“Remain in me, and I will 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 a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” –John 15:4-6 (NIV)
Allow me to share with you the deeply theological lyrics of a song I learned at church camp. We called it "The Banana Song" but I'm not sure if that's its official name.
I like bananas.
I know that mangoes are sweet.
I like papayas. (Papayas?)
But nothing can beat
that sweet love of God.
Well I was walking 'round in circles 5 miles an hour,
trying to find my way back to my heavenly Father,
the world had tasted sweet but it soon turned sour
then I asked him in and received his power!
(c) Vince Nimms.
My husband and I like bananas, but we have very different ideas of how ripe a banana should be in order to taste good. I like them best when the skin is uniformly yellow and a few freckles have begun to appear. Brad likes his bananas to be fairly firm, the skin freckle-free and almost green. Unfortunately, the green banana stage only lasts for a little while once the bunch has arrived home from the grocery store.
As an environmental scientist I know that once a fruit has been picked, the point where it broke away from the branch begins producing a gas called ethylene, which speeds up the decay process and ripens it at a rapid pace. This is why so many of our bananas are over-ripened and squishy before we can enjoy them. If they aren’t too far gone, I’ll use them for banana bread. Otherwise it’s into the trash they go.
When we are apart from God, something inside us begins to over-ripen us like the ethylene does to the bananas. The things of the world can be a poisonous gas and eat away at our desire to be obedient to God. By breaking away from Christ, who is the vine, we run the risk of falling into a state of spiritual decay. We may be okay for awhile, possibly even useful and appealing, but eventually we are fit for nothing. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Like it says in the banana song, "nothing can beat that sweet love of God."
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Lauren, I like your analogy. Also, thank you for the lesson on why bananas get over ripe so quickly. My wife buys them as green as she can so we can eat them before it is too late. Again, your analogy is great. Thanks for sharing. Thomas