The lemons pictured above are perfect. Bright yellow, firm skin, perfect shape. I would reach for them if I were in the grocery store looking for lemons. Would I be satisfied with them?

A few years ago, someone gave me lemons from the tree in their yard. They didn’t look like the ones pictured above. They were more round than oval, the skin wasn’t bright yellow. Rather it was kind of a dirty brownish color similar to a banana that is getting ripe. Would I be satisfied with these?

It all depends on what I am hoping for in a lemon. The ones pictured above make a beautiful display on the table. Bright yellow, perfect shape — yes! They provide a burst of color and eye appeal. Too often, though, these seemingly perfect lemons provide very little in the way of juice when squeezed into my glass.

The other ones grown in someone’s backyard, however, provided the best juice I could imagine. Not only was it abundant, it was delicious to taste. The outside appearance of the lemons was nothing to get excited about and might not even win a place at the tablescape. But what they offered in the way of useable product was amazing.

In Paul’s letter to Philippi, he was concerned they knew what was really important. It’s easy to get sidetracked with appearances but is that what really matters?

9I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Philippians 1:9-11

What is it that really matters? Living a pure and blameless life that reflects Jesus.

Why does this matter? Because this brings praise and glory to God.

How will this be achieved? It is the work of God in me. And he will not stop until it is finished!

6And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:6

It is his work, not ours. He is far more interested in seeing us grow and develop into the image of Christ than we can possibly know. No matter what your day looks like or the circumstances you encounter, it is all working together to form you into the likeness of Jesus.

Remember, we need one another! Stand fast. Stay dependent on Jesus. It’s what inside that really matters.

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