Over the years, manufacturers of artificial fruit have really perfected their product. High-end furniture galleries and show rooms and perhaps your neighbor's table (or your own) will invariably hold a basket or bowl of what appears to be the most delectable fruit. Juicey apples, pears, oranges and grapes piled high. A golden yellow banana perched along the edge, and even a peach with it's natural looking fuzz sits atop this painter's still-life dream.
Upon closer inspection, you may discern it's disguise immediately by sight, depending on how much effort the manufacturer put into it's creation. You may have to take the next step, however, and move in closer to touch and lift in your hand that apple. Its empty weight is no more than a shell, much like that of a ping-pong ball...or perhaps it's heft is appropriate but as you press your thumbnail into its flesh there is no give, no possibility of piercing that hard skin. Lifting it to your nose with one deep whiff reveals no sweet, fruity aroma. The banana's stem will not break away to peel. The plump grapes pinched between your fingers don't burst with juice. The peach fuzz may rub off and is nothing more than some sort of manufactured flocking. No delicious fruit inside that yellow and blush beauty.
Artificial fruit, when well made is indeed beautiful to look at, but beyond that, is of no value whatsoever. After all, it's artificial. Real fruit as created by God is also lovely to look at, though often you will see a few imperfections; a spot, a bruise, a scab, a crack in the skin. However, this real fruit has the power to sustain life. Nutritous and fluid filled, it provides energy and is very good for our bodies.
There's another type of fruit that is created by our Father, and that is spiritual fruit. We are called to "bear much fruit". Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This fruit, when mature and fully ripe, is at its peak, ready to deliver optimal nutrition. Just like any other fruit, artificial, or the real thing, we see this fruit and move in closer to examine it. We use all of our senses to determine its value or good. We look it over, spend a little time with it...or a lot of time. We handle it , heft it, squeeze it, and smell it...metaphorically, ofcourse.
I'm finding a lot of artificial fruit out there...oh, there is certainly some good...but the fake stuff is sure plentiful and as I reported earlier the manufacturers are doing a great job in producing what appears so life-like, so real. Some of that fake fruit you can spot immediately...some takes a little time, a closer inspection.
I have been disappointed at the discovery of what I thought real, to be a plastic replica, a phoney, a fake. This is when my Father reminds me that He alone can be trusted. And though I may recognize the artificial, that's between the "manufacturer" and God.
In the same token what will others find when they examine me? A plastic replica or the real thing? I pray they will find the real thing. I cannot make myself mature and ripen and while my fruit may be at various stages of development, it's up to me to cooperate with the growing process.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I will have the knowlege, wisdom and discernment to recognize the artificial man-made fruit from that which you created. Father, I ask that I will produce the real thing that comes only through you.Let me not be not be phoney, nor bitter or sour either which oftimes unripe fruit is. Help me, Father to be real and mature and to produce ripened fruit...very good fruit and plentiful! I pray that I won't produce little, or some...but much fruit...and that I might please you as you walk through your orchard. Prune me,Father, dig the soil at my roots disturbing the places they cling that will not produce good fruit... Whatever it takes to make this tree bear much real fruit, please do it unto me. In Jesus' Name, AMEN!
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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