What’s in Your Graveyard?

The Flavor Graveyard John Hyun, NC-ND
The Flavor Graveyard
John Hyun, NC-ND

I took a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, Vermont, a few years ago. It was very interesting to see how the yummy dessert is made; and the free samples were a plus.

The neatest and most unexpected attraction, however, rested several yards away from the building on a hillock beneath a canopy of trees. It’s the Flavor Graveyard.

Yep. It’s the place where Ben & Jerry’s flavors go to die after long and successful lives and tortured, failed ones that sometimes hardly got started.

It’s a real mock graveyard that gives you an eerie pause until you start reading and laughing. Every dearly departed flavor features its own headstone and a whimsical obit. If you ever visit the farm, make sure you take time to find the graveyard.

“Here lies…” 

I think of Ben & Jerry’s creative concept and ask myself, What’s in my graveyard? and better, What needs to be there? That may seem odd—to have one’s own cemetery—but it’s not far-fetched. It may be your ‘alter of sacrifice’ or something else; but in the end it’s still a place where something dies or lies dead.

Biblically, we are advised to lay aside encumbrances and sinful proclivities (Heb. 12:1); to not let sin reign in our faculties (Rom. 6:12-13); to mortify the earthly nature (Col. 3:5); to be holy (1 Pet. 3:15); to not love the world (1 John 2:15).

Yes, Jesus has raised us up with him, but there is much sanctifying work that remains for us. And those grave plots await all the carnal weights that drag on our spiritual lives, including sin that must be eradicated.

Truthfully, ours is a killing ground, too. The Holy Spirit will graciously restrain sin in our lives, but only we act as executioners. Too often we have trouble delivering the blow.

This isn’t merely spiritual perspective. In order to produce the fruit of worship, that graveyard must exist. Until my penchants, will, the culture, and every other fascination are duly dead, Christ cannot possess those areas of my life now filled with clutter.

6 thoughts on “What’s in Your Graveyard?

  1. Awesome. I like the graveyard analogy, too. Our old self is in the grave! So let’s live like it’s so and leave that stinky corpse there!

    You bring up a good point on what our part is in these things. I want to comment in more depth on one thing you said here to possibly clarify what you’re not saying… “Yes, Jesus has raised us up with him, but there is much sanctifying work that remains for us.”

    This “work” is something for us to do, as long as we don’t think it’s our trying harder to be moral or behave because we “should” or “ought to.” It won’t happen by trying to follow the law. Paul said that doing this actually strengthens the flesh.

    The “work” is in entering the rest (Heb.4:1-6), learning how to trust the Spirit in us. The disobedience talked about throughout Hebrews was unbelief. We are to believe in the finished work of Christ only–that we’re already dead and “complete in Him” (Col.2:10). So we “mortify” the flesh by agreeing with this, “laying aside” our self-effort, “repenting from dead works” (Heb.6:1), by trusting the new self in Christ, who IS holy and faultless.

    Sanctification, then, is in believing what is already done, coming into sync with this finished work with through renewing of our mind. For these things are not behavioral things for us to try to attain to, but to obtain as a free gift (Rom.5:17). We are told to “be” holy because that’s who we already are.

    It’s about identity, not behavioral modification. Behavior follows understanding identity, not the other way around. Hope that makes sense. 🙂

    Sorry this comment got so long. 🙂 But you bring up a critical point and there’s so much confusion about this. And so many well-meaning Christians are stuck in this performance trap, ending up frustrated, insecure and full of guilt, when all they wanted to do is please God.

    • I like that you say “Behavior follows understanding identity.” It’s why I call the fruit of the Spirit the “fruit of worship,” because we don’t work to gain favor with God; instead, we labor to honor what has been done for us. We already have his favor! It’s all done in freedom. And so based on the kindness shown toward us, we eliminate anything in our lives that is less than pleasing to God. Thanks for a great comment!

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