By their fruit you will recognize them

Matthew 7:15-23 – A Tree and Its Fruit

 “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.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prosphesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “

WHAT KIND OF FRUIT ARE YOU PRODUCING?

I’m sitting here at my kitchen table, a delicious chicken caesar pita filling my tummy, dogs at my feet, with Casting Crowns in the speakers, “Lord this time, I’ll make it right, here at the altar I lay my life. Your kingdom come but my will was done…. This time, Jesus, how can I be sure, I will not lose my follow through between the altar and the door?”

There is a reason the saying, “actions speak louder than words” is such a popular phrase. It’s because it’s easy to say something, to give advice to another, to recommend an option or path, but it’s much harder to follow through with those very things you say. It’s not easy, and it wasn’t meant to be. It’s supposed to be hard and we are warned as Christians that it WILL be hard. I think it’s common to lose our follow through between the altar and the door, and I have been convicted of doing this myself. What good are my words, if my actions don’t follow? What good am I as a disciple of Christ, spreading the gospel, if I don’t follow through? Will anyone believe me? Can they? Can others take me seriously if I proclaim to abandon my life to God’s will, but continue to do things my way? What message am I giving to my brothers and sisters in Christ about what it means to be one?

We cannot say with our mouth we love Jesus, while in between words putting harmful things into that same mouth. Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. It does not belong to us, but was bought at a price, a very high price, by our Savior. We cannot acknowledge this and still immerse our bodies and minds in drunkenness. Yes, even Jesus drank wine, and the Bible does not say drinking in itself is a sin, but drunkenness is. Getting hammered every night, to the sloppy point of sending drunken text messages and barely remembering what happened in the morning, is not respectful of our temple. Cigarettes, drugs…

….lies, judgmental words, lofty glances, gossip, hatred, hypocrisy, teasing, etc. Yes, when He let Himself be nailed to a blood soaked cross heavy laden with our sin, he bridged the gap between humanity and Himself, he provided us a way out, a way to be forgiven. If we ask forgiveness, it is done. As he said, “It is finished,” then he hung his head and died. But for one, if we use that as a get-out-of-hell-free card, and then continue to live life our way, do our own will, isn’t it moot? Do we become the “evildoers” Jesus speaks of in Matthew 7:23, as He sends them away? And for two, is that really how we thank our Creator/Redeemer/Healer/Savior/Father?

I hope not.

Yes, we are all human. We fall. A lot. And our Father catches us, as fathers do. But just because we are human and have the tendency to fall, doesn’t mean it’s okay to decide to stay on the ground. He loves us just as we are, yes, but He loves us too much to let us stay that way. And we shouldn’t want to! If we love Him as we say we do, then let us daily strive to better ourselves, to grow towards Him, to let His light fill us from the inside out. If we truly love Him, let us offer our hands and feet, our hearts, our wills and lives.

Is it worth it, to gain the whole world, and lose your soul?

Do others look at you and recognize you as a disciple of Christ because of your fruit?

What fruit are you producing today?

 

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