Here’s something you may or may not know: “All bell peppers start out green and change color as they mature. If it’s not picked, a green pepper may become yellow, orange, or red, depending on its varietal. The longer the fruit stays on the vine, the sweeter it becomes and the more nutritional value it gains.” (delishably.com)
I’m not actually a fan of green peppers, so when I went to the store, I found yellow peppers and planted them in my garden. After a whole growing season, I thought someone accidentally mislabeled my ‘yellow’ pepper plants. I waited for yellow peppers and threw away a lot of green peppers because I thought they were mislabeled, but they just needed more time to mature before they turned yellow. How many of us have been thrown out by people because we haven’t grown into our “label” yet? By that I mean, we’re Christians, but we need to be on the vine a bit longer before anyone can see the yellow, orange, or red of our Christianity in a particular area of our lives?
The key is remaining long enough to change color.
There is a beautiful lesson in the green pepper. The longer the fruit stays on the vine, the sweeter it becomes and the more nutritional value it gains. This perfectly illustrates our own maturity in Christ. Jesus says this in the Book of John, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser…I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:1-8)
Abiding in Christ is how we go from green to yellow, orange or red. In other words, it’s the only way we can mature in Christ, and abiding is twofold:
- We must remain on the vine.
- We must allow His words to abide in us.
Stay clean, be fruitful.
When we do these two things, Jesus says God our Father is glorified. In John 15:3-4, Jesus reminds us, “you are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” His Word makes us clean, and His vine makes us fruitful. We are MEANT to “change colors” (aka – be transformed) spiritually as we mature in Christ! We were CREATED to bear fruit (we haven’t even talked about all those seeds inside each pepper yet!). So, the big question we must ask is – are you abiding in Christ? That’s not the same question as “do you believe in Christ?” Belief doesn’t cause us to grow. Abiding does. So, again, are you clinging to the vine? Are you abiding in Christ? Are you starting to change color?