Updated: Sep 18, 2020
It's said that God is consistently testing us, and that's true He is. There's always some kind of dilemma we have to fight our way through. The problem with this, is that we either don't know or don't remember that we're being tested by God. So when things pop up, whether they're big and possibly life changing or small and insignificant, we have a tendency to react very unfavorably. What we fail to see is that every time we do this, we're moving backwards instead of forwards in our spiritual lives.
Alright I'm going to quote the bible here. "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire." Love that word 'bringeth." This is another one of the many parables Jesus gave us as a teaching. So what does it mean?
We're made in the image and likeness of God. Now don't take that as a physical thing. He wants us to be like Him spiritually. His image is love, patience, humility, charity, etc. The qualities many have lost in this chaotic, selfish world. So as God sends us our daily struggles, He's giving us the opportunity to mold who we are.
This can be something as minor as getting cut off by some jerk on the road. What do you do when that happens? Anger? Swearing? Middle finger maybe? Speed up to try and get around them and squeeze in front of them? Everything except patience and humility. God went out of His way to give you this opportunity. Instead we should say, "God bless you, I hope somebody treats you better than you just treated me." But no, F you, I hope you hit a tree,! is usually our reaction. Unfortunately, we just threw a wonderful opportunity to grow and be more like Christ right in the garbage. I hate when that happens.
Back to the parable. As we encounter our various tests, we either handle them with patience and humility or we handle them with impatience and anger. When patience and humility become our first reaction, we are growing fruit on our tree, aka our souls. But when impatience and anger are the immediate reaction, bad fruit is rotting in our souls. And just as dead wood is cast into a fire and consumed, Jesus reminds us that our souls can suffer the same fate by being cast into hell.
Now, as we reflect on the teachings of Jesus, know that you are responsible for the fate of your own soul. Remember, God gives us countless opportunities to turn from our worldly ways, which is the opposite of His image and likeness. We can begin to react to our situations the way He would, with patience and humility. But remember, those opportunities will come to an end one day. When that day comes, and Jesus requires your soul from you, if you haven't flourished from all of the chances He's given you, your souls eternal fate may very well be in question.
I know that in the heat of the moment it's very difficult to remember that God is offering you a chance to grow and improve. Somebody does something and we get ticked off immediately. Whether it's in the car, the office, grocery store, at home, or wherever, let's try to remember where this encounter came from. The good news is that there will be opportunities every single day to practice patience and humility. That's how much God loves you, He'll never stop giving you the opportunities needed to produce good fruit.
Peace, good and blessings.