I have loved the sweet tartness of a tall glass of that fresh squeezed summer delight since I was a kid watching my mom juice lemons the old-fashioned way. Maybe that’s why I was so excited to learn that there’s a variety of lemons that can grow in Georgia in the United States. Normally, the citrus trees are a more tropic loving climate to really produce, but the Meyer Lemon trees will grow in our cooler temperatures so long as they aren’t exposed to sub 25-degree temperatures.
So last fall Clif bought one, and we planted it out back near our garden. All winter, I was careful to watch the weather forecast and made sure to cover the new tree when there was the threat of a hard freeze. And this spring, I was thrilled to see that it had not only survived the winter, but was pushing out new leaves as soon as it started to warm up.
Last week, I stopped by to check on our future lemonade producing plant and discovered that it continues to thrive and was in full bloom, covered in tiny white flowers. And, the surprising fragrance that the beautiful blossoms put out was almost enchanting… nature’s perfume! As I took hold of one of the branches to enjoy the smell a little more, I got an unexpected and painful surprise! The Meyer Lemon tree not only produces lemons, it also produces some nasty thorns! The ones on my brand new tree are over an inch long and as I discovered, were wickedly sharp.
As I pushed back the leaves to get a closer look at these barbs, I found myself thinking about Genesis 3. Eve described the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as ‘pleasing to the eye’ and it’s not a far stretch to think that it might have had had attractive blossoms that filled the air with sweet perfume, inviting her to come just a little closer. But behind the shiny foliage and desirable fruit that she and Adam ultimately tasted laid the alarming thorn of sin that pierced the young couple without warning.
While in the garden, their Creator warned Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of disobedience, and through the scriptures, God has made it abundantly clear what happens when we follow the desires of our flesh and grab on to the enticements that drift in front of our eyes. But how many of His people still find themselves being led by their senses only to be pierced by Satan’s hidden barbs? While we can never completely rid ourselves of all the effects of sin [The world itself is groaning under its weight. (Rom 8:21-22)], we can learn to push back the canopy of deceit that covers our enemy’s traps and really begin to view sin as a lethal threat to our well-being that it really is.
So as you endeavor to navigate past and avoid the excessive and dangerously sharp briers that remain around us, be vigilant and maintain your focus on the goal, always remembering that a commitment to godliness greatly increases our awareness of the hidden danger of sin, and gives us a single-mindedness that will open the way for us to enjoy the sweet fruit of righteousness.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
so that you may be able to discern what is best
and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—
to the glory and praise of God.