Sunday, April 5, 2015

Flash the color wheel of love

I love color. I have a bright red accent table in my office. The sofa in my living room is purple.  Depending on my mood, the polish on my fingernails can be anything from turquoise to orange. Each bridesmaid in my wedding wore a different color gown because I couldn’t narrow it down to just one color. There’s no need to ask me which Homer Laughlin Fiestaware colors I have in my kitchen cabinet. I have them all, and not just in my cabinets but all over my house. I have this need to use as many different colors as possible. Shamrock, peacock, sunflower, scarlet, poppy, it goes on and on.

Season after season, people who make, advertise, and sell things like nail polish, bridesmaid gowns, and dishes often get pretty creative in naming the colors. I guess they feel that naming it something other than red year after year gives the impression that there’s something new and exciting about the product. So, basic red becomes something like Fired Up or Cheery Cherry.

Colors are some of the first things we learn to identify even before we can formulate complete sentences.  While at some point in our lives we all have coveted the big Crayola 64-crayon box, it is still hard to outgrow that primary color knowledge. We couldn’t even come up with a better or more accurate color descriptor for a juicy Florida orange than, well, orange. 

Sporty, speedy cars are candy apple red. Tangerine, plum, persimmon, and lemongrass are official Fiestaware colors.  There’s a strawberry blonde bottled hair dye. There is a longstanding association between fruit and color and we are helpless to break it because there simply is not a better alternative. Fruit is color. Color is fruit. If you Google images for fruit the results will be page after page of bright colors. Purple grapes, green kiwis, yellow bananas. Even the blackberries aren’t black. They’re a rich violet color. It’s a very visually stimulating picture. 

When the apostle Paul said, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law,” he was telling the Galatians to look around. You should be able to recognize the people who follow Jesus and are filled with the Spirit. Their true colors will be evident. 

Jesus touched on something similar when he closed his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7). He said, “You will recognize them by their fruits.” Jesus wasn’t telling them to look for bushels of peachy peaches. He was telling them to look for vibrancy in their mission to serve Him. If we’re truly serving Jesus, there will be some visual evidence.  The evidence will be bright enough to be noticeable by others and deliciously intriguing enough for them to want to fill their baskets with it too.

In that sermon Jesus also talks about good fruit and bad fruit.  At our house, my husband likes firm, green bananas. I like them a little soft with just a few brown specs on the peel. When we buy a bunch, he starts eating them right away. I have to wait three or four days. Then practically overnight the last one or two in the bunch become totally brown and neither of us will eat them. We throw those out because nobody wants a banana that’s lost it’s color and flavor.

We use lemons and limes to dilute the taste of fish. We use cherries and grapes to mask the taste of medicine.  The taste of fruit is potent, especially when it’s fresh. Our enemy Satan also knows the power in the alluring color and impressively scrumptious taste of fruit. That’s why it was the very first thing he ever used to tempt a human being.

Satan was trying to use something that wasn’t his to give Eve something she didn’t need. He’s still trying do to that with you and me. However, God is the one that made that fruit and He’s the only one that can fill us with the fruit of His Spirit. Don’t be tempted. Flash that color wheel of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control at Satan. It will make others wonder if you had oatmeal for breakfast. More than likely, though, it was probably a fruit salad and they just might want you to share.

This was originally posted April 5, 2015 on The Press and Standard website: