Off and on in my adult years, I have had the joy of gardening. Years ago, I was introduced to banana peppers and found them to be a tasty treat. So, I decided to grow them in my garden. It is so fun to watch as the little seed is planted and soon sprouts a tiny green shoot. As time goes on, you have a plant that starts producing fruit. With the first little pepper, I was so excited. It grew and almost seemed to be the perfect pepper, some of its siblings were bent and mangled but that first one was perfect. I gave it the name, Perfect Phil.
Perfect Phil grew and grew and only looked better with each passing day. Then the day came when I picked Perfect Phil, I could hardly wait to taste the first pepper I’d ever grown. I took Perfect Phil to the kitchen, washed this vegetable that I’d grown from seed and then cut into it. Oh no! It wasn’t nice inside, in fact, it appeared nasty and rotten!
People can be like Perfect Phil. They can look good on the outside. In today’s world, a person’s looks are so important or the way they present their house or car but once we take a look at the inside, it’s another story. You may have to get to know the person to some extent before you realize that they aren’t so nice inside. You know, a person can only pretend to be nice for so long before their true colors come flowing out…usually out of their mouth.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Life and death, that’s powerful words. You can see this oftentimes in marriage. A marriage can flourish when kind words are abundant. When one or both people build one another up on a daily basis. Not only do they enjoy being around each other but others like being around a couple who lets the Spirit of God act as a cooling salve for their partner.
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 As we read the Bible daily, it is seed to help us change our speech. It seems that today many people use cursing in everyday speech and don’t even care if it offends those around them let alone that God instructs us “but among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Eph 5: 3-4
We may not understand why God is asking us to act a certain way, but perhaps it is not for us to understand. If we are obedient to His Word, blessings will come. Can we know what God is asking of us if we do not read the Bible daily? To seek Him at all times so as to be obedient?
Ephesians further tells us, “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” (5:8b-12)
We have a choice to make, we can be a Perfect Phil where we look good on the outside but are rotten inside or we can be intentional in living a life pleasing to Christ. When we please God with our behavior, we will please those around us. And if those around us are not pleased, it is probably best not to be around them.
You still have plenty of time to start reading the Bible for 2020. Don’t worry about getting “behind”…that is for human terms. God will have you right where he wants you.
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