The Rotten Apple
April 23, 2020

Sitting at my kitchen table, I decided to get a healthy snack. I had recently brought various fruits, but nothing beats a sweet, juicy, delicious apple.  As I began to slice it up, to my disappointment the apple had several rotten places.  However, I cut off the decaying pieces and ate the edible parts.  This reminded me of John 15:1-5 in the bible which says:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Like the apple, we may look “spiritually” good on the outside to everyone around us, but God searches the inside to see what truly is going on in our hearts and minds.  Jeremiah 17:10 states, “But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”  Just as children grow from infancy to adulthood, similarly, followers of Jesus are to continually develop and foster qualities that lead to spiritual maturity and Christ-likeness.

In order to produce more fruit in us, our heavenly Father (the Gardener in John 15:1), has a method called “pruning”.  This process can be painful and difficult as he removes the junk, hindrances, and non-essentials from our lives.  Although this is necessary, if we are honest, we kick and throw tantrums as the pruning begins because we want to hang on to the people, places, habits, and ideas that we are accustomed to.  We do this even when we know these things hold us back from going to the next level spiritually and personally.  However, to become who we were created to be and fulfill our divine purpose, we must let go and allow him to complete his perfect work within us.  Then, we will bear much fruit and God will be glorified!

“Lord, you are worthy of all my praise and worship.  Thank you for your mercies that are new every morning.  Father as you search my heart, please forgive me for hidden sins and everything that doesn’t please you.  Produce in me the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Strengthen me to crucify my flesh with its passions and desires.  Lord, please have your way in my life.  In Jesus’ name I pray – Amen.”

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