An Apple a Day
Our neighbors have a June apple tree in their back yard. They’re generous folks and allow us to take all the apples we want, and they’ve never complained about the occasional apple pie that comes back their way.
The one disadvantage is that they aren’t serious about growing apples. To them it’s mostly an ornamental tree, so the tree isn’t sprayed regularly to rid it of apple loving worms and bugs. Consequently, preparation time takes a little longer because you have to discard bits of the apples.
It doesn’t matter to a pie or applesauce if the apple looks pretty or if pieces of apple are uniform and even, so I chose to first use the marred apples and save the pretty ones for snacks.
However, as I worked I needed a little more apple to fill up the pie, so I reached for an unspoiled apple. As I began to cut into it, I was thinking of the smell of a fresh-baked pie filling the kitchen when my husband came in.
The smile on my face faded quickly. The apple was rotten on the inside. It had just enough good apple on the outside for it to keep it’s shape. Its heart was brown and ugly. Several other apples had the same problem.
As I cut through those apples, I wondered if that’s how we look to the Lord. Are we marred with bug bites and bruises? Do we try to look shiny and nice, being careful to hide what’s within? Or, do we think we look shiny and nice, but God sees otherwise? Apples that haven’t been tended, taught me a lesson.
Some sins are visible to those around us, marring our desirable appearance and our witness. If we submit ourselves to the Lord’s discipline, those things can often be cut out just like the bad spots in the apple.
However, if we hold hidden sin and thus allow it to take residence in our hearts, like the worm or larva in the apple, the damage grows unnoticed, causing great destruction. As we try to hide it from others, the damage grows.
There is good news and bad news in this scenario. First, the bad.
Sometimes we aren’t aware that we have hidden sin. If, for instance, we lie or commit adultery, we may try to justify it, but our conscience knows otherwise. However, we may lean on someone emotionally or take special joy in their company and slide into committing adultery in our hearts long before taking physical steps in response to those emotions.
Likewise, we can unknowingly harbor pride, bitterness, greed, or other sinful attitudes that spoil our righteousness, peace, and joy, much less our relationships and testimony. Like the larva in the apple, if we hold sin, the fact that it is hidden does not mean it is not causing damage within.
The good news is that our God is a redeeming God. Unlike the apple that had to be thrown away because it was rotten, in Jesus Christ we can be made whole again. He will wash away the rottenness that blocks our relationship with Him (and others) and our usefulness in His kingdom.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).
They say an apple a day will keep the doctor away. I’m thinking that if I remember the lesson of the rotten apple, an apple a day might keep the devil away. Apples, whether perfect or not, could serve as a reminder to submit to God, asking Him to show me if I am harboring any unrighteousness.
Will you join me?
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:23-24).
Just an apple a day.