Posts Tagged ‘Maturity’

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FLAVOR OF THE OFFERING- June 17

June 17, 2013

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”  Romans 12:1

Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving Meal (Photo credit: Tostie14)

Food has an amazing range.  It can be presented in the form of inedible nutrition but it can also take the form of delightful bliss.  Food is an art.  There are those who have the gift of manipulating the alchemy of flavors to produce master-pieces for the taste buds and there are others who are culinary hacks.  Everyone with functioning taste-buds has been a judge of the artistry of the food that they consume.

Social occasions involving the consumption of food are the best examples of our role as judge.  Inevitably, someone will make a pronouncement of their judgment during a meal.  “This sure is delicious”, is a statement that most of us have made in our attempt to show our appreciation to the host.  The best compliment that a host can receive for the meal that they have prepared is to receive a request for the recipe.

Chefs in training in Paris, France (2005).

Chefs in training in Paris, France (2005). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When frequenting a restaurant, a portion of the conversation will inevitably be spent on an evaluation of the food.  I am always curious about the menu selection of my companions.  In my role as judge, I will not return to an establishment if the food they serve does not meet or surpass my alternatives.  Therefore, I am curious of others culinary opinions to help me make a decision as to whether I will return.

I have a tendency to bring this role of judge into my spiritual life.  I often sit in judgment of what is offered to me.  As I listen to a sermon, I like the delightfulness of an elegant speaker.  I appreciate someone who communicates in a manner that captures my attention.  I make judgments on the quality of writing that I read.  I want to read the writing of someone who can speak to me with an ease and fluency that makes understanding a pleasant experience.

I make judgments on the state of affairs that I find myself in.  This situation is bad.  These circumstances are good.  I hope for opportunities and shuffle from difficulties.

An evaluation of the world around us and its influences is something that we all must do.

However, we can take this perspective too far.  We can view all that we expose ourselves to and that which we are exposed as food for our soul.  We can experience spiritual food that is good, bad or even poison.  There are times when our soul responds to a word like a child to candy.  There are other words that make us cringe as if tasting vinegar.

We can elevate the nurture of the soul to our life’s purpose.

All that we do can become about presenting a pure, undefiled, and mature soul to our Lord at the conclusion of our earthly existence.  All that we interact with then comes under our judgment as to the quality of the food for the goal of our life – the preservation and nurture of our soul.

However, have you ever considered that our souls are the food? 

If our purpose is to glorify God, then we are the sacrifice in the offering of glory to the King of kings.  We are not the ones sitting in the role of judgment.  God sits in the role of judge.  He is the one who determines whether He is held in highest esteem.  He determines who will wear the wreath of the good and faithful servant.  He is the one who tastes the offerings of our hearts to determine its quality.

We have an opportunity in all that we do to bring glory to our Lord. 

Every sermon we listen to;
Every book we read;
Every person we bump into;
Every circumstance we find ourselves in…

We take on a fragrance to God by how we walk through this life.  We embody a flavor either from the Spirit or the world.  We are constantly presenting an offering to God.  Our reactions to the world around us determines whether the offering that we present to the Father is delightful, savory, bland, or bitter.  Everything that we have been given can be turned into a pleasing marinade to our soul or a catastrophe of the spice rake.

May we relish our role as food.

May we delight in the realization that our lives are an offering to our Savior.

May we strive to be the delightful sacrifice that we have been called to be.

PRAYER: Lord, I want to be a pleasing offering.  Forgive me for slipping into the mindset that my life is all about me.  Forgive me for not considering how my reactions affect the quality of my offering.  Lord, continue to remind me that you have blessed me with a wonderful role of offering my life as a sacrifice to you.  May it be pleasing.  May it bring the glory that is due you.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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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.

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