If you have ever made your own juice, you know that the fruit is cut in half, placed onto the reamer and then pressed using the plunger, catching the pulp in the strainer and allowing the juice to collect in the bowl or glass. Or maybe you put garlic through a garlic press to mince it for use in your favorite recipe. You are in a group of people and find yourself doing or saying things that allow you to swim in the same direction as the crowd, not going against the flow.
What is the common denominator of the juicer, the garlic press, and moving in the same direction as the crowd? All three – the juice, the minced garlic, and going with the flow – are all imposed from the outside. The fruit rind is squeezed and the vesicles release juice. (Some fruit have a middle section called a mesocarp.) The garlic juice is released by pressing the clove. Peer pressure presses down on us, causing us to act or speak in certain ways.
God’s Kingdom works in the opposite way. It is not imposed from the outside, rather, it is cultivated from the inside. The world’s kingdoms begin outwardly and work their way into our hearts. On the contrary, God’s Kingdom takes root in a person’s soul then works its way outward, hopefully eventually impacting the outward activities. Seeds planted by God in our hearts, if not smothered or ignored, will grow and bear fruit in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
The apostle Paul shares these words, found in Philippians 2:12-13 – Therefore, my beloved, as you always have obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
So, today, begin to trust the Spirit within you. Start to cultivate the desires and dreams that God plants within you. Don’t allow the world to impose its plans and purposes in your life; allow the plans and purposes of God – God’s Kingdom – to ooze from you, both in ways you expect and ways that you never expected.
New Bern, North Carolina