The Bare Soul - May 9, 2010
The Beauty of Holiness

Song of Solomon 2:13 - The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along!

Springtime is a wonderful expression of God's renewal. In the Midwestern United States, we are blessed to have beautiful Red Bud, Dogwood, and Lilac that titillate the senses as they burst forth in bloom. Recently, I was watching a television program regarding how nature will put on this grand pageant as a means of survival. Plants and trees that bloom yearly rely on winged creatures such as bees and wasps to be attracted to their lushness. In so doing,  they travel from plant to plant, pollinating flora and fauna's respective counterparts and ensuring another lifecycle of their species. The competition can be fierce to woo these airborne couriers to select their nectar thereby ensuring cross-pollination. Bright, vivid colors along with strong scents are the main attracters. Through these sensory stimuli, one is struck by God's plan as He created less hearty plants with a fragrance and nectar that is irresistible to nature's pollinators. But isn't that just like God? He often takes those who would be less strong than others and ensures their survival by equipping them to be more desirable in their weakness.

In nature, it is is not fair to judge a plant's strength by its apparent beauty, especially if it is not able to reproduce itself. If, however, it is able to ensure generation upon generation by its ability to make itself desirable, then it has accomplished God's purpose. For example, a number of different birds and mammals eat a variety of different fruit from vines and trees. These seeds they ingest become deposited in a multitude of locations as they pass through their systems. The number of seed deposits by animals defecating them back into the landscape ensures that this lottery will once again produce the next generation of fruit bearers. The diversity of our Creator ensures that all plant life are ensured a chance of propagating their prodigies no matter how the transferences might take place. The will of the Father is there, and He has certainly made a way for all to "be fruitful and multiply".

If we look closely at any of God's creation, we see that it is perfect in its design and utility. Likewise, humankind is perfect in form and function when we are abiding in that One whom we were created to reflect. Just as in the plant or animal creation, beauty has to have purpose within man's sphere of influence. If beauty and fragrance is only of this world, then it will only produce a momentary pleasure of the eye or for the nose. However captivating it may be, it is fleeting and will only satisfy the beholder for the moment (Proverbs 31:30). True beauty is when a person is emanating the character of their Maker, which is the beauty of holiness. This is a righteous behavior that is free from malice or guile and is full of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When one is living and moving in this way, their outer appearance is of little importance. A vine may look like any other when it is in dormant in the dead of winter or later when it puts on its leaves. Many wild vines will continue this way throughout summer without ever producing fruit. However, when a vine has been tended by the vinedresser and when it distinguishes itself by bearing glorious, succulent grapes then it is desirous to many. In much the same way, if we are bearing fruit for our God then many will wish to "taste" of our lives. The consequences of a seemingly inconsequential life before bearing fruit will change dramatically once fruit is bore and shared. While the fragrance of our "blooms" may be the thing that first attracts our attracters, what will keep them coming back is when we bear fruit and continue to bear it. They will take and share it indiscriminately, being carriers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as they deposit a little bit of us throughout this world. Is this not what we desire, to become so One with the Father that we share the beauty of His holiness with others? Our state of abiding in that Great Vine whose name is Jesus Christ becomes such a natural state that we allow our fruit to be freely shared without a thought otherwise.

The beauty of nature reproducing itself is really no different then how God desires to reproduce Himself through the beauty of holiness. In both cases, He takes a willing participant in His creation and He allows the respective flowers, fragrances, and fruits to manifest in such a way as to beckon those who would supplant His reproductive wishes. God loves His creation, but above all He loves humankind and desires a spiritual reproduction that is multiplied time and time again much in the same way as His original procreation command (Genesis 1:28). However, to do this He needs spiritual beings that are alive to righteousness through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. As we submit to His Lordship, then we too can live in the beauty of His holiness, producing life upon life as His fruit is manifested in us and through us to a dying world.

Lord Jesus, we thank you that You are the Vine and we are merely the branches. But, O what branches! We have the honor and the privilege of producing much fruit for You as we are found beautiful in Your holiness. Allow us this great opportunity through our realization of Your great love for us all. In Your name Jesus and for Your Father's glory we pray, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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