Holy, Holy, Holy

The word holy may evoke images of Mary and Moses, but it simply means readiness, ripeness, or maturity. Ripening is never an easy process, but the result is love that doesn’t depend upon circumstances for its sweetness. My son and daughter-in-law were raving about some peaches a friend had given them. They were from Georgia and tasted the way a peach should taste. The image reminded me of Christians who reflect Christ’s precious love. Like that Georgia peach, they are who God created them to be and delight those around them.

The world is filled with people and produce that are poor imitations of what they should be. Nothing is more bitter than an unripe persimmon, and sour grapes contort the countenance and the stomach. I hate buying beautiful fruit that tastes horrible when I take a bite.

Immature fruit and immature believers require time and love to ripen, but God knows holiness is worth the wait. Anyone who has eaten a peach picked in a Georgia orchard knows what a peach truly is. Those who come to the mountains of North Carolina in the fall for juicy, ripe apples understand what an apple should be. Watermelons from a field in South Carolina defy description. As a Christian, I am called to be holy; but I shy away from that call because I think it means I must be perfect. 2 Timothy 1:9 makes it clear that holiness isn’t about works or perfection. It is about God’s grace.

“who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,” (NASB)

No one ever grew a tomato as delicious as the ones my father grew in the little garden behind our house.  The taste of that first tomato sandwich in July was well worth the long wait, but daddy ruined me when it came to tomatoes because none meet his high standards. He saved the seeds from his tomatoes and planted them in the spring. They were seeds from his father’s farm and probably from his grandfather’s before that. Heirloom is the term used to describe such tomatoes, and that is precisely what they were. I knew my granddaddy’s tomatoes because I knew my daddy’s tomatoes, and I know God’s love because I know His Son’s precious love.

I fall short when it comes to being the Christian I should be, but I do try to love as Christ loved. I’ve stopped trying to be perfect because I know God wants me to be ready, not perfect. Perfection will only come when I am in His presence. I think the world is excessively hard on Christians, and no one bashes Christians more than those who call themselves Christians or use some other term that means the same thing. I imagine a bad experience caused the disdain, but I do wish they would stop bashing and start loving.

I’ve stopped expecting tomatoes to taste like daddy’s, but I do have a glimmer of hope each time I find an heirloom tomato that resembles one of daddy’s. I plan to keep on looking for that elusive tomato because the alternative is to stop eating tomatoes and go around talking about how much I miss the good old tomatoes of the past. I’m sure others would soon tire of my tirades just as I tire of the tirades against Christians. Watching those little seeds grow and waiting anxiously for them to ripen was a lot of what made them so special. I was invested in those tomatoes, and I knew them personally. The love daddy had for those tomatoes was a bigger part. Anyone who knew Foy Holden, knew how much he loved his tomatoes. I pray I will have the same love for God’s children, especially those who are not yet ripe.

I haven’t found a perfect Christian, and I’m not looking for one because I know God isn’t looking for one either.

Jesus Smiling

God’s Timing:)

God’s timing has more to do with my readiness than His delaying. I often say that God’s timing is perfect, and it is. I usually mean that He’s making me wait for some reason, helping me grow, or teaching me patience. That’s true also, but I’m learning that God’s timing is directly related to the state of my heart’s readiness. He’s always ready to teach, guide, and give me the wonderful things He has in store. I am not, so He’s the one who’s doing the waiting! Knowing that puts me in a different state of mind and heart:)

As I think of all God put before me this week, I am humbled. Jeremiah 33 has blessed me over and over, and verse 9 grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let it go last night.

“It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’” NASB

God’s love has demanded my attention this week, and I have literally trembled at all the good and all the peace He has made for me. These words from “The Wonderful Cross” say it perfectly, and Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin sing it beautifully!

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.” 

God doesn’t just bid me come, His love demands my soul and my attention in a way that makes me tremble in wonder and stop what I’m doing and look to Him. I’ve found that when I do that, He will show me who He is and who He believes I can be. It causes me to see myself as He sees me, and that brings me to my knees in gratitude for His grace.

Knowing I am loved is a mirror that allows me to look deeply at His love and express it to Him, myself, and those in my path. His love is so different from mine. I understood enabling, fixing, pitying, and waiting upon, but I never knew true love until God planted its seed in my heart three years ago. It grew, flourished, and has ripened to the point of readiness.

Readiness is one definition of the Greek word translated as holiness, and that simple truth helps me see love in a new light. Knowing that God is waiting for that readiness in my heart changes the way I live and love. I’ve been waiting for Him to do something. God’s lessons this week have been amazing. I’ve long since stopped using the word coincidental because I know that nothing is coincidental when it comes to God. He does wait for me, but He also knows when I’m going to be ready. He knew the seed He planted on December 1st three years ago would be ready yesterday. Amazing:)