Wednesday, July 19, 2006
One of the hidden benefits of buying our home was discovering we owned the woods behind our fenced backyard. My husband is clearing out the brush to create various paths. One thing he isn't clearing out is the wild blackberry brambles. During this entire process we've eagerly watched the blackberries mature and ripen. First we saw the blossoms, then the fruit appeared, and now the mature fruit is ready to be picked.
But one thing I noticed in this maturation process was that the blackberries didn't all mature at the same rate. Some berries are ripening slower than others. Some of the fruit is smaller than others. Worst of all, some fruit never ripens, but dies on the vine before it ever matures into a plump juicy flavorful berry.
We evaluated all the variables and came to some conclusions. The berries in the sun ripen quicker and produce a better fruit. The berries choked by other weeds and plants dry up rather than ripen. And berries in the shade eventually ripen with smaller fruit, as long as there is the right amount of rain.
Often I explain that our Christian lives are journeys and we are all on different parts of the journey, but now I think we are more like berries. We mature, based on circumstances being right. We need the SON to mature into the best fruit, as designed by the Creator. Even in partial darkness (focus on self), with some SON the fruit will grow, but at a much slower rate, and with an inferior finished product. Sadly, other Christians allow the cares of life to choke out their spiritual growth, much like the weeds overcame some of our wild berries by wrapping around the brambles and cutting the berries off from nourishment.
I want to grow into the best fruit. Not for reasons of pride, but because I want my Creator to be well pleased. By allowing the Son to shine fully into my life, and ignoring my shady self desire and the choking cares of the world, I will be able to present my mature fruit to the Harvester with great joy.