I don't like graffiti.
It seems that you can't go anywhere
anymore without finding the walls of public places covered in this
version of modern art. Now I will agree that some of it is quite
tastefully done, and some of the artists obviously have quite a bit of
talent. Nonetheless, I don't like how it defaces the surfaces it covers,
and therefore you can understand that after seeing multiple examples of graffiti
throughout the Thousand Islands region of New York and Ontario, I was
quite relieved to see one public surface that was not covered in this
modern form of art...
In the tiny town of Marmora, situated on
the banks of the Crowe River in south-eastern Ontario, there lie the
remnants of a church. We learned from locals that it was built over 100
years ago, that it was the first church to be built in Marmora, and that
the building project was "multi-denominational". Over the years, a
number of different denominations have apparently worshiped there at
different times, and when each group outgrew the building and built a
larger church in town, this original Marmora church went on to become
home to a different denomination. I do not know how long the church has
lain in ruins, but there is one remaining wall that stands, and on that
wall a cross has been painted.
Although I found all of this
history fascinating, it was the wall that caught and held my attention.
It wasn't so much the fact that there was a cross on it, for if I hadn't
later seen a picture of it, I wouldn't have even remembered the cross. It
was, rather, what was not on that wall that amazed me: it was
not covered in Graffiti!
I have no idea how it came to be that
this ruined wall of St. Matilda's Church had not been defaced. It is
completely unprotected in a place where few people ever go. It would
seem to me to be a perfect graffiti-artist's canvas; yet there it
was, clean and undisturbed...
It all made me think...
Each of our hearts is like an unprotected public wall. We would all
love for that "wall" to be covered by beautiful things such as the cross
on the remaining wall of St. Matilda's church; yet so often, our hearts
become covered with "spiritual graffiti".
Let's let Paul explain
what I mean by this. His term for "spiritual graffiti" is "Acts of the
flesh", and He describes them as such: "The acts of the flesh are
obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and
witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition,
dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like."
(Gal. 5:19-21a NIV). Just like I would like for all public walls to be
free of graffiti, Paul warns that we should keep our hearts clean of
these "acts of the flesh": "I warn you, as I did before, that those
who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal.
Paul then goes on to describe how our hearts should
be decorated: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Gal. 5:22-23
The difference in these two types of "heart decor" lies in
which of two sources we allow to "paint" and "draw" on our hearts. The
first source is the devil and his minions. They like nothing more than to
cover our hearts with their "spiritual graffiti", and if left
unprotected, our hearts become open prey to the "acts of the flesh". The
second "artist" is God's Spirit, and the
"fruit of the Spirit" grow in our hearts as a direct result Him being invited in and allowed to dwell there.
Unfortunately it isn't as easy as simply "choosing" who will paint the
canvas of our hearts. Remember that without adequate protection, there
is virtually no public surface that is not at risk of becoming covered
in graffiti. In the same way, without proper protection, the spiritual
"graffiti artists" will move in.
The good news is that it doesn't
have to be this way. I don't know how the remaining wall at St.
Matilda's Church has been protected from graffiti, but I know how we can
protect our characters from the defacing, defaming "graffiti" of the
devil: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm,
then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
(Gal. 5:1 NIV). When we spend time in the Word of God, when we spend
time in the presence of the Lord, when we allow His Spirit to reign in
our hearts, then the "walls" of our hearts will be cleansed of the
"spiritual graffiti" and covered instead with the fruit of the Spirit.
I don't know about you, but that remaining wall of St.
Matilda's Church in Marmora was a lot more appealing than the
graffiti-covered public surfaces we saw in other places. In the same
way, the more God's Spirit replaces the "acts of the flesh" with His
good Spiritual Fruit, the more our own hearts begin to look more
Will you be like the majority of public surfaces,
covered in "spiritual graffiti"? Or
will you stand, beautiful and strong, like the remaining wall of St.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two,
Author -- "Aboard
God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer",
Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter,
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
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