Bear Good Fruit
And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:9
I have struggled with this idea of bearing fruit for quite a while, even years. My concept of bearing fruit was lives rescued and brought into the kingdom of God. As many things that I was trying to do to be fruitful, I wasn’t seeing the results of lives being saved. Not that it wasn’t happening. It may or may not have been, I just wasn’t seeing it. Many times, when I had opportunities to give to someone or encourage someone, I didn’t see if my acts of love had any impact on lives. It has always been a work of faith.
Recently I got the revelation that the fruit that is seen is more about attitude and grace. We know this first of all because we have a list of the Spirit’s fruit in Galatians. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. In the passage today, John the Baptist talked to his crowd about good fruit. When he was asked what people should do to bear good fruit, he give them some ideas. Such things as: giving to others, being honest in business and not cheating people. He also included avoiding intimidation or falsely accusing those around you. And . . . here’s the kicker! Be content with your wages. I would almost say you could equate that to: don’t be a complainer.
Now, I realize that bearing fruit is in your heart and what comes out in your words and actions shows if you have good fruit or bad. For example, kindness to others that doesn’t depend on them deserving it. You are kind to others simply because you are a child of God and bear His love fruit. Good fruit also shows up in your joy. Do you rejoice because you have been rescued from an eternity of separation from God or is the fruit of your heart sadness because your focus is on what you lack in this world. What about peace. Do you bear the fruit of peace knowing that the One who holds your life is faithful to keep working with you to the day of completion? Or is your heart fearful at the latest headlines and stresses of the current world crisis? The list could go on: impatient with other or longsuffering? Harsh and rude or gentle and good? Faith or anxiety? Pride or meekness? Irritable and touchy or temperate? These are the fruit that can identify what you are bearing, and these are the postures that expose what is in your heart.
Today I want to encourage you to do a heart check. Pay attention to the attitudes that you are sharing with others. Ask those around you what they see. Often times we have a different view than those on the outside do. Mostly, check in with your Father in heaven. Tell Him that you want to bear good fruit and ask Him to expose any fruit that may be rotting your core. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to get rid of the rotten and grow up the good. Start being intentional about what you are planting in the world around you by sharing your good fruit everywhere you go. Not because others are so deserving, only because you are displaying the good fruit of the love of God that is in you and you are different than the world.
Today’s scripture reading: Luke 3:7-14
7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”
12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”