Do we eat rotten apples?
On a recent occasion, my son, who loves apples, asked for a snack. We handed him an apple, and when he bit into it, it was very clearly rotten. Naturally, we took it away from him and threw it away. Also, naturally, he began to cry. He was very upset that we had taken it away because he wanted it. But as his parents, we knew what was best for him, and eating a rotten apple would possibly make him sick.
We told him it was no good and that we would get him another snack but it wasn’t until that other snack was in his hand that he was happy. We are not toddlers but do we cry when the rotten apples are taken out of our lives? Sometimes our loving Father may have to take something away from us so we do not get sin-sick.
This could look like many things. A toxic job situation that you were laid off from. A bad friend who walked out of your life. Leaving a harmful environment for a more holy one. When written like this, these things seem good for us but what if that job was the only thing keeping you from homelessness? What if that friend has known you for most of your life? What if the harmful environment is around your family members? All of a sudden we want those rotten apples in our lives.
In difficult times I always reflect on Romans 8:28.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (NKJV)
This verse is often misquoted when bad things happen, right? When a family member dies someone might come and say “Everything happens for a reason” or “It must be God’s will”
Brothers and sisters that is not what the verse says. It says all things work together for good NOT all things are good. Death is the last enemy to be defeated. It is not good that the hospital is filled with people suffering. It is not good that you lose your job and are struggling to pay your bills BUT those things can work together with other things for the good.
So it may not be good that the apple was rotten but it is good that we removed it and gave him something better. Likewise, perhaps God removes things from our lives to bring us something that is better for us. It may not be exactly what we want but God will always provide.
Let’s look at an example of God removing a rotten apple and how people reacted.
In Genesis chapter 19 we see a passage about the last day Lot and his family spend in Sodom and Gomorrah. The angels of the Lord told them to get out of the city for it would be destroyed the next day. Lot could not convince his sons-in-law who married his daughters so Lot, his wife and their two unmarried daughters were the only ones to escape. They were instructed not to look back but Lot’s wife turned back for one last look and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
We can learn so much from this. When a rotten apple is removed from our lives, who do we resemble?
Do we react like Lot’s sons-in-law?
Even though Sodom was clearly a rotten apple that would be destroyed, Lot's sons-in-law and his daughters decided to stay because they did not take Lot seriously (Genesis 19:14). The people of this area had become so wicked that the men of the city were trying to rape angels sent from the Lord (Genesis 19:4-5). Why would you want to stay in a palace like that? The truth is we may do the same thing but just make it look differently. We may get so used to being around evil that even if we are not partaking we are unaffected by it. If we continue to stay for too long we will eventually end up just like everyone around us.
We need to take the warnings from God seriously and not fight to gain back rotten apples that we know are wrong for our lives.
Are we looking back at what God has removed like Lot’s wife?
Lot's wife left with her husband with clear instructions not to look back (Genesis 19:17) We do not know if it was the longing for her daughters who did not come, seeing her home destroyed or longing for the desires of the world but Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26)
For example sake, let's imagine that Lot’s wife looked back longingly. We all know the parents at their child’s game who cannot stop talking about how good they were in high school. This is not a sin, but are we looking back at our sinful days as the “good ol days”? Are we remembering our party days in college affectionately? There is nothing wrong with reflecting on our past but if we have been made alive in Christ we can not gaze fondly on the days we lived in evil(Romans 6:1-4).
Let us look ahead at what God has for us and not look back at any rotten apples.
Do we step into the will of God for our life like Lot and his two daughters?
Finally, we see how Lot and his two daughters responded. Lot pleaded to go to Zoar to escape and once given approval he did as he was told to do. He left and did not look back and he did it immediately, arriving in Zoar with the rising of the sun (Genesis 19:21-24).
There have been times in my life when I knew I needed to give something up for the cause of Christ. This is a silly example but I believe it gives us practical applications. There was a TV I watched in my early 20s that everyone I worked with watched as well. Every Friday morning we would discuss what happened in the previous episode. One particular episode really offended my belief and I knew immediately I did not need to be watching it anymore. Yes, I had to give up a silly TV show but I also had to give up that time with my coworkers that we had every Friday. It turned out that it was not that big of a deal because it was just a show but my point is, as Christians we are called to be peculiar (1 Peter 2:9). We are not supposed to fit in all the time. We are to be lights to those in darkness (Matthew 5:14-16).
Sometimes we will have to give up things of this world for the cause of Christ. I pray that we can leave them behind and not look back like Lot and his two daughters did.
If there are rotten apples in our lives we would do well to remove them ourselves and if they are removed for us we would do well to move on and never look back always remembering that ALL things work together for the good for those who are the called.
As we see, Lot’s family all had different reactions to the coming destruction. Some did not take it seriously Do we take the words of Jesus seriously? He said in Luke 12:40,
“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (NKJV)
Jesus IS coming back; have we removed the rotten apples in our lives? Are we longing for rotten apples that have been removed for us? Or have we fully obeyed God’s call to repent and turn from the evil in our lives? The choice is ours and the time is now.