Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)
TITLE: Fruit Inspection
By Lattice Shaw
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When I was a little girl, one my mother’s favorite Christmastime rituals was putting out bowls of holiday fruit and nuts. Oh, the joy we’d – okay, mostly she’d - find in picking out the best looking fruit, including apples, oranges, kiwi, bananas and the like. Along with the holiday decorations, the fruit would brighten up the home considerably. It’s a tradition that I often continue to this day.
The problem with the holiday fruit, however, was that since it was designed to look pretty, we forgot to eat it!There were times when the fruit still looked pretty (except for the bananas – the bananas always tell – but upon inspection, you’d find that, underneath it all, there were areas where the oranges were going hard, and the apples were going soft, and other fruit, well it could just get down right nasty.
Reflecting on how such apparently beautiful fruit can be so tainted, caused me to reflect my own “self” – the “who” I really am when nobody is looking. Am I really all I represent to the world, or even to myself, on a day-to-day basis? Is my fruit bitter or sweet?
Lately, the Holy Spirit has been calling “fruit inspections” in my life. I find these to be painful, yet painfully necessary seasons, in which He causes me to get real with myself and ultimately, with Him. My obedience or disobedience to the ‘still small voice’ makes the fruit inspections quicker and easier (obedience) or arduous seasons in which the Lord patiently but insistently causes me to inspect my fruit (disobedience) – and face the Truth that He is presenting. And, as always, the Holy Spirit has a way of “holding up the mirror” so the fruit can be inspected in plain view.
My daughter is a young adult and of course, as a mother I still feel the need to lead and guide – after all, I know best… I was explaining to her that she need not procrastinate on some areas of her life that needed attention; procrastination, after all, is a sign of fear and a variety of other issues in ones life. She needed to get on it, take action, and believe in herself – ooh, I was on a roll – my “soap box” was in full effect – really – when I started to get the feeling that I, or someone else, was speaking to me. “Oh no,” I thought. “Am I living this reality in my own life?” Ummm…..
Pictures began racing through my mind - there was that horribly cluttered closet that I said would be cleaned weeks ago; also that resume that had determined to redo; and, let’s not forget the writing ideas that were supposed to be organized into a cohesive unit. I said, I said, I said. It seemed it was time to get out the magnifying glass and inspect my own fruit.
I had to face the fact that my daughter had, in large part, learned this behavior from her dear mother. Fact is, I do procrastinate, although the Word tells me that if I confess this sin, God will be faithful to forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV). And, then by being truthful in my inward parts to my Father, and by being willing and obedient, this bitter fruit can be eliminated and replaced with the fruit of obedience and productivity!
I’m finding that more and more, I don’t know who I really am without the Lord. That is, although it’s unpleasant, I need the “Spirit of Truth,” the Holy Spirit, to shine His light on me and in me. This helps me to understand all my fruit, bitter, sweet.
In John 15:2-4 (KJV), the Lord says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit…As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” For me, this means that if I’m not being productive, God’s not pleased, and eventually, I could be in serious trouble. If I am producing good ‘fruit’, He’s going to continually change me and mold into His image, constantly breaking off those thoughts, ways, attitudes that are not pleasing to Him.
In allowing and experiencing this process, we will as Jesus promises, “…bear much fruit”.
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