This past summer things have been hectic to say the least. Quick trips to spend time with out of state family, closing a business and purging inventory, home repairs, surgeries, moving the oldest daughter home for her last year (clinicals) of school, summer classes and an increase in clients just to name a few things that have had us hopping. With so much going on the garden I had planned fell to the wayside. I went out one morning to piddle in the soil, pull weeds and such just for some relaxing mind numbing activity and found tomatoes in the wild growing from last years tossed aside seed.
So I pulled them, added soil, nutrients, and reset them with cages and water to see what might happen. I was happy to have at least that to mess with in my in between crazy activity. Day after day I watered and babied the small possibilities of fresh home grown tomato plants. Day after day they amazed me with their resiliency and ability to overcome their birthright obstacles as they grew into giant blooming green leaved lovelies. I am not sure exactly when I noted the new tomatoes budding here and there in place of the blooms but there they were along with some weird looking smaller clusters.
I had hoped for the heirloom tomatoes I grew the year prior but found I had managed to somehow cultivate the cherry tomatoes (one cant be picky). Now, to my knowledge I never knew of cherry tomatoes growing in clusters and began to investigate them just a little bit further. What I found surprised me. These weren’t tomatoes at all but a type of plant that mimics called night shade. This plant can often be found in and among tomato and other types of similar plants. As I contemplated how to remove the offending plant so as not to contaminate my beauties God broke into my reverie and revealed these things about the imitators among us as well.
One, Looks can be deceiving. We can spend a great amount of time serving alongside, singing with and attending the same service as those who “look” the same as us but who’s hearts are far from God. They know all the correct biblical terms to throw out at just the right time. Say hallelujah with the best of them but inside they are dry and apathetic to the things of God. Sometimes, these faux fellows are extremely hurt people who have not reconciled that deep wound with Christ. Don’t get me wrong it could just as easily be one of us. We are charged with staying close to God, being in his word to know him and out of the flow of the love he gives we give to others. Our walk in obedience to him is not easy and often we are tasked with a bout or two of suffering that either takes us out as Christian (we become a shell of who we were) or we move in tandem with the spirit growing in likeness, our trust in Him deepens as does our knowledge and love.
Two, Just because you grow up in the faith does not mean you have faith. Everyone of us at some point in our lives will be given an opportunity to confront our sin, repent and accept Jesus as our savior. I believe it is sometimes easier never having been in church to come to Him; rather than setting year after year with family, attending children’s church, youth and church camp along with the occasional mission trip thrown in to fully know for yourself who He is to you.
Three, The fruit from this type of person is dangerous. Not physically but definitely dangerous in a spiritual way for those who call Jesus Lord & Savior. What might initially look like fruit growing from the bloom turns into a deadly poisonous type of something that can infiltrate and take over other believers hearts who are not as deeply rooted in the father. Deep wounds, dry stagnant faith and apathy towards God is a Christian recipe for disaster.
What can we do when we see someone we believe to be found in this state? Unlike vegetable plants we don’t remove them from among us. No, I believe like the word says “as iron sharpens iron so are we one to another”. We are to do this in Love. I say we go to them. Model what it looks like to walk along side someone who struggles with doubt, apathy, spiritual dryness, anger, bitterness or anything else that might keep them from a deep abiding faith. Talk, pray, listen and lead them back into a loving relationship with the holy spirit. It is only He who can set their hearts on fire for the things of Christ once again.
Copyright©2022 Melanie McKinley. All Rights Reserved