"An Inside Perspective"

August 2015

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Years ago, when I first started in the Greenhouse, one of my tools was a regular hoe. This hoe was a traditional, old-school farmer’s hoe with a five-foot handle and one edge bent at ninety degrees. As the “new-jack” on the job, I was always given the dreaded chore of weeding with said hoe. It was a brutal, back-breaking, no progress making job without end. The reason was that the hoe only lopped off the top part of the weed and not the root. Much to my dismay, in the summer’s heat the invasive sprigs would be sprouting up again in three days, and with a vengeance at that!

At that time, I was very rusty with my horticultural skills and had to be reminded through a series of trial and error of the things that I had already learned years ago. Weeding was a work that left me discouraged. Because, in the long run, there was no apparent progress being made, and if I did not work fast enough, I would be overtaken and my time consumed by these nefarious tendrils!

As time went on, the Lord revealed my error to me, and I quickly realized that the hoe I had been using was only dealing with the fruit and not the root. I decided to acquire an oscillating hoe that by design, not only removed the top of the plant (the fruit), but also dealt with the root. I was then able to effectively weed the entire area in about three hours instead of three weeks, more so, it never grew back again.

I am reminded of the story of a man named Steward. He had an apple tree that produced foul tasting apples year after year. It was a great discouragement to Steward and his wife. Every autumn, regardless of the prior year’s harvest, they would anticipate a better batch of fruit. First, they would pray over the tree, then they would spray for bugs, and they even used netting to keep the birds away. But each year, as soon as the first-fruits began to appear, they were foul. Steward, in his frustration, would then get out a long stick and beat all of the fruit off of the trees until it was all fallen to the ground. He punished his fruit. And then he left it there to rot while going about his business until next year’s harvest. Yet, Steward always had hope for better fruit.

Finally, his friend Faith, an apple specialist, came to visit him one day. On this particular day, she saw Steward beating the bad apples with his stick. Perplexed, Faith asked, “Why are you beating the apples with a stick?” Steward replied, “The fruit is bad and I have to get rid of it so good fruit can grow next year.” Faith said, “My brother, if you want the fruit to change, you have to change the root. You see, my friend, a good root will always produce good fruit, and a bad root will always produce bad fruit.” Steward learned that to obtain good fruit, he must deal with the root. As a matter of fact, Faith said, “If I may build upon that thought, when you have a good root, you may then follow the rule, ‘the deeper the root, the sweeter the fruit!’” Truth broke in as a flash of Light, and from that day forward, Steward saw things from Faith’s perspective.

You see, Steward had been punishing his fruit year in and year out, and quite conscientiously I might add. But, he was fighting the wrong fight. He should have been dealing with the root of the tree that produces the fruit. He was out of kilter, and therefore, in his mind, he was stuck in an endless cycle, quite like me with my traditional hoe!

It is written, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23)

The fruit of the Spirit is love; the rest of the traits named are different “flavors”, expressions as it were, of that love. God is love. Your fruit flows from your root. The fullness of the Holy Spirit in your heart should be your root; all flows from Him. And then, it naturally follows that His sweet fruit will be on you, who are indeed—His “tree”.

Perhaps, as was Steward’s, your problem is that you are always punishing your bad fleshy fruit. Maybe you have been very faithful in praying over your “invasive sprigs”, but to no avail. Do you find yourself in frustration “punishing your bad fruit”, year in and year out with the proverbial stick, with a mundane hope that things will change? They will not; when you do this you are out of kilter and stuck in an endless cycle.

Beloved, all is of faith. His commandments are not burdensome and His promises of victory are received by faith. It is written, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; I will take away the stoney heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and cause you to walk in my statutes.” (Ez. 36:26-27)

You are a steward. Have you received this new root by faith, this promise of God, or are you still, year after year, punishing your bad fruit with a stick? Are the nefarious tendrils of your flesh still consuming you? Sometimes Truth breaks in as a flash of Light, by divine design, and you, the steward, see things from faith’s perspective. If I may build on that thought—get your “root” right and your fruit will be sweet, because the deeper the root, the sweeter the fruit! Beloved, please...