Fragrance of God
Journaling is a key way to hear Pappa speak to your heart. A few mornings, not too long ago, in my class Prayers That Heal the Heart I asked, “Lord, what is in my heart?” The sweetest voice, tender yet corrective in nature, responded. I heard bitterness, impatience, criticism, and even gluttony. To be honest, I had a difficult time believing all of that was within my heart and soul. I didn’t even know how all of these issues could be buried so deep, yet daily I saw the fruit of each one. When I researched a little more and allow Holy Spirit to direct me, I discovered that maybe, just maybe, they were all linked somehow. Impatience producing its fruit. Bitterness tied with impatience produced its own fruit. Because the language of the heart is pictures, God was gracious enough to let me see this web of issues in flowing pictures. Go with me, if you will, to the garden of my heart.
A magnificent tree surrounded in darkness covered in bare branches with dead leaves on the ground around it gives off such a pungent smell filling the air. Death is in the air, and hopelessness is felt in one’s bones. This tree of bitterness so magnificently grounded with its roots of unforgiveness withstands unscathed by all that love brings its way. Stretching from the trunk are massive limbs just as strong and unique: hatred, impatience, resentment, temper, frustration, agitation, criticism, and intolerance. The leaves and fruit from this tree give off the fragrance and taste of unkind words, sharp words, sourness, rudeness, spite, sarcasm, discord with intentions to wound.
In an instant, I see how this bitter flow spews out of me what seems to be on a daily basis when I talk to my kids and to my husband. I see this fruit when I respond to someone pulling out in front of me while driving or dealing with strangers and friends. How do I call myself a friend of God and yet have such bitter fruit operating in my life? As I make excuses for my behavior and reactions to others and circumstances in life, God’s pure love and the gentle Holy Spirit is quieted within me. I stop His gentle flow.
I’m broken, and quickly convicted. As I begin to confess and repent desiring a true heart change, I notice the tree being uprooted. I watch God restore my heart, my soul. I observe the ugly, knotted roots being removed and God planting in their place a new purity and innocence with roots of hope, joy, peace, and love. Love, being the biggest and strongest of all roots breaks forth into the trunk of the tree strong and sure. Stretching from this strong vine are branches. Effortlessly, fruit hung from the branches: love, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, faithfulness, self-control, encouragement, and a sense of calm. In like manner, lovely green leaves drip with an anointing oil. The verse in Rev 22:2 lights upon my heart. “On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing 12 crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for healing of the nations.” That verse takes on a whole knew meaning as I also recall the verse 2 Cor 2:15, “Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.” The fragrance from the tree and the aroma from the oil dripping from the leaves attract living creatures animals and humans alike. As they eat of the tree and touch the oil from the leaves healing, health, and wellness springs forth in their spirit, soul, and body. Life springs forth where death once gripped.
This picture sums up what God through the work of the Holy Spirit cultivated and sprouted in my heart during this class time. Cultivation can be painful, but the life that springs forth is worth the growing pains. Fruit grows. Which fruit depends on your focus and the condition of your heart. Their is a fragrance about you? What aroma do others perceive? What is the condition of your heart today? Are there roots that need to be uprooted by God’s gentle hand? Are there hurts that need to be healed and brokenness that needs to be mended? Reach out today, and learn how to hear God’s voice.
If you would like to be able to Ask Jesus questions like we do in many of our blogs and have Him answer back to you personally, we can show you how. Please see our foundational teaching on 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. If you already know how to have these conversations, join the discussion and share what Jesus is saying to you!