My sweet friend Lucy is Thai. She hates vegetables. (It’s a long story.) But she loves this one type of fruit: the durian.Durian stinks. It smells up the whole house. To most, it is repulsive.To Lucy, it is heavenly. Some say vanilla custard; some say onions and stinky shoes. It’s a phenomenon.
Reminds me of how I used to hate hearing the name of Jesus. I didn’t even like to say it. Now, just the mention of His Name calms my nerves and relaxes my shoulders. I call out His Name when I am afraid. I whisper His Name when I need comforted. I sing His Name when I am happy. I genuinely know no name more precious than Jesus.
As believers, the Lord told us to not be surprised when we face persecution. And still, the smallest form of it catches us off-guard. We desire the fruits of the Spirit. And yet, sometimes we get all self-conscious about them.
Sometimes our fruits of peace and joy in a difficult situation annoys the heck out of the anxious co-worker. Sometimes people make fun of our extravagant worship of the Lord, even brothers in Christ. Sometimes the way we live frugally to give generously aggravates those who spend money differently.
Truly, we are no longer of this world. We operate differently, and people notice. We are Kingdom citizens now. It’s not something we force. It’s simply fruit that we bear. It’s simply that the Light of Christ is in us! We can’t help but shine His Light.
When we walk in the Spirit, we can’t help but enjoy the fruits He produces in us: peace, patience, kindness, mercy, goodness, self-control… All things very foreign to us before we decided to follow Christ as our Lord.
Like that smell of durian, the name of Jesus used to irritate me. But now, He is in me! And I love Him! I love to be with Him and enjoy Him. And now I’m starting to smell like Him to those around me. Therefore, I have to come to terms that now I might irritate others the way Christ used to irritate me. By doing crazy things like forgiving. By demonstrating things like I care about you. By showing compassion.
If you worry about what others think of you, you are unlikely to obey what the Holy Spirit asks of you. Either you fear God or you fear man. There’s freedom and reward in fearing God. And just look at your track record… you already know there’s a lot of worry, second-guessing, and disappointments in fearing man.
So, you’re a stinky fruit. So what if nobody else likes you. Lucy loves you. And so does your Savior.
“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.
To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.
But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.”
2 Corinthians 2:14-17
A parable! Jesus shows us who He is through His creation! And through Wikipedia! Same words that describe Christ, right here on the Durian page in Wikipedia:
Durian: Regarded by many as the ‘King of Fruits’… The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage. … Others like British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as ‘a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds’.