Apples … or apple pie? Which would you prefer? If you’re like most people, the answer probably depends on time … and effort. How much time are you willing to take? How much effort? If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to be bothered, the obvious choice would be to just grab an apple and go.
However, if you are really craving apple pie you may be willing to wait … and make the effort … either to go ahead and make the apple pie on your own … or at least make the effort to go to the store to buy a premade apple pie. In that scenario, if someone were to offer you an apple as you were in the process of obtaining the pie you craved, it wouldn’t be very hard to turn them down now would it? You would know, in your heart of hearts, that a mere apple would not satisfy the craving and the taste you were after … so why settle for a substitute? If it’s something we really want … something we really crave and desire … we would most likely be willing to take whatever amount of time it took … and make whatever amount of effort we needed to make … to get our true desire fulfilled.
Just as with the choice between apples and apple pie, I believe a lot of people (perhaps unknowingly) choose the apple … when God’s desire is for them to enjoy apple pie. God’s plan for our lives is oftentimes not as simple as the “grab it and go apple.” John 10:10 says that Jesus wants to give us life … and life more abundantly. In other words, He doesn’t just want to sustain us so that we are alive and don’t die (ie the apple). He wants us to thrive … He wants us to enjoy our lives … He wants to give us more than we could ever imagine … He, in fact, wants better for us than we want for ourselves.
As our Creator, God knows exactly what is best for us, personally. He knows exactly how much time and effort it will take on our part to come into alignment with His will for our lives. He knows exactly where we are at … right now … and how much faith we will need to exercise to get to wherever He wants us to go … growing in His grace and getting to know Him more every day so that we learn to trust Him in all things … even when they may not make sense to us.
Think about apple pie again for a moment. It has lots of ingredients … flour, shortening, and milk for the pie crust … flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter for a crumb topping … apples and brown sugar for the filling … lots of elements to give it that unmistakable sweetness of apple pie. It is the same with our lives. There are a lot of elements (ingredients, if you will) that make our lives give off a sweet smelling aroma to the world around us (and to God). Ingredients like love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (as seen in Galatians 5). Those ingredients get mixed into our lives as we live in relationship with God and as we yield to His Holy Spirit leading and guiding us in the choices we make every day.
The closer our relationship with God, the greater our potential to give off the aroma of Christ … the sweet smell the world needs … whether they realize it or not. Having that relationship is what transforms our desires … to live a life not just for ourselves … to sustain ourselves so that we don’t die (ie, the apple), but gives us the desire to honor and glorify God through our lives … so that whatever we do we choose to do in a way that draws other people to God … since they have smelled that aroma (ie, the apple pie) and they find (perhaps surprisingly) that they actually like the smell … so much so that they want to have that personal relationship with God themselves.
People who once settled for just a “grab and go apple” will come to desire apple pie … they will come to desire a life full of elements and ingredients that make their lives not only sweet smelling … but also completely satisfying … a life that satisfies their soul like nothing else ever could.