Don’t Let Spiritual Growth Slip: Lessons from the Banana Peel

Read Your Peel

The other day, I had a banana and threw the peel in the garbage. I went to put something else in the garbage and noticed that, in just minutes, the banana peel was completely brown, never to be yellow again.

The lifespan of a ripe banana is roughly five to six days. Each day they get progressively sweeter. You can tell the level of sweetness by the number of dots on them.

bananasA fully green banana means it’s not yet ripe; the banana is tough and tastes like cardboard. A banana with no spots but a greenish stem is sweet – the ones that restaurants use for your pancakes and banana splits. A light sprinkling of spots on a banana is a tad sweeter. When the spots get bigger, the banana is very sweet and less firm. When covered in spots or on the verge of turning black, its only use is for banana bread or foods that require a natural banana flavor. When they turn black, they are squishy and rotten.

It bothers me to waste food, so I buy bananas according to my past experience with them because I know their lifespan, my eating habits, and when their season is up.

Ripe or Rotten?

In our lives, we too have to know when certain seasons are up. How will we know? It’s actually similar to the banana.

The skin we’re in often becomes the skin that no longer feels right or looks right to us. It happens as we grow older, and is even more intense when we accept Jesus and choose to follow Him.  The places we used to go are too loud, too silly, unfulfilling. We can see the spots of sin on it and how quickly they can multiply and rot our spiritual growth.

The relationships we’ve invested in don’t have the proper taste anymore. In a friendship, they may say something crazy or treat us poorly, leaving a bad taste in our mouths.

In a romantic relationship, we think we’ve put in so many years that it would be a waste if we said goodbye, although we know it’s not going much further.  If it does, it won’t change much more from the stagnant way it is now.

Even for ourselves, we find that our tastes change as we mature and certain behaviors make us scratch our heads. “Why did I enjoy drinking until my liver shed tears, again? Why did I wear head-to-toe polka dots, againWhy was I so hell-bent on kale?”

But, when the season is up, there is no going back. Like the brown banana peel that will never return to its original state, neither can our desires and some of our relationships – not since we’ve shed our old skin to follow Jesus.

Why would we even want to?

What Time is it?

trashEcclesiastes 3:1-3, says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build.”

Do you know what stops us from knowing the proper time for each “banana” season?

Not paying attention to the signs and ignoring the condition of the fruit that is produced.

Like plants, people (and relationships) are watered by God. We are the seed of Abraham, the Promise. God’s earthly plants. Each plant has a purpose. If it’s in God “that we live, move, and have our being,” why would we not accept that the Beginning and the End knows when to water a thing and when a dry season must take place?

Relationships are born daily, from various encounters, through introductions or proximity. When they die, the purpose for it is complete. When we plant seeds, we watch for the new sprouts, the leaves, the stems, and the fruit. And, if they don’t develop properly, it could be the soil and climate are not right for its growth – so we have to dig it up.

There are times to kill a relationship and a time to seek reconciliation. A time to tear it down to figure out where the breakdown occurred, and a time to build up from it.

In all of this, the keyword is time. Time shows us when the banana, relationship, the behavior has run its course by the signs of vibrant life, health, or death.

So, what’s the play call?

Don’t slow down or hinder your spiritual growth with rotten things, relationships, or mindsets.

Just as we wouldn’t take a used banana out of the trash, likewise we wouldn’t put our old, rotten skin on again. Trash the old skin, lest we slip and end up back where we started (Hebrews 2:1-4).

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