Every season in life and nature has its beauty, but also its trouble. Some seasons, more difficult than others, may even require getting away from it all to fast, seek God, and pray in a quiet place. For this purpose, I went to my great grandfather’s historic home and holiness campground. I was traveling light as for company and supplies, but my heart was heavy. As I traveled, trusting God for the direction I needed through this troubling time, the dark clouds of worry began to clear as hope rose in my heart. Soon, I was even able to see the beautiful sky above me streaked with crisscrossing vapor paths like those shown in the painting. They reminded me that life is but a vapor (see James 4:14 NASB), and our choices at the crossroads determine our future. It seemed as if God was writing a visual message in the sky. Pondering this over the weekend, I studied the related scriptures and knew what I needed to do. Standing at the crossroad, I chose the fruitful path of the Spirit and was inspired to paint “Firstfruits” as a reminder of this life-giving decision for every crossroad in the future.
Life is filled with countless crossroads where our choices have far-reaching consequences. Without being able to see what lies ahead, how do we choose which path will bring the best future? What do we base our decisions on? We are all on a journey where we have the opportunity to choose either: life according to our carnal nature with its lust of the flesh, or life that produces the eternal fruit of the Spirit of God. If we choose the former, it brings death. If we choose the latter, we live our lives as a type of first fruit harvest offering to the Lord; and His Spirit enables us to produce that which is not only pleasing to Him—but filled with eternal benefits for us and the world around us, both now and in the unforeseeable future. When we choose His pleasure, we make the best choices. In stark contrast, we are shown in Galatians exactly what the destructive “works of the flesh” are and the death they bring.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:19-23 NKJV).
Why would we ever choose the carnal works of the flesh over the fruit of the Spirit knowing its deathly end? Especially when we have the wonderful signpost of Jeremiah, the prophet, pointing the way and instructing us.
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16 NIV).