I’m 52. I don’t look 52, or so I’m told, but my hair is slowly surrendering to the inevitable. And other than a single “wild” episode of highlights, I’ve never colored it.

So when gray hairs started presenting themselves front and center, I viciously tweezed them out. But gray hair is like the tide—it keeps coming back in no matter how hard you fight it.

And so the battle for my youthful brown locks has raged for lo these last 10 years.

But this morning, I looked at them in a new light (I really have to use a new light since my 52-year-old eyes are weakening in their resolve as well), I thought about how those persistent gray hairs are just like our sinful nature.

Think about it—you wake up in the morning, go through your consistent routine to get yourself and/or your family out the door. Everything is running according to the scheduled plan when WHAM, there it is—your impatience, anger, greed, selfishness, lust, pride, jealousy, or hatred comes screaming out.

Now, if it’s a familiar sin—one that follows you around like a villainous shadow—you stand there looking into the mirror of your heart and grind your teeth in frustration. If you’re like me, you pull out your spiritual tweezers (God’s Word) and attack the persistent sin like, well, like a gray hair, vainly trying to rip it out of your character. Then you go about your day, convinced you’ve dealt with it once and for all.

Oh, but it lurks, just beneath the surface, quietly growing again until a few days or weeks later, WHAM, there it is again. And no matter how many times you pluck, tweeze, or even re-color your circumstances, it is there reminding you of your humanity.

Fortunately, that’s where the comparisons cease. Gray hair (or no hair) eventually overcomes us all if we live long enough. The fruits of our sinful nature don’t have to. We can continue to let God’s Word keep those pesky buggers at bay by helping us embrace the fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

The irony is the more literal gray hairs you get, the more you acknowledge the permanence of your spiritually gray condition—my gray-fruit is selfishness, pride, and impatience.  Those sinful roots go deep and, while our final destiny will stand or fall by how seriously we deal with them, they really are part and parcel of who we are.

I wonder if one day I’ll resort to a bottle to remain a brunette. Maybe. But I’ll wage war on my character until I’m either dead or bald.