Posts Tagged 'spiritual growth'

An Acorn Becomes an Oak

Photo by by MunstiSue

Pastor Farley has been using the metaphor of an acorn becoming an oak as an illustration of our spiritual growth in many of our recent lessons… particularly to show that it’s painful and confusing. The acorn has to be buried in the ground, and then it swells until its hard shell cracks and splits, and pretty soon roots are coming out. And the acorn’s going, “Roots? What are these? I’ve never done roots before.”

And after a while maybe it says “Okay, I get it, I’m gonna be here underground with my roots and this dirt and I’m okay with that, I’m getting the hang of it, here.” And then suddenly there’s a stalk and its pushing upward and there’s pressure and leaves flying about and just one thing after another, and pressure here, and no pressure there and wind and light and rain… If all you are is a little acorn, it’s pretty dramatic. All of it is something it never had or was before.

And so it is with us as we grow into the new life Christ has given us. It’s really not at all like the old life and the old ways of thinking… particularly this Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil thing — The more I think about it, the more profound this teaching seems to be become. The Tree of Life, which is the thinking that goes with New Life in Christ is really absolutely foreign to anything we ever thought before, anything the world thinks, and even to the parts that feel so good and right… but aren’t.

Anyway, I love the acorn metaphor , so when Pastor Farley mentioned that CBS has a photographer that did a video of time-lapse photographs showing this very process I had to go and find it.

Pretty cool!  Here it is:

Fruit Ripening

He is the Vine. I am the branch. A branch doesn’t do anything. It just sits there, attached to the vine, a conduit for nutrients and moisture, a support for the leaves and the fruit.

The fruit of the spiritual life is not the fruit of the branch but of the Vine, of the Spirit. Not of me. Considering our lemon tree and how the lemons grow is instructive. Water and nutrients come up the trunk along the branch and at certain points, cell by cell a stem begins to develop. At some point, known only to the stem, the cells begin to change and now it’s no longer a stem but a fruit. First no more than a swelling, then a small green nubbin, then larger and, ever so slowly, larger still. Gradually it takes on its distinctive lemon shape though it is still as green as the leaves around it and hard to spot when you just glance at the tree. As the months pass, it grows larger still, and during all that time if you were to pick it, it would be no good. It would be hard and dry and more bitter than sour, I think.

Finally, though, again with no visible sign or trigger, the ripening process occurs. The fruit goes from green to yellow and suddenly you have the lemon. Compared to the rest of it, the time of ripening is short. And after the fruit has ripened, it is only a month before it begins to fall from the tree and by then if the weather is right, the new blossoms have already come, starting the next batch of fruit.

That’s how it is with writing and I think that’s how it is with the spiritual life, as well. There is a long time of growth when the fruit is barely visible or isn’t ripe yet, isn’t useful. It just sits there on the tree, growing. The brnch just sits there, attached the trunk, delivering the nutrients, keeping the fruit off the ground. Most of all, fruit-bearing isn’t something the branch controls. Nor do we. Our job is to stay connected to the Vine and receiving the nutrients it provides (Filled with the Spirit and taking in doctrine). Those things plus the innate nature of the branch produces the fruit.


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