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My summer signature dessert is peach cobbler. You may have another “go to” ending for your summer meals. But when it comes to using fruit in a recipe, is it best to use fresh or frozen?
My ongoing recipe dilemma has taken me from culinary curiosity to spiritual matters. A series of events, from public figures failing to my personal struggles, led me to contemplate a fruit that never grows from the ground.
The fruit of repentance only grows in our hearts.
Therefore produce fruit that is worthy of [and consistent with your] repentance [that is, live changed lives, turn from sin and seek God and His righteousness]. – Luke 3:8 AMP
Judas Iscariot, the disciple that betrayed Jesus and Simon Peter, the disciple that denied Jesus, serve as poster kids for lessons in repentance. Through their sin they share a common thread with us all. But the thread weaves a tale about what we do after we’ve sinned.
I’m intrigued by their “fresh and frozen” responses. But before I look at theirs, I’m looking at a few of my own:
“I know I should do better, but…”
“If they hadn’t ______, then I wouldn’t have _______.”
“Lord forgive me. I turn from my sin and seek your righteousness.”
Do you see your typical after-sin response? The goal is to seek forgiveness but that takes sensitivity to God’s Spirit. He knows if I minimize sin, I’ll grow more attached to it. He knows if I maximize grace, I’ll become more defined by it.
I want to respond well to the Spirit’s warnings and wisdom. My struggles with sin always leave me needing a fresh perspective. I need to see how it hurts my relationship with God and others. (see 2 Corinthians 7:10-11)
Cue Judas and Peter. I learn a lot from their choices.
Judas saw where he went wrong. He tried to return the payment for his dirty deed. But remorse is not the same as repentance.
Regret or remorse tunes me in to my guilt, but only repentance turns me away from my sin.
Hence, Judas was frozen in guilt. Once his attempt to fix things failed, he failed to see God is merciful. He hung himself as a final attempt to outrun his shame. (see Matthew 27:1-5)
Now it’s Peter’s turn. After Jesus’ arrest, all the disciples fled. But from a distance, Peter tried to stay informed. It’s much different from staying connected. Peter discovered the difference after denying Christ three times. It was the one thing he thought he’d never do. (see Mark 14:43-48 and 66-72)
But Peter found fresh faith. When the news of Christ’s resurrection came, Peter outran another disciple to arrive at the empty tomb. At some point he must have sought God’s forgiveness, because there is plenty of fruit.
Three times, he made a fresh declaration to Christ to love Him and feed His sheep. (John 21:15-17)
He was present at Pentecost to receive the fresh wind and fresh fire of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-4, 14-21)
He stayed connected to fellow believers, providing leadership and a legacy that inspires us today. (Galatians 2:7-8)
I don’t want to freeze in self-pity, pride or shame. Thankfully, repentance moves us forward. Then whatever declaration (or apology) I need to make, place I need to go or people I need to serve, I bear the Spirit’s fruit.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22 NLT
Because when it comes to sin, unless I repent I repeat.
Regret may surface. Tears may flow, but until I seek God and His righteousness, frozen will happen. The chill does not end well.
If we don’t own our wrongs, they just keep owning us.
When I consider my cobbler, fresh peaches have won me over. They are sweeter and more receptive to spices. As the cobbler bakes, their natural juices bubble up just right.
By contrast, baking with frozen peaches is unpredictable. They have to simmer longer to become tender. They seem to fight flavor enhancement. I know what it’s like to have fresh and frozen responses to repentance. Although the former may be a hard truth for us to face, the latter doesn’t offer us any truth at all.
To read more posts from Joy, visit her site at joyAwilliams.com.