The other day, while doing Bible with the kids I shared an illustration that the Lord had given me. It came at a time in my life that it was used to totally change the trajectory of my future. He is so astoundingly faithful in how He gently loves us and wants the best for us. And since it’s from the Lord it is definitely worth repeating…..
Years ago Dw and I were walking through Lowe’s when I passed a little lemon tree. This little lemon tree was in blossom and the soft fragrance filling the air around was so incredibly beautiful it caused me to pause and enjoy it’s breathtaking aroma. In fact it was so delightful that I walked back to that little lemon tree multiple times just to breathe in it’s delicious scent. After moseying over several times to just get “one more” whiff I finally asked if we could make that little lemon tree our own. That sweet man of mine took it home and planted it in a spot where I am able to see it from the kitchen window. I have enjoyed it immensely – praying that it will grow tall and bear much fruit!
Well one day the Lord used our little lemon tree to speak life deep into my soul through an incredibly powerful illustration and I pray that this same important illustration will encourage others because it literally changed my life.
Here’s how it went…
Once upon a time I became aware of a situation where Dw and I were being verbally chided on social media. If you knew the situation you would understand that we did nothing to provoke this verbal assault in any way. The last time we actually had any personal communication with the person attacking us was several years earlier when we actually gifted them something they needed that was worth literally thousands and thousands of dollars.
So imagine our surprise and frustration to know they were assaulting our character when in fact we had only ever blessed them both verbally and physically! We were stunned!
And to be honest, as human beings we wanted to respond…and not necessarily in a loving way! How could this person be so nasty when they knew we had never done anything to hurt them?
But you know, social media brings out the ugliest of uglies in people. It can cause grown adults to behave like snotty, mean-hearted little children and say things from behind the comfort of their computer screen that they would never say in person! I actually wondered how this person could even sleep at night with so much meanness in their heart toward people who had only blessed them? To this day I’m still perplexed.
But anyway, back to the day of learning about this nasty social media post….
After reading it (someone had sent it to me because I rarely am on social media) I felt my blood pressure rising as I thought of things to respond….Things like, “While you trash talk us, how’s that ______ we gifted you a few years ago?”
It was right at about that point that I looked out my kitchen window and saw my little lemon tree. And instantly my heavenly Father lovingly whispered…
“Do you see that little lemon tree, Linny? What does it produce? (Lemons) Your lemon tree will only ever be a lemon tree because it was made to be a lemon tree and so it will only produce lemons. It will not produce apples, because it is not an apple tree nor can it turn into an apple tree, because it is a lemon tree. It does not matter if a bear, a bobcat, or a mountain lion were to attack it, it will always be a lemon tree and it will only ever produce lemons. Nothing can change it from being a lemon tree.
Linny you are a Christ-follower and you have my Holy Spirit in you. As a Christ-follower the Holy Spirit lives in you and bears fruit…and that means your fruit can only be Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. It does not matter what person comes against you, what they say, or how they have attacked you – you are filled with me and I produce in you only Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control because you are mine and you are a Christ-follower.
Whatever this person says about you doesn’t matter because all that matters is what I think of you and that you produce my fruit. You are accountable only to me and you have chosen to live to please me and only me. Your life will be blessed as you choose to only produce Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control and I will give you the grace and strength to do that.”
And with that, literally, instant complete peace, that could only come from the Lord, flooded my soul. I can’t even begin to express how I had been stressed by this unprovoked character assassination and suddenly, with His whispers my heart settled completely and His peace filled my entire being. I was able to worship as I thanked Him over and over for ministering to me and giving me His grace not to respond in any way but to carry on with my day. And that was that. I didn’t really think anything more about what they had said nor did I lay awake at night at all. And anytime this person popped into my head I just thought of the Lemon Tree illustration and have prayed that God would heal them.
Friends, that illustration has literally changed my life. There is nothing (and I mean nothing) worth stealing my joy, my peace, my patience, my self-control or causing me to respond in an ugly way, because I am a Christ-follower and my whole being was made to produce Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control and that’s all I ever want it to produce. Thank you Jesus!