The southern desert doesn’t experience the changing of the leaves. The only colors enjoyed are store bought used for decorating.
Autumn for us is coming when the outdoor temperature begins to fall from 110 degrees. Hope soars when we arrive in the 90 degree range after a long hot summer. But when we hit the 80’s…..FALL IS HERE!
A few years ago I was given the assignment to decorate the front of the church for fall. With various orange pumpkins, yellow gourds, red apples, silk leaves, hay bales, wooden wheelbarrow, crates and a tin watering can, I set out to make an extravagant arrangement in front of the pulpit.
Satisfied with the results, I sat that first Sunday morning in October drawn to the largest pumpkin sitting on the platform. While the pastor preached my eye kept going back to one pumpkin. Three feet in diameter, beautifully formed with bold coloring, it definitely stood out among the others.
Everything remained beautiful until a November wedding ……
The bride not too fond of a harvest theme for her wedding politely asked to have it removed for the day and we certainly obliged. Taking pictures of the arrangement so we could place it back to its original setting, we began the task of placing all the items in a back room.
Bending to move the large pumpkin that I had favored for weeks, my heart plummeted……Still appearing stout and regal on the outside, the innards had deteriorated. The entire pumpkin had been rotting from the inside out……and now crumbled.
The situation reminded me of myself at times.
Have you ever given the impression that everything was right in your world yet you were crumbling on the inside?
Often, while my outer image remained intact (for a time), corrosion was taking place inwardly. Erosion is defined as breaking down, wearing away, eating away; a slow process inflicting major damage.
Inwardly I believed lies:
·         I had to perform and project a certain image.
·         I had to be someone I was not.
·         I had to be rich.
·         I had to be skinny.
·         I had to be popular.
I read once that if you believe a lie long enough it becomes truth to you. Therefore when I didn’t perform or live up to an image, when I wasn’t skinny enough… or popular… or rich…, I was a failure and all of those lies I had believed had become true in my mind.
Yet the Bible says something completely different.
Psalm 139:14 says, “I am wonderfully made”…. (Even with a few extra pounds.)
Galatians 4:6 says, Pay careful attention to your own work, then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”  (I don’t have to be someone I am not, nor perform, nor project a certain image. I need to be who God made ME to be.)
Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Integrity is better than money.)
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Like referees in a football game, the flags were being thrown in all directions.  
Again, I’d been conforming to the pattern of this world and allowing it to dictate my actions and thought process. This, made evident by the fact that I appeared fine on the outside but inside I was collapsing – just like that pumpkin….
Caving into the enemy’s accusations that I was not worthy of God; I was not equipped to do what I felt God had called me to do; besides I was a poor example of what a Christian truly is.
Have you ever felt that way?
The truth is everyone has a purpose. God is talking to us if we just listen. He has equipped us (2 Pet 3:16-17), called us (2 Pet 1:3) and loves us (Jer. 31:3).
Nevertheless, if we continue to listen to the enemy’s lies we will crumble from the inside out….and that is his ultimate goal….to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10)
Rick Renner of Sparkling Gems said it beautifully, “The enemy will do his best to hinder what God puts in your heart because he doesn’t want God’s will to be accomplished through your life.
Today, I am choosing to stand firm in God’s truth.  Starting on the inside….so that God’s light will shine through……..