How’s your fruit?
Today we begin day 1 of Margaret Feinberg’s 40-Day Bible Reading Challenge in preparation for Easter. As I read today’s chapters, Matthew 1-7, I was once again struck by Matthew 7:15-20:
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Have you ever thought about how genius God is to establish such a powerful life principle based on the fruit of something or someone? It’s a full-proof formula. Personally, examining the fruit of one’s life is the greatest indicator I use when making a decision involving that person. As this portion of scripture says, individuals can disguise themselves in sheep’s clothing when all the while they are ferocious wolves. There was a time in my life when wolves could fool me for a moment with their manipulated words and apparent enthusiasm. Not so much anymore. I no longer jump in with both feet: I first pause, examine their lives (words and actions), and look beyond the surface to see if they’re producing good or bad fruit.
But that’s not all …
Likewise, I’m quick to examine the fruit of my own life to see if I’m living a “good tree” life. I don’t want to say one thing but do another. I don’t want to cloth myself in the makings of a good tree while the inside is ugly and producing bad fruit. If I say I love God, my actions should be living fruit of that profession. If I say that my marriage is a priority, my fruit should be evidence of this statement. It’s crucial that I tend to my life just as I would to a healthy tree that needs feeding, nurturing, and pruning. That requires attention and investment of one’s self, which it’s not always easy or fun.
Ultimately, fruit doesn’t lie. Want to know if you’re living a God-honoring life? Check your fruit. Want to know if an individual would be a great volunteer leader or hire at your church? Wait, watch, and check their fruit. Feel suspicious about the person who is overly eager to befriend you? Examine their fruit. Fruit, fruit, fruit … fruit doesn’t lie! We should all give big thanks to God today for providing such an amazing principle for us to use on this journey of life!
Do you practice Matthew 7:15-20 in your life and/or ministry? How has God used this principle of “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” to help or save you in life’s scenarios?
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