Today’s Pondering: When the fruit of your spirit is a lemon…

  You are always righteous, LORD, when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
   Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
   Why do all the faithless live at ease?
You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips but far from their hearts.

~Jeremiah 12:1-2~

Why, indeed?  The answer is simple; because the prize the wicked are seeking has nothing to do with God’s grace and so they settle for the earthly reward over the greatest gift they could ever possess; eternal salvation.  When you know nothing of the riches of heaven, you are satisfied with the riches of the earth.  Why strive for anything more if you don’t believe there is anything more?  Some people simply can’t see past their own front door.  They will not accept that there is more to life than their own problems; more than what impacts their little universe.  And so, they are content with the short-sightedness that is accepting what this world has to offer as the best there is to be had.

The only thing worse than those who consistently seek out the treasures of this world over the treasures of the kingdom of heaven are those who are supposedly on the path but look with envy at those who seem to be “prospering” and “bearing fruit” without the effort of being a believer.  If we truly believe, if we truly have faith that God has reward for us if we will only do His will, then it won’t matter what someone else has.  It won’t matter that our neighbor, who for all intents and purposes appears to be Satan’s top minion, gets a new car or something new for his house every other week.  It won’t matter that our sister the super-sinner seems to be able to fall in a pile of fertilizer and come out smelling like two dozen roses.  It won’t matter because we get our satisfaction from something far greater than the wealth enjoyed by those individuals.  We take our riches, our inheritance from following Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior.  There is no greater reward than knowing that you are not breaking His heart, and that you are making Him proud with every step you take in this world.  To know that you are taking what the Lord is giving you and allowing it to work through you and to bring light to the darkness is so much more valuable than any “fruit” that those soulless trees appear to be bearing. 

I believe that the Lord sometimes gives us an advance on what He hopes we will do.  He sometimes trusts us to take our blessings and bless others.  Sometimes we are obedient; but sometimes, we miss the point and just keep it all to ourselves.  And so, when it looks like someone doesn’t deserve the great things that are happening in their lives, don’t bog your own spirit down with envy and with wondering why they are being blessed.  It’s as much a test for you as it is for them.  If you can’t be happy for someone when they find favor, then chances are you won’t be a very good witness for God to the person who is watching you and your blessings.  And so, instead of encouraging that person to use their fruit, your lack of faith justifies their failure to acknowledge where their blessings came from.  And so, once again the devil wins.   

It does no good to take what God has already given you and compare it to what someone else is getting and to waste your time pondering whether or not they deserve it.  If the fruit of your spirit is, in fact, a lemon, take it and squeeze it into submission and make the sweetest lemonade you can.  And when you’ve done that, take it a step further and offer a glass to your neighbor.  You’d be surprised at what a difference the right attitude can make.  We don’t deserve a bit of favor, but He gives it to us willingly.  The least we can do is accept it gracefully and without trying to compare it to the gifts bestowed on our fellow man.

 Sow righteousness for yourselves,  reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;  for it is time to seek the LORD,
until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.

~Hosea 10:12 (New International Version, ©2010)~