RESTATE: physically pampering your body produces definite outward evidence by employing different methods (relaxation, pain, hard work) and utilizing the proper tools.
Here’s the parallel: spiritually pampering your mind also produces outward evidence by employing different methods and utilizing the proper tools. What is the outward evidence of a spiritually pampered mind? I’m glad you asked, because God’s Word has an answer to this question! In Colossians 3:8-10 we find that anger, malice, lying and even filthy communication (including gossip and complaining) is outward evidence of an unpampered mind—that mind that has not been treated with extreme care and attention. Contrariwise, in verses 12-15, we see that mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, forgiveness, love and peace are outward manifestations of a spiritually pampered mind—that mind into which extreme care or excessive attention has been invested. To spend time with a sister in Christ who manifests these fruits is to spend time with someone who has employed pain and hard work—and the right tools—to take extreme care of the battleground Satan desires to dominate: her mind.
While the methods employed to pamper the mind mirror the ones used to pamper one’s body, the tools necessary to accomplish the two feats are quite different. When a godly, virtuous woman desires to care for her mind, she trades in her tweezers and lattes for God’s Word—the guidebook that contains all things that pertain to life and godliness (II Peter 1:3). In God’s Word we find a myriad of tools needful to spiritually pamper our mind.
Tools such as “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5) require employing the method of hard work to rise above our imaginations, our emotions, and even our logic to see Truth and to follow it. Pampering this area of our mind allows us to face situations proactively (rather than destructively) as we’re guided by Truth, not feelings. Implementing this tool produces fruit such as kindness, meekness and humility.
Tools like “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:13) require implementing the method of pain as we deliberately choose to let go our “right” to hold a grudge, no matter how difficult the offense. As we deliberately use this tool and squelch the “But-you-don’t-understand-
Tools such as “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29) require utilizing the method of hard work to guard your lips, weigh each word and allow the Spirit to determine if it’s worthy of being spoken. The fruit of kindness, love and peace is seen in the lives of those who allow the Lord to keep the door of her lips (Psalm 141:3).
Or what about the tool found in I Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”? This tool takes effort to sacrifice our natural desire to complain about “what happened to me” or “what I don’t have”, rather than offer the sacrifice of praise. Peace is just one beautiful fruit that abounds in the life of a thankful sister.
God’s toolbox is full of powerful tools just waiting to be used, that we might have an abundant life (John 10:10b)! Truthfully, some tools will require little-to-no effort for us to employ while others might struggle to effectively employ that same tool…and vice versa. Numerous tools require the pain of self-sacrifice; others demand hard work as we strive to truly pamper our mind with Truth rather than defaulting to consuming emotions or faulty reasoning. It is so easy to neglect our mind! The outward fruit manifested by an unpampered mind reflects the truth that Satan absolutely delights in stealing, killing, and destroying a Believer’s peace, contentment and joy (John 10:10a; Colossians 3:8-10). But fruit that is gained from the pain and hard work exerted in spiritually pampering your mind far supersedes any sacrifice(s) you’ll make (refer again to Colossians 3:12-15).
To Be Continued…