As we go through the Gospel of Luke, we’re continuing in the Sermon on the Mount. Having talked about our walk with God and spiritual leadership, Jesus now gets to the heart of the matter.
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.”
In the natural, the concepts Jesus talks about here are so obvious that they could be considered funny.
“How do I know this is an apple tree?” “Because it’s full of apples!”
“I’m disappointed. I was checking in the weeds behind my house, but I couldn’t find any grapes.”
In the world, these things are self-evident. You know what kind of tree it is by the fruit growing on it. You only look for fruit on a fruit tree.
But, when it comes to spiritual matters, we get foolish. We forget that only good trees produce fruit. We seem to forget what the fruit is that we’re looking for.
There was a young teen in a Christian school, who over and over again made it clear that he didn’t want to follow Christ. One day he completed a writing assignment. It was a term paper about missionaries. It made his teachers cry. One of his teachers said through the tears,”See. I knew he was good. Look at this fruit.”
I’m sorry. I love that young man and hope he follows Christ. But, the art of paper writing is not spiritual fruit.
I’ve heard ungodly, atheistic performers, sing How Great Thou Art or Amazing Grace, and bring the crowd to tears. But, emotional singing is not spiritual fruit.
The Bible is clear on what we look for in a person’s life.
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.
These are the evidences of a life yielded to the Holy Spirit. This is what we look for in deciding if a life is producing fruit. Just because a plant has pretty flowers doesn’t make it any less poisonous.
The Lord continues with His explanation.
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
It all comes down to what you’re putting into your heart. Are you filling it with the Word of God? Or, do you pick up the attitudes and desires of the world? That makes all the difference.
There’s a term we learned in the early days of computing. GIGO – Garbage in, garbage out. It really applies here to our spiritual life.
The fact is that I can pretend to be “good” for the short term. I can act loving, or patient, or kind for a little while. However, producing the fruit of the spirit consistently, over the long term, requires a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
By the power of the spirit, our lives will naturally produce good fruit. I don’t have to force it any more than an orange tree has to force out the oranges. They grow simply because that’s the kind of tree it is.
Don’t waste your time trying to produce spiritual fruit by your own will power. It only comes by time spent with the Lord and His Word. Get that down into your heart. Then, watch as the fruitfulness of your life begins to increase.
Question: How much of the fruit of the spirit is evident in your life?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi