Lemons. Wonderfully bright to look at, but extremely sour in taste. In their natural form its a real challenge to eat them alone, but when the squeezed out juices or the grated rind gets added to other foods or drinks, it adds a certain zing, increasing the flavor, and altering it a bit too.

Can you imagine eating seafood without squeezing fresh lemons on it?
How about drinking lemonade without the lemons?
Can you serve a lemon meringue pie without the lemon?
No, none of these would be nearly as flavorful if the best parts of the lemon were left out.

Lemons have many health benefits too. The acidic nature of this small fruit combined with the vitamin C and it’s fibers have been shown to help with digestion, your heart, weight control, lower cholesterol, potentially the prevention of kidney stones, anemia and some cancers.

But none of these things can come to fruition (hehe) if we do not pick up that fruit, cut into it, squeeze out the juices, and apply it in whatever capacity we choose. It is of no value to us if it just sits on the counter other than a pretty item that’s yellow. The longer it sits there unused, the older it becomes, the drier it is, the less useful it is.

When situations occur that we’d rather not deal with or accept, that might even put a sour taste in our mouth, we have a choice: to recognize that this could be a gift at the time – an opportunity to take hold of something that the Lord wants us to be a part of, and learn from, then applying it to our life, or to let the opportunity pass us by, let it sit on the counter and not become a challenge that we can use for our growth in life.

Any challenge that we face, no matter how difficult it is to swallow by itself, when mixed with the purposeful honey of our Lord, will always become flavorful and fruitful.

You could also look at it like this: You are that lemon. You’ve been given so much including talents or a gift – but if you don’t allow yourself to get squeezed a bit, you won’t be used to your full potential, and you won’t make much of an impact on the lives of those around you. You may look good and add a bit of color to the room, but you’re not adding anything that could enhance the flavor of their lives. Be willing to go through some pressure and being strained a bit, possibly even some difficult or painful situations, for the Lord.

The best example would be the life of Jesus. Before his public ministry, he was living the good life of a carpenter. Luke phrases it this way:
“And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”
Luke 2:29-30, 52

Now Jesus could have remained in this comfortable place in his life. But if he had, he would not have fulfilled his purpose, and we wouldn’t have a Redeemer, One who sacrificed his life in lieu of ours to give us the opportunity to know the Father and be made righteous.

He said,
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:38-40

Food for thought: Has “life” given you some lemons and have you made lemonade yet, or are you trying to get rid of them? Perhaps they are a part of your life for a reason…

Fun facts: The true lemon tree reaches 10 to 20 ft in height and usually has sharp thorns on the twigs. They can produce up to 600 lbs. of lemons a year! Did you know that lemons are technically berries?
An average lemon contains 8 seeds.
Sprinkling lemon juice on other fruits can prevent them from turning brown. (ooh, another nugget of comparison!)

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Lemons add flavor