One of my favorite superfoods, the avocado, offers one of the most nutrient-dense foods available for eating. Avocados contain healthy fats which promote heart health, lower cholesterol, regulate one’s appetite, and may contribute to healthy eyes. No wonder nutritionist encourage the consumption of this pear-shaped fruit. I enjoy avocado on toast, in sandwiches, on top of salads, and smashed together to create guacamole. With just the right amount of salt, pepper, and lime, avocados taste delicious.
I found what I thought was the perfect avocado at the grocery store. What characteristics do you look for when selecting this yummy food? The exterior exhibited dark leathery skin and with just the right amount of pressure from my fingers, it gently gave way, revealing what I thought to be the the ripe nature of the fruit within.
Later that day, expectantly, I cut into the avocado with the salt and lime nearby. The knife sliced around the pit and then I pulled the two halves apart. The interior of a ripe avocado usually exhibits soft lime green flesh, but when I looked at the halves of my avocado, dismay filled my heart. Dark brown, muddy looking spots scattered throughout the healthy green portions. Although I could still enjoy the verdant flesh, I needed to cut out the dark spots.
As I stared at the “perfect” avocado, the Holy Spirit began stirring within my soul. I marveled at the ways God met with me and whispered analogies to the spiritual journey.
From the outside, the avocado looked unblemished, well formed, and wore the ideal color and texture. I wondered about the ways we as human beings attempt to look great on the outside. Our exterior behavior, speech, and appearance seem healthy, unspoiled, and refined. Perhaps we master the perceptions of others by giving the impression on the outside that all is well.
This reminds me of King David, whom I wrote about last week. He sought to manage his outside by having the semblance of a faithful, devoted king. I also think of Ananias and Sapphira described in the book of Acts (5:1-11). They appeared before the church leaders and offered a sizable gift. On the outside, their behavior resembled honorable activity.
Whether one seeks to manage their image by material style, articulate speech, professional accomplishment, charitable behaviors, or even spirituality, the false self of manipulation presents that which is dark, muddy, and inauthentic from within. How much effort do you spend on your exterior? In what ways do you endeavor to control the perceptions and opinions of others by “how you come across?” If you find yourself uncertain, ask a trusted friend or family member to contribute honest authentic feedback.
The prophet Samuel faced the values of God while selecting Israel’s king. “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). God looks at the heart; His interest resides within our interior being. We must take time to tend to our inner being with the Lover of our soul.
I noticed that not all of the interior flesh of the avocado had spoiled, just part of it. Something I continue to learn about humankind, myself included, is that while parts of us love God, live for Him, and desire to led by the Holy Spirit, there are also a parts of us that resemble the dark, ugly, and marred sections of my avocado.
Just as I cut out the bad parts in order to enjoy the good parts of this superfood, God, by the Spirit within us celebrates the healthy parts of our soul that listen to, obey, and love Him, while also cutting out the sinful parts of our lives. We must submit to the purging of God to purify us.
Take a moment to examine your soul with the Lord. Celebrate the parts of your heart that cling to the Lord and live in alignment with Him. Thank Him.
Then, thoughtfully and reflectively wonder with God about the dark, sick parts of your interior being. Consider sins such as greed, anger, gossip, selfishness, idolatry, pride, bitterness, envy, criticism, abusive speech, deception, duplicitousness, selfish ambition, vanity, intimidation, etc. Notice which of these or any others that the Holy Spirit exposes within and welcome the loving light of Christ to expel the darkness.
For David, God brought Nathan and physical consequences to expel the darkness within his soul. For Ananias and Sapphira God intervened with death to address the hidden deceit within them. God sees all, even that which we think remains hidden behind the perfect exterior. Because He loves us so much, He moves to expose the rotten parts within so that we live in wholeness with Him. “Everything exposed by the light becomes visible” (Ephesians 5:13).
If you happen to find the perfect avocado that looks as good on the outside as it is on the inside, pause to pray – Ask God to refine you within making you whole and healthy in Him. If you note sin, of any size or magnitude, confess it and receive the cleansing of God and enjoy deeper communion with Him. Thank the Holy Spirit for helping the many parts of your inner being live freely and honestly with Him and others.
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
1 Chronicles 28:9 – “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Timothy Keller, John Inazu. Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference Nashville, TN. 2020.
Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Synced: Living Connected to the Heart of Jesus. Birmingham, AL. 2016.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Mac Powell. New Creation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHIMsGGsit4
Elevation Worship. Same God. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LawxIZE9ePE
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
September 23 – Littleton, CO
Breathe Retreat (A two hour spiritual retreat for women) – Email me for more information.