My friend, Penny, had a shower not too long ago.
Not a bridal shower, or a baby shower.
It was “A Shower of Blessings”.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect. How do I even dress for this kind of shower??
There were ice breakers, games, great food & cake.
Not just one, but two cakes.
The lesson that went with it was priceless.
The first cake, we just had a bite-sized piece. The taste left something to be desired. It was then that Penny explained… this is what bad “fruit” tastes like. If the fruit of the Spirit should leave a pleasant taste, this is fruit of another spirit – jealousy, bitterness, gossip, betrayal, etc. This one bite left such a bad taste in our mouths, yet the question remained, do we taste like that to others?!?
It reminded me of a moment I had that same “A Ha” epiphany…..
I was making some fresh orange juice one night… like I have many times before. There’s nothing like fresh orange juice, is there? Especially when you have access to an orange tree in the back yard. I just pick them, cut them in half & let the electric juicer do all the hard work. Until…………….
We have all run into spoiled food at one point in our lives or another. Whether you cook or not, it’s the same. I am sure there have been veggies that have turned to liquid in even the best cook’s kitchen. Now, I have always been aware of bad produce by the way it looks on the outside. Bananas start to get brown spots before they actually bruise inside… kind of like a warning sign. Bell peppers & tomatoes tend to shrivel/warp on the outside when they’re starting to go bad. So, based on what past experience taught me, I was definitely in shock… shock to cut open an orange that looked just right on the exterior, only to find it rotten on the inside.
But it got me thinking…..
How many of us are like that?
I mean, truly, like that?!
We look perfectly put together on the outside… but don’t allow people to get close enough to see the damage. We make sure our “nails done, hair done, everything did”… we drive a car we cannot afford… we rack up the credit card debt trying to keep up with the Jones’. We turn to a bottle or a body in the darkness of the night when no one can see us.
We never admit to having problems, or needing help.
All so we don’t alarm anyone else about what’s going on inside of us. What is literally eating away at us, from the inside out. We program ourselves to have the best answers… safe enough to not cause alarm when well-wishers don’t really want to go deeper. After all, they’re trying to hide their bad fruit too! God forbid we take the time to truthfully answer the question, “How are you?” Again, we wouldn’t want to truly reveal our mess to anyone… afraid they wouldn’t really want the responsibility of seeing the truth anyways. Sadly, the secrecy only allows the rotting to continue.
And what about us in the context of relationships? I wouldn’t be surprised if we couldn’t all think of one or two “bad fruits” in our lives. Is it really a wonder, if we can see the dead stuff in other people, that other people wouldn’t be able to see the dead stuff in us too?! Anyone who’s been in a relationship can attest to probably wishing they could have seen the inside first. We have all fallen for some-one, -two or -three, who fooled us with their exterior… did the right things, said the right things. But in the end, their truth was ultimately exposed.
Still, I have to ask… how many of us have also been that rotten fruit to someone else?
More importantly, though, how does this idea play out in context of a relationship with God? People can debate forever over the concept of whether or not man is virtually good or evil. Regardless of your viewpoints, God sees the inside of the fruit. Even if you think you are slick & have so much swagger that you’re fooling everyone else, you CANNOT fool Him.
He knows the decay in each of us.
He also knows it’s a process.
But the beauty is, He isn’t looking for better fruit…
Unlike your ex, He’s not trying to upgrade to the newer model. He also doesn’t want to just throw the fruit out. He’s looking to restore your fruit, and mine. He loves us as much with our nasty insides as He can ever love us. Before we even realize, or admit, that we have some rotten stuff inside of us, He already knows. He already forgave. He has already forgotten.
Let’s take that lesson from Him.
Don’t dwell on what your fruit used to look like… dwell on the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” It’s not plural, it’s one fruit. You cannot pick & choose the parts that are easiest or most convenient for you. It’s an all-or-nothing kind of deal. From the One who is willing to take your rotting insides & make you whole. Then forget it ever happened, for His sake, as well as yours.