This past summer, I grew a couple of tomato and pepper plants in pots because I love BLT sandwiches and fresh toppings for my mini pizzas. Plus, I really just like to be outside in nature…well…at least until it gets too hot. At that point, you will only catch me out in the early morning.
When the plants matured to the point of having flowers and producing small fruit, I felt the Holy Spirit ask me to look at the fruit on the vine more carefully. It was then that I noticed ‘the flower came before the fruit.’ Simple…but I felt there was a spiritual implication to understand. So…I asked the Holy Spirit to explain. I didn’t get the answer until this week.
I had gotten up early, when He began to show me the mental picture of the flower/tomato on the vine again. Then I heard the Holy Spirit say,
“That is where you are right now…
The bearing of the fruit.”
Let me explain.
I received Jesus as my Savior at a young age. From there, I struggled with what it meant for Jesus to be Lord over my life. Even though I was growing in the knowledge of God, I still felt so defeated all the time. I tried for years to do the right thing to earn God’s favor and respect but all the while feeling like I was a failure.
Finally, I began to understand what the grace of God really meant. In time, I also began to accept Christ’s leadership as well. The more I studied, meditated on the scriptures and witnessed His presence, the more I relaxed in His arms. Now, our relationship has taken on a whole new look. Slowly but surely, I began handing over every aspect of my life to Him…. trusting Jesus to direct my paths.
The tomato plant, root system, leaves, and finally the budding flower all represent different aspects of my growth in Christ. The developing flower symbolizes the eventual lordship of Christ over all areas of my life, each pedal, an area surrendered. The final fading of the flower represents my total surrender to develop Christlikeness in my life to the greatest measure.
The Holy Spirit’s lesson is that I now have the wisdom of maturity to allow the fruits of the spirit to ripen fully. My present goal is not only to continue allowing Jesus to be Lord over my life. I also want to go even farther to acquire His mind and personality. Then others can taste and see that God is good. (Ps. 34:8) They will be able to get a glimpse my ripening fruit as I display His love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, long suffering, faithfulness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:23) Spiritual fruit only gets sweeter as it ripens.
The scripture that keeps popping up as I type is this:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Where are you in your walk with Christ? Are you a new member of the family or have you been a fellow believer for a while. Wherever we are, there is always something new to learn to grasp for that will bring more confidence and freedom to your life. I challenge you to keep seeking Christ so your fruit can come to full maturity.