By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
Annie and I are occasionally spontaneous.
Most evenings we stay in–eating together and popping in a movie or streaming a show. We enjoy spending time at home and seldom leave it apart from work.
But, as I said, on rare occasions we are spontaneous.
One such occasion occurred just last week. Annie and I were sitting on the couch and, suddenly, she looked at me and said, “The Cory Apple Festival is this weekend. We should go.” And just like that, it was settled.
We embarked on the two hour trip on Saturday morning. Cory, Indiana is where a lot of my family is from and where some of them still live. The Apple Festival occurs in the small, farm town every year and it’s always a big event. There are food trucks and shows, booths and sales. It’s a big deal.
Annie had never been before. For a girl from California, Cory might as well have been Neverland. As for me, the last time I had gone to the Apple festival must have been when I was a little kid. I never remembered going.
So, this was going to be a first for both of us.
It was much like any festival or fair you go to. There was a variety of different foods and desserts. Funnell cakes and fried Oreos were readily available. But there is one delicacy that always sounds really good when you brave the hot weather to go to a festival: a lemon shake-up.
It was one of the first things that Annie and I bought. We went to the first place we saw and purchased one to share. The anticipation of that first sip of sour-sweet lemonade to quench your thirst is delightful.
But, to Annie and I, this particular lemon shake-up fell flat. It was might as well have been sugar water. There was no lemony taste. No pulpy texture that results from the freshly squeezed lemons. It just wasn’t right.
It was presented to us in the colorful plastic cups that all lemon-shake ups are in. You know the ones–with the yellow lid and bendy straw. But it just wasn’t the lemon shake-up that we knew and loved.
No problem. Annie and I finished it off and threw it away. Later on that day, we decided that we would try our luck at a different food truck. We found another that offered shake-ups and once again we were handed a colorful cup with the yellow lid and bendy straw. With excitement, we took our first sip and both of us quickly deflated like a three-week-old party balloon.
It just wasn’t the same.
How could they claim that these were lemon shake-ups? Both of them just seemed to fall flat. They just didn’t have the same great flavor.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot” (Matthew 5:13).
I think there are too many sugar-water-shake-up Christians. They have colorful pictures on the outside. The yellow lid. The purple bendy straw. Everything about them seems to be a lemon shake-up.
But, when it matters most, they lose their flavor. They are void of anything that makes them uniquely holy. They’ve lost their saltiness.
The only way to regain the salty flavor that Jesus speaks of, the only way to be a lemon shake-up inside and out, is to have a vibrant and consistent connection with the Holy Spirit. It is by the shaping and molding of the Spirit, and the pouring of His grace in our lives that we can truly be Christlike through and through.