Good Tree, Bad Tree

“Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (Matt. 15:20)

An orange grove in blossom is a delight for the senses. The delicate white flowers against the deep green leaves are beautiful to see, and the blossoms fill the air with their uniquely intoxicating aroma. But the blossoms are just the first act. The grand finale is the harvest of oranges.

If a person doesn’t know too much about trees, they could mix up an orange tree in blossom with a cherry tree in blossom. But when the fruit is on the tree, it reveals the type of tree with certainty.

An orange tree can’t produce cherries. And a cherry tree can’t produce oranges. Jesus tells us that, just as a tree is identified by its fruit, so a person is identified by the fruit produced in their life. Matthew 3:8 says, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” Another translation says to bear fruit worthy of a person who has repented.

It begs the question: What fruit are we producing? Is our focus more on our job than on Jesus? Are we more concerned about our neighbors’ annoying habits than about loving our neighbors? Are we more interested in our own comfort than in serving others?

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” It’s a wise saying. Our actions reveal our character. We can talk a good talk, but if our actions don’t back up our words, we’re not producing fruit.

Stop for a moment and think about your own actions. Do your actions prove your commitment to Jesus? What is one step you can take today to increase the fruit you are producing in your life?

Father in heaven, thank you for your love for me. Thank you for making a way for me to be saved, and for the opportunity to live a fruitful life. Open my eyes to the opportunities I’m missing. Help me take steps to be fruitful, and to take actions that back up my words. In Jesus’s name, Amen

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