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Green Bananas

1 Timothy 4:12

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in faith and in purity.

People often think I am younger than I am. I don't mind it nearly as much as I did when I was a teenager or even in my 20s. Sometimes, I enjoy being viewed as youthful. But there's still something inside of me that feels a little hurt when people assume I'm younger than I am. Do I not look like a mature woman? Do I not act like a mature woman?

The other week, I was waiting for bananas to turn yellow. For me, there is a specific time-frame when the bananas are perfectly ripe to eat, not too hard and not too mushy. I was waiting and these bananas were not turning yellow. I finally decided to try one. As I started to pressed my thumb into the peel, I realized that it was easy to split. As I pulled down the stem, I revealed a perfectly ripe banana, and it was delicious!

Our outside appearance does not necessarily reveal what is inside our hearts.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

God sent Samuel to Jesse's sons to anoint the future king. God did not choose the older and taller sons, but chose the youngest and smallest, David. He knew the hearts of these men. He knew His plan for them.

I know teenagers who have a vibrant faith, who have experienced life, who have chosen to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, and who are wiser than many adults I know.

I know women who appear to have it all together but are broken inside for Jesus, who have been called out of darkness into God's wonderful light and have testimonies of God's saving help in times of trouble.

I know women of simple means whose faith is genuine and big and world-changing and isn't dependent on educational background,. They don't need a doctorate in the Hebrew language to follow Jesus with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their strength and with all their mind.

We don't have to look a certain way to follow Jesus. We don't need to be a certain age. We don't need to study certain things. God is pursuing all of us. He will use all of us when we look to His Son, Jesus, and believe in Him. There is nothing we need to do. There is no cookie-cutter mold we need to fit. We simply come to Him. And He is faithful to call us His children. He is faithful to grow us. He is faithful to gently lead us. He is faithful to transform us more and more into the likeness of Christ. He is faithful.

I've been told a time or two by people who have gotten to know me that when they first met me, they perceived me in a certain way, usually assuming that my faith was superficial. Until they spent time with me, they didn't know that I am all-in for Jesus. They didn't know how my pain and my suffering have brought me into humble repentance and steadfast dependence on my God and Savior. They didn't know that I long to be vulnerable, to comfort those with the comfort I have received from God. They didn't know how my sin plagues and grieves me, and how I have learned to surrender to God over and over.

I may not be a perfectly ripe banana, but God is working in this heart of mine. Underneath the peel of this physical appearance, He is working.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.

Philippians 3:12

...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

Let's take time to get to know each other. Just because someone looks like a green banana doesn't mean they aren't ripening inside. We need each other as the body of Christ. We need each other in order to grow to maturity. We need to see the good in one another and stir each other on to use the good gifts God has given us to further His kingdom. This cannot happen when we are making snap judgments based on physical appearance.

I still do this. Today, I am repenting. Today, I am turning to God to help me.

...until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:13

Dear Father,

You know our hearts. You see us through Jesus, and You love us perfectly. I can only see the outward appearance. Yet, I trust You to help me to get to know Your children, so that I can better understand their hearts. Let me love, even before I get to know someone. Let me assume the best in everyone. I ask You to humble me. I ask you to help me consider others better than me, without limit based on how they look or how they act. I confess my sin in this area, and today, I turn to You and away from my sin. Forgive me. Unite Your people in faith so that Your body of believers can grow to maturity. Thank You, God, for making me Your own, for not looking down on me when I was young, for not looking down on me now when I don't have it all together. Thank You for accepting me through Jesus. Thank You that I am Yours. Continue Your work in me. I know You will. I know You are. I trust You.

In Jesus' Name, Amen

How do you feel judged by the way you look or act?

How do you judge others by the way they look or act?

How are you ripening in your faith?

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