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SOFT AND SWEET FRUIT – June 15

June 15, 2013

“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking.  Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”  1 Corinthians 14:23

Ripe Plums on a plum treeI have a little plum tree that lies close to my attention throughout the summer.  The fruit from this little plum tree rarely make it into house.  When its fruit ripens, I tend to stand in our orchard and simply graze on its sweet fruit.

There are many competitors that will steal my fruit before it matures.

The birds are the worst.  They will alight upon a branch of my little plum tree and will take a single pluck of fruity flesh from a plum, knocking several others from their life sustaining moorings in the process. 

The wind will shake my little plum tree, sending even more un-ripened fruit to the ground. 

Other fruit will be so buried beneath foliage that it never feels the sun.  There is not enough time in the season for this hidden fruit to ripen.  They feel the nip of my pruning shears as they are removed to allow for other plums to mature.

And then there are the bugs; this particular nemesis will plant their young upon my precious ripening plums.  They worm their way deep inside the body of the fruit to consume it from within.

One never considers the blossoms of spring in the calculations of a fall harvest.  Mature fruit is the reason I have my little plum tree but very few of those blossoms will ever turn to mature fruit.  Therefore, I watch my little plum tree for the development of mature fruit.  The time of harvest comes when the fruit turns from hard and bitter to sweet and soft.  That transition indicates that the early spring blossoms of potential have made it through all the dangers of summer to maturity.

No fruit has ever ripened for itself. 

Plums

Plums (Photo credit: ahisgett)

Fruit matures and turns sweet so that it will be consumed.  Reproduction occurs when the seed within is planted afresh through the consumption of the fruit.  Maturity allows the seed to be transported to areas that the roots of my little plum tree could never reach. Paul encourages us to be mature in our thinking.  We are inclined to consider maturity in terms of years.  However, we know that years alone do not bring maturity.  As Father’s Day plans are being made, I cannot help but think of the perpetual adolescence of males in my culture.

There are so many men who never grow up.  They tend to be the center of their little worlds.  Many men live for their sports, hunting, fishing, job, or hobbies.  They live for the activities that bring them fulfillment.  They are living for themselves.  Often, these “mans-man” men are merely adolescent boys in advanced years.  Their identity is tied closely with their cherished manhood.

The man preoccupied by his own manhood has allowed his concern for self to stifle his thinking.  Our thinking should ripen.  Maturity comes when we begin to live for others; when we set ourselves aside.  We become softest and sweetest when we mature and allow the purpose of our life to be for those outside our skin.

There are many men who will recoil at the thought of being soft and sweet.  Their definition of manhood does not include those terms.  They think that women are the only creatures who should be soft and sweet.  A man, in their mind, should be strong and tough.  However, this often translates to hard and bitter for most.  The dangers of summer have caused their thinking to be stunted.

Maybe, they have been hurt by others plucking deep into their self-esteem.
Maybe, they have been knocked away from the sustaining nourishment of Jesus.
Maybe, they have allowed evil to get inside them and they are being consumed from within.

True manhood comes when a man becomes everything that he was created to be in Christ.  Men and women have been created to bear fruit; we have been formed to mature into our purpose.  We are supposed to be tasted so that the seed of the gospel will spread beyond us.

Real maturity is easy to recognize.  It is a life that  is comfortable and pleasing to be around.  There will be a different flavor to the fruit of a man’s life than that of a woman but it still should be sweet to the taste and easy to take.  No one wants fruit that is hard and bitter.  God implants His children with the gospel at their core.  He then ripens us through His Spirit.  He softens us.  He sweetens us.  He removes our concerns for self so that we may mature.  He matures us so that His gospel will be proclaimed by our lives.

God is glorified in our maturity because it is then that we reflect the wonderful flavor of Jesus.  Others should be able to taste our lives and know that the Lord is good.

What does your life taste like?  It might be time to ripen so more.

PRAYER: Lord, mature me.  I know that I can still be bitter.  I know that I can still be hard.  Father, forgive me for not representing your goodness like I have tasted.  Lord, help me to be an infant in evil and mature in my thinking.  Lord, remove my preoccupation with what this world defines as a man.  Make me a man after your own heart.  Make me into fruit that draws others to your gospel for your glory.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

11 comments

  1. “We become softest and sweetest when we mature and allow the purpose of our life to be for those outside our skin.” What a great object lesson–for men and women alike. Thanks, JD!


  2. Wow. As a school counselor for young kids I see a lot of dads who have not grown up leaving their kids in the wake. Bold statements. Thank you.


    • It is a sad reality and you get a front row seat to it. Keep up your good work in the schools.
      God Bless!
      JD


  3. Insightful. Thank you.


  4. Reblogged this on Sloppy & Wet Kisses.


  5. Very good post, I’m sharing this on Facebook so the men in my ministry can read it!


  6. This is such an encouraging post, the story of your plum tree, “… so many men … never grow up. They tend to be the center of their little worlds.”


    • I am so glad you found it encouraging. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the encouragement.
      God Bless!
      JD


  7. Sounds like you took what was “plum” frustrating and gave it to God, who is the Master Plum-maker! Now everything is “plum” fantastic. By the way, I love plums!


    • Thanks Daryl – I can always count on you to put a smile on my face.
      God Bless!
      JD


  8. Yes Lord, make me a man after Your own heart, sweet to the taste of those around me….so they too can taste of Your Kingdom and Your goodness…ripen me up Lord !



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