Each year at Glyndley Manor we receive a welcome donation of apples from a good friend. These apples bring with them then opportunity for fellowship and teamwork. They do, after all, need peeling, coring and chopping, before being put in the freezer for later use. So it was no surprise when I received an email from our House Manager asking for an hour of my time to make a start on the apples. It was while I was sitting peeling apples with a small group of others that my mind began to wander on to today’s verse.
The freshly peeled apples that were waiting to be cored and chopped began to to go brown very quickly, but the unpeeled apples in the box remained unchanged, and would stay that way for quite some time, if left alone.
But although we might think they could be preserved in their box, we would wrong. In due course, if left, they would begin to rot and become no good at all. But the ones which were peeled, and, seemingly, more vulnerable, would, in the end, become fit for purpose in apple pie. Once the peel was removed, along with any damaged bits, they would be cut up, put in water with lemon juice then bagged up and frozen.
If we hear the Lord speaking to us, guiding us, disciplining us, and teaching us, but then harden our hearts, we become like the apples in the box. It may seem that we are doing OK, or have got away with it, for a time, but it won’t be long before we begin to suffer the consequences of being disobedient to God.
We become disquieted, tired, and worn down, and God seems to be distant. Situations and circumstances seem to go out of kilter, and we can begin to lose hope. We start distancing ourselves and withdrawing further away from God and others. Like the apples in the box we become rotten. In this state we cannot enter His rest.
However if we hear the voice of the Lord and we become obedient and yielding to Him, we will enter His rest. It’s in the place of obedience that our lives can be truly healed and changed. Our greatest calling is to allow Him to change us into the person that He intended us to be. This can be a vulnerable, or even painful, process. Just like the apples we have to be peeled of our defences, have our hidden bad bits cut out, and be chopped ready for His purposes.
So what is it the Lord has been speaking to you? Whatever it is, don’t harden your heart against Him, but yield to Him in obedience.
Prayer: Father, I’m sorry that I haven't been listening to You, and have gone my own way. I’m sorry I’ve preferred to stay in the box, rather than allow You to bring change in my life. Forgive me for my disobedience. Speak to me again, Lord, so that I can be changed by You. Amen.
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