Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Where's My Fruit Salad!?
Now, this isn't the fruit salad sung about by the famous chidren's group The Wiggles in their catchy tune, Yummy, Yummy. The fruit salad they make has nothing on the fruit salad spoken of in Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is the fruit or product that is supposed to be present in the life of any and every individual who truely lives a life submitted to God as fully committed follower of Christ Jesus and his teachings. I can remember a time in my walk with Christ when this scripture puzzled me because I had been baptized, but I knew that in truth I was not producing these fruits that were supposed to be evidences of the Spirit of God at work in my life. In contrast, now, I overflow with what I consider a very yummy, yummy fruit salad in reference to the scripture in Psalm 34:8 that encourages us to Taste and see that the Lord is good. This concept that life in conjunction with God is irresistably scrumptious is repeated in 1 Peter 2:2-3 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. So, the question that needs answering is what's changed in my life from then to now? The solution to this puzzle is hidden in plain sight in the stories of Samson in Judges and Saul in 1 Samuel of the Old Testament. Check out Judges 14:6 The Spirit of the Lord was upon him in power, so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat(or in terms to which I can relate a wet piece of paper). Compare the strength displayed in Samson when he was fully submitted and obedient to God to later in his life when he had allowed himself to become distracted to the point of disobedience Judges 16:20 Then she called,"Samson,the Philestines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Do you see how Samson's life bore the products of a relationship with God (in his case, physical strength) as long as he was fully-committed to obedience, but when he allowed an area of his life (His physical attraction to a pagan woman.) to fall out of submission to God's will, his life became barren, producing no fruit. One can see a very similar example recorded from the life of Saul in chapter 13 0f Judges. God appoints Saul as king over Israel expressing his pleasure with Saul by blessing his life until Saul chooses the path of partial-obedience, which we find to be disobedience in God's eyes when in verse 14 Samuel reveals a different kind of fruit, the fruit of disobedience, which happens to be the removal of said blessing" But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command." Just in case it isn't as clear as I think it is, I'll clarify that the difference in my life now from when I wasn't experiencing the fullness of my relationship with God is what I discovered after close and honest reflection of my life. Areas existed in my life, in the past, in which I was not fully-obedient/submitted to God's will for me. It took months of prayer and digging into God's word to discover the hidden committment issues to which I ignorantly clung that robbed me of the pleasure of enjoying the delectable fruit salad with which God desired to nourish me. Upon discovering these areas and realizing how they were limiting my ability to experience all the beauties of knowing Christ, with God's guidance and assistance I died to myself, once again (and have had to do daily since), and submitted to God's plan and desires trusting fully that his power, provision, and wisdom were all I needed in life, and talk about abubdant fruit. I've near to drowned in the stuff ever since, so if after some honest introspection you identify a fruit shortage in your life akin to spiritual scurvy, I challenge you to investigate and discover what areas of your life you still foolishly cling to not believing God is strong enough or wise enough to safely guide you, and pry your fingers loose of those areas with the help of a friend or family member if necessary, and drop it at God's feet. I promise it will be terrifying at first because you have been hanging on under the dillusion that doing things your way is the only safe way, but I guarentee you that if it makes you feel vulnerable, you are on the right path. The one that leads to abundant fruit salad, yummy, yummy:) If you want more details about the specific areas I needed to submit to God in full-obedience before getting a taste of God's fruit in my own life, check out my book, This Is My Story...Its all in there in more detail than I care to write here! If as you read this, you think," that's not me," at least take time to inventory your fruit because a shortage is a guarentee that you're holding something back, and there is more abundant life waiting to be had by you, so please, partake in the fruit feast God has prepared for you! Don't deny yourself the mouth-watering delacacies of peace, joy, and love!