About 30 years ago, just for fun I decided to make some Indian curried chicken and mango chutney. Although I don’t think I’d ever seen a mango before. As I ventured into the fruit section of the grocery store and carefully eyed the bins, I finally saw the sign: mangoes. But they sure looked a lot like coconuts: hard, brown, round, and fuzzy.
I hesitated and looked around to ask someone, but I was a man on a mission.
I quickly bought it and took it back to the dormitory kitchen and immediately started peeling it. I mean beating it. Relentlessly. With a tiny hammer. I didn’t know mangoes were so hard!
I guess all of the noise raised the curiosity of a fellow student who came in and shouted over my determined assault, “What are you doing?!” A little perturbed, I answered, “Trying to make mango chutney!” To which he responded, “With a coconut?!”
My point is this: if we don’t know what right looks like, we can easily get it wrong. Really wrong. That might not be a big deal with mangoes and coconuts. But when we’re talking about the very meaning of Life and our part in it, it’s essential.
In this series, we’re looking at what right looks like in being God’s fruit and bearing fruit for Him. If you haven’t already read the post, “Life always starts with a Seed“, I recommend that you start there. In it, we considered the significance of God creating us as His seed to live in His image and giving His Word and Spirit as seed for our spiritual growth. It is essential for us to understand what right look like so we can be sure of what He will bless. We saw in part one, for example, that God reveals Himself as holy for relationship.
In the same account of creation, the Lord also reveals part of His image as Prophet.
First, note that He speaks everything into existence. But why? Wouldn’t it have been more god-like to create by hurling bolts of incredible lightning or by molding worlds with gigantic hands? Not if the Son of God is the Word. All things would be created by speaking. And that’s exactly how John 1:1-5 describes all creation being made through Christ.
Second, notice that the Lord put Adam in Eden to work and keep the garden, spoke His one prohibition to him only and then created Eve from Adam’s side (Genesis 2:15-18). Coming from his side symbolized that Eve was to be her husband’s equal. Not hearing from God directly tells us that Adam was to speak God’s will to his wife. And both were to teach their children.
Third, when the Lord commanded them to “go forth and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), He was charging them to live in His image as prophets, speaking the Word of Life: to follow God by faith in Him. If you’re not sure about that, look back and look forward. God had already multiplied life in earth by speaking. And later In Scripture, we’re clearly told that God calls some people to singleness (Jeremiah 16:2 and 1 Corinthians 7:7) and, therefore, are not to have children. And He makes some eunuchs, unable to have children (Matthew 19:12). So if all Mankind is to obey God’s command, it cannot refer merely to physical childbirth. Rather, it’s a picture of future evangelism and discipleship. This is why God’s Word always refers to child-rearing as a spiritual duty. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 sets the tone for the rest of God’s revelation to His people by painting a picture of preparing our children to live and teach God’s Word in the world. In fact, we’re told over and over that God’s plan has always been more than physical life. It’s spiritual life in Christ, by trusting in His Word (Matthew 13:34-35 and 25:34-40, John 17:22-24, Ephesians 1:3-14, 1 Peter 1:18-21, Jude 24-25, etc.): His Scripture and His Son, the message of the Scriptures from cover to cover.
What does this mean for us?
We are to speak His will to others. Simply doing His will is not enough. We need to teach His commands, promises, warnings, and more to our families, friends, and more. Again, His Word is the owner’s manual for Life. It tells us how to put our families together; it tells us how to connect work in Christ to rest in Christ and rest to joy in Christ and more; it tells us how to guard ourselves against this world; and it tells us about Jesus’ lifetime warranty: eternal life.
We must also listen to those who speak His will to us, always weighing their words against God’s Word. We’re not merely to give others our opinions, and we shouldn’t blindly accept others’ counsel either. We’re to be like the Bereans who were commended for fact-checking Paul’s teaching against the Old Testament (Acts 17:11).
And we are continually to value God’s Word as essential for Life. Our goal shouldn’t be merely to know John 3:16 or even to read through the entire Bible once in our lives. We need to crave His Word as our spiritual daily bread. None of us (hopefully) would just throw seed in the ground and forget about them. We should go back and watch and water and weed and nurture for as much fruit as possible.
May we do the same for each other as God’s fruit in His image.
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