Orange Peels

Jesus said to his friends, “They will know you are mine by your fruit.”

He really likes his plant metaphors–vines and branches and seeds and roots and harvests. 

I guess it means we’re supposed to be growing a lot, and it makes sense, really: I feel listless–withered–if my heart is not stretching in growing pains. A dry branch that is good for nothing but fuel. Though, he doesn’t even waste those parts of me, but uses them to start a fire elsewhere, perhaps fertilizimg soil for new planting…

Yesterday Eli said to me, “When you claim to be walking with the Spirit in your relationships but it’s producing unhealthy fruit, you have to seriously examine whether or not you’re hearing correctly.” 

Lately I’ve been pondering integrity. It’s the fruit of learning yourself, which has been growing in me the last four years. 

I think of Jesus’ words about Nathanael, upon seeing him at a distance: “Now here is a man in whom there is nothing false.”

Or his words to the disciples about claiming him before men, so they will be claimed by him before the Father. 

I want to produce the kind of integrity that Jesus can say of me “She is not false before people, and I know she will claim me over people.” 

In recent weeks, my steps with the Spirit have been one at a time. Just enough of his light to illuminate the next step. 

Truly, it’s been a little scary to trust that my intimacy with him has grown long enough to bear fruit in the subtle leading.

The contents of my heart are shifting and jamming and dislodging. The world is spinning around me and I just want to get off the merry-go-round!

I keep doublechecking for my roots, like, “Are you still down there?” 

Will you keep me planted until the world decides to return to orbit?

The battle of flesh and spirit is like the orange I peeled this morning: plump and colorful, but when I pried apart the fruit–rotten in the middle. 

Even though my roots aren’t giving, I still need to seriously examine my fruit to see if it is whole all the way to the core. 

The fight is forming integrity in me, at any rate, integrity to admit when I’m not hearing correctly or obeying fully. 

Integrity to reexamine what my life is producing, and to be willing to give up what is necessary to claim Jesus.

Besides, being claimed by him is all I really wanted in the first place.

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