Monday, March 10, 2014

Share Your Good Fruit

Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. -Matthew 7:19-20 (HCSB)
Harsh sounding passages of scripture might often cause us to pass them by for passages more soothing to our spirit-hungry ears. Frequently however, we can meditate on a hard scripture until Holy Light shows it only to be a shadow side to those good passages we suck up so readily.  It could be likened to feasting only on cookies, when a kale/spinach salad would be better for us.  Such was my experience with these verses, actually beginning at verse 7:17 with this talk of bad trees and good trees.

I can't really find a way to interpret this passage as anything but a pretty condemnatory, guilt or worry-raising passage written from a superior one (good tree) talking down to the riff-raff (bad trees.)  It is also difficult to make it anything but an analogy about people.  Are you a good tree or a bad tree?  Matthew says, "You'll know by the fruit you bear."  What fruit are you bearing?

Galatians 5:22 lists nine fruit of the Spirit that we might ought to be displaying: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.  The way Paul puts it in Galatians, those nine character traits are not separate but just one kind of fruit.  Meaning, we don't pick and choose which of them we want or do have, but they all occupy a place within our Christian character.  If this fruit is visible, says Matthew, we are good stock and won't face the fiery furnace.

Two realizations arise from this knowledge.  FIrst, how is your Christian character with those nine attributes?  I'd offer the suggestion that you write each one down and weigh carefully how much you feel that attribute in your heart.  If you don't feel it, where is it in there?  Because, my second realization is that these nine attributes are given to you when you check yourself into Hotel Christian.  You took on your new life with Christ and part of the grace-filled room service you got handed on the silver platter was this fruit.  So, if you are right with Christ those nine elements are in you somewhere.  Why would you not be aware of them?  The world, and all the people around you, need more of that fruit being harvested.  If you look and look inside yourself and just can't locate any of this fruit, then perhaps your heart isn't as right with Jesus' heart as you might like to claim, and THAT should get your undivided attention ASAP.

Help us Dear God to share all our good fruit with you and our neighbor.  Through Christ we pray.  Amen.


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