Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Good fruit, bad fruit

When I was a child growing up in Jamaica, we had four varieties of citrus trees in our yard. If I took you in my backyard and showed you these trees you would never be able to tell from outward appearances which was lemon, lime, orange, or grape fruit. Their leaves were so similar, the trees were almost identical. Only when the fruit was in full season could you tell which was which.  

Jesus had a lot to say about fruit. Fruit is everything. Not words, not outward forms, not religious services, not religious feelings, but fruit. Fruit tells the whole story. 

In the case of the of Pharisees, Jesus looked for the fruit of sincerity; instead he saw the bad fruit of hypocrisy. They talked a good talk; dressed in holy vestments, but from the root to the top of the tree they were evil. They even committed the sin of blasphemy when they called Jesus and his work satanic (Matthew 12: 22-32).

What kind of fruit is God looking for in our lives?

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37 ESV); see also Matthew 7: 7:17-20)

If a tree is known by its fruit, what are we known for? Here's a list of good fruit by which to examine the state of our lives.

Want to do something edgy? Take this list to a trusted friend and ask them, which of these fruits are missing, or which is present in your life? Both lists are from Galatians 5: 19-24!

Good Fruit                               Bad Fruit
Love                                         Sexual immorality  
Joy                                           Impurity
Peace                                       Sensuality
Patience                                    Idolatry

Kindness                                   Sorcery
Goodness                                  Enmity
Meekness                                  Strife
Self-control                               Jealousy
Faithfulness                              Fits of anger