Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Extractor

I received a juice extractor for Christmas. It's a lot of work for a little bit of juice. My grocery bill has definitely gone up, as has my time in the kitchen. I'm enjoying experimenting and discovering just what makes good juice and what doesn't. But I'm not thrilled with the cleanup. First, there is a lot of "pulp," which is the unused portion of the vegetable or fruit. Second, there are a lot of parts to clean, the most difficult being the cutter, the part which contains the very sharp blades and a fine screen--not easy to clean.

The juice, however, is surprisingly good, and very healthy. I realize that the health benefits far outweigh the work involved, even though I do have to use a lot of vegetables for a little juice.

By definition, extraction is the process of removing something, often by force or effort. I got to thinking about extraction, which is what this machine does. It grinds the food at a very high speed, with very sharp blades, and extracts the juice. It removes the juice by force-centrifugal force, to be precise. I suppose I could use the pulp for something, but I haven't figured that out yet. Right now, it's a lot of good stuff gone bad.


The extraction process, as best as I can explain, goes like this: Wash and peel food, cut into small pieces, place in tube, use food pusher to press the food into the cutter, and watch the juice come out. What I don't see happening is the rest of the food being processed into pulp.

We also go through an extraction process as Christians. There is a lot of seemingly good stuff in us; at least, that's what we think when we first come to Christ. But over time, He refines us, and we find that a lot of that good stuff is not so good. Or it's good stuff for the wrong reasons. 

God's Extractor works in a similar fashion: First, He washes us in His blood. That's when we first come to Him, confessing our sins and our need for a savior. We can stay there for awhile, enjoying our new faith, our clean soul. But eventually, we know we need more. We want more. We want to be like Him. We need to be crushed as He was crushed. He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Is 53:5). 

Nobody said it would be easy. Or fun. Or clean. Sometimes it's very messy and requires a lot of cleanup. But the benefit far outweighs the amount of work involved. 

When we willingly jump into that food tube to be crushed down into the cutter, we are taking a leap of faith, knowing that what will be extracted is pure. The "pulp" which is also extracted, is not necessarily bad, but perhaps unusable. Some pulp can be used, or saved for another time. But the juice, the pure refined juice is the fruit of the Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Gal 5:22-24). In other words, they've been juiced. 

Each time I use my juice extractor, it gets easier. It's not as overwhelming as it was the first time. In the same way, each time we allow ourselves to go through the extraction process, it is easier, less time-consuming, less scary, less stressful. We know the end result will be good, really good. 

Just think...if we walk in only the first fruit of the spirit---love---everything else sort of has to fall into place, don't you think? Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, isn't prideful, rude, self-seeking or easily angered, doesn't keep a record of wrongs, protects, hopes, trusts and perseveres and above all, never fails (I Cor 4-8, paraphrased). Just look at that statement and see how many gifts of the spirit are encompassed in love. Without love, we are nothing. Just a bunch of unusable pulp. A lot of good gone bad.

Are you in need of extraction? Go get juiced!

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

Song of the Day (I think I've used this song before, but it's an "oldie but goodie")
Refiner's Fire (Brian Doerksen)

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