10/7/09

Fruit Matters

(published: Cordele Dispatch)

Have you ever noticed how pretty and colorful the fruits and vegetables are in the produce section of your local grocery?

On a recent shopping trip, I chose a variety of fresh fruits to add to my shopping cart.
I don’t know if I did this because of the guilt of knowing I should be eating healthier or just because they make it look so good.

Anyway, after unloading the groceries, I carefully washed the fruit and displayed it in a pretty bowl on the bar in my kitchen.

Later that night I decided it was time for a snack. I looked in the pantry first, eyeing the cookies and candy. Chocolate is a huge weakness of mine! Then I remembered the fruit and decided to pick a nice looking orange.

Feeling good about myself, I smiled as I cut a tiny hole in the top of the orange. This is something my daddy would do for me when I was a little girl. After cutting a hole in the top of the orange, you can suck all of the juice out. Then you’re able to pry the orange open with your fingers and eat the rest without juice running everywhere. Only this time, my smile faded very quickly. That beautiful orange didn’t taste so good!

You know, people can be like that too. They may look good on the outside and appear to have it all together. But it’s what is on the inside that counts.

Think about some of the people you know. Do you know someone who is pleasing to look at, always dressed neatly and attractively? How about someone who seems to do and say all of the right things when everyone is listening? What do these same people look like on the inside? What are they like when no one is around to witness their behavior?

We’ve all heard the saying, “Pretty is as pretty does”. I think there’s a lot of meaning behind that statement. You can take a person who may not be very attractive on the outside according to the world’s standards, but they have an inner beauty that seems to shine right through. This changes the way we see them. These same people have excellent personalities and exhibit kindness and tenderness.

I am reminded of a Bible verse from this year’s women’s conference at my home church. Galatians 5: 22-23 (NKJV) says, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control…” Our spiritual fruit really does matter. As Christians, we are called to have good fruit, not fruit that is bitter and sour.

How do you picture a person who has “good fruit”? My guess is you picture a beautiful person. As a follower of Christ, these are the characteristics that we are supposed to possess. Regardless of what we look like on the outside, we are to have an inner beauty that only Christ can give us. Because we are sinners by nature, we won’t always reflect this in our attitudes and actions, but we should daily strive to spend as much time perfecting the inside as we do the outside.

The next time you bite into a piece of fruit that may not be as sweet on the inside as it looks on the outside, think about your own appearance. How does the world see you? Do they also see the inner beauty that comes from striving to be Christ-like? Most importantly, how does Christ see you?

I ask myself these same questions. I am often disappointed in my own answers, but I think that’s where real change starts. First, we have to admit that we aren’t being all that God intends for us to be. We have to be willing to admit our faults and strive to be more like Christ.

John 15 tells us that Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches. God, our Father is the Gardener and He cuts off branches that don’t produce. He prunes our branches that bear little fruit so we will have more fruit. This pruning is necessary to strengthen us and make us more useful for His work.

If we live in Christ and He lives in us, we can be truly beautiful people that have fruitful lives and produce bountiful harvests. Our fruit really does matter because we matter to God.


2 comments:

Lynn said...

I noticed your comment right below mine on the scripture memory verse post today and see that we have the same name so thought I would just say HI!

Lynn said...

Hi again Lynn, thanks for stopping by my blog! I love how I can connect with people online. I'm struggling with my memory verses, sad to say, I started out so well, carried them everywhere but now I know I have forgotten some of the middle ones. I still remember the first ones so I need to get back at it. I actually print them out and put them on my bulletin board at work so I can see them anytime. I need to work on reviewing all of them more often. How are you doing with yours? Take care.