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Monday, July 10, 2017

It is worth the climb

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own estimation; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will bring healing to your body, and refreshment to your inner self. 
(Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV)

It was Thomas Fuller who said, "One that would have the fruit must climb the tree." There are a whole lot of us who want the fruit, but we aren't willing to put forth the effort to "climb the tree". We don't mind taking advantage of the low hanging fruit, for that is easy to obtain - we merely reach a little and we have it in our possession. But...to climb into places where a clear line of sight may be blocked, or thorns may prick us as we reach a little further, some don't want to extend themselves that far - the known is much better than the unknown or the uncomfortable!

When the view is obstructed, we can either work for another vantage point, or we can trust what we don't see that has been provided to keep us safe. I have those surround cameras on my vehicle that alert me when a car is in my blind spot and I want to change lanes. It helps keep me safe - because what I cannot see could very clearly do me much harm. I don't know all the technology behind those devices, but they are a great invention and one that I am learning to appreciate all the more on each morning and evening commute! To say I "trust in them" to help keep me safe is true - what I cannot see may hurt me - and what they see that I don't can actually keep me safe.

This is also true when it comes to getting into new places where we may not be all that comfortable in our walk with Jesus. We are on a quest to reach the fruit, but it isn't always clear what we are going to go through in order to reach that desired end. In the midst of the climb, we find ourselves a little challenged by what we cannot see. As much as those devices on my vehicle are good at keeping me safe on the road, Jesus' presence and his Holy Spirit prompting me in my daily walk are even better! What I cannot see is clearly seen by him and his "early warning system" in my life alerts me to the dangers with certain paths I could take along the way.

The effort to actually obtain fruit in our lives is sometimes more significant than we might want to put forth. Any climb isn't easy - even if it is just a short way. The word "climb" suggests effort as we ascend to a height different from that which we occupy right now. I have hiked on occasion, finding myself looking at what appear to be pretty straight-up inclines that probably could "do me in" if I let them. What I have learned is that it only takes putting one foot in front of the other, resting on occasion, renewing my resources by drinking a little and eating an occasion bite from the provisions I packed along to just get me a little bit further up the incline. The full steepness of the climb isn't really appreciated until I look back down the mountain, though!

I feared the climb a little, dreading the effort, anticipating the exhaustion I'd feel at the end, but when I stand on the summit of the climb, I don't remember any of the effort! Why? The things that I now see clearly put every part of the climb into perspective. This is a lesson we could all learn as we take this "climb" toward fruit in our lives - the climb is worth it! Just sayin!