There is a highway in St. Louis where you can drive down a particular stretch of the road, and you will notice a beautiful row of pear trees. In the Spring when they are blooming, people say it is an impressive sight to see.
What some passersby may not realize is that behind the row of pear trees is a prison. Just on the other side of the trees reside razor wire and imprisonment. The pear trees hide what is actually there.
This is a picture of humanity, isn't it? So many people, when you look at them, appear to have it all together. They look like things are just fine -- even beautiful. But, apart from a relationship with Christ, they are living in a spiritual prison as the wrath of God abides upon them.
This example teaches us a fundamental lesson: Things are rarely as they appear.
How tempting it is to conclude that someone else's life and family is perfect (or at least nearly perfect). Trust me, it is not. They have their own row of pear trees blocking areas of struggle and disappointment that you cannot see.
The Bible teaches that all have sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Further, Scripture states that as sinners, people have earned spiritual death (Romans 6:23). In other words, for those who have not experienced salvation by grace through faith in Jesus, they are in spiritual prison awaiting their ultimate sentence of judgment. This reality is why Christians must be praying for people to be saved as well as looking for every opportunity to share the good news of the gospel (Colossians 4:3).
So many times we tend to look at the lives of others and envy and jealousy arise. We see their pear trees -- we miss the razor wire.
How often do we look at the lives of unbelievers and grow frustrated with how "perfect" their lives are? Remember the reality...those apart from Christ are incarcerated in their sin. They are dead in their trespasses (Ephesians 2:1).
So as you navigate your way through the road of life, do not allow yourself to become preoccupied with comparing your life to others. Odds are you will be examining your razor wire to their pear trees. Be grateful for what the Lord has given you. Grieve for those without Christ. Make the most of your time by doing all you can to proclaim the freedom of the gospel to those bound up in a spiritual prison.
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