Posted on: 10th February 2020
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”
How can we produce good fruit?
How much fruit do you eat? The 5-a-day campaign came from the advice given by the World Health Organisation, that eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables each day reduces risks. That seems like really good advice with potentially life altering benefits. But like we considered last week, good advice only becomes wisdom when it is put into practice. Challenge yourself this week to record your fruit intake. I talked to a student this week who was experiencing a cherry for the first time. Maybe this could be your chance to try something new. ‘Morinda citrifolia’ is the fruit they tried on ‘I’m a celebrity’. It translates as ‘Vomit fruit’…sound nice?
When we consider the words of Jesus, we have to remember that he spoke into a specific time and culture as well as sharing eternal truths. Those hearing his words would have a strong idea of the ‘bad fruit’ that was evident in the religious orders. Jesus openly challenged the religious teachers and used such terms to make clear his opposition to them.
A few weeks ago, we considered Jesus’s instruction of ‘Do not judge’. This week, take time to reflect on your own words, actions and thoughts. Are you bearing good fruit? If there is someone you trust, ask them what they think. If there are areas that you feel are producing bad fruit, take time to confess them to God and ask him to work with you, so that you can produce good fruit in that area.
Posted on: 23rd April 2018
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
One of the fruits of our spirit as the bible states is love, we read about it in Galatians 5:22-23. Now the fruits of the Spirit are not for ‘show’, they are for sharing with others; otherwise, they’re no better than fruit that was never grown in the first place. Suppose you visit the market with your heart set on buying fresh vegetables. You see home-grown tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and several varieties of peppers – everything you need and more. Just as you start to select your items, the farmer who owns the stand says, ‘Sorry, this produce isn’t for sale. I just like to grow it and enjoy looking at it until it rots. Then I throw it away.’ Can you imagine your reaction? Now you likely haven’t encountered such a bizarre situation, and probably never will. That’s because farmers and customers know that produce is for eating. Sure, when all the colours are on display it’s beautiful to look at, but its God-ordained purpose is to bring nutrition and health to people.
If all we do is go to worship and speak about fruit, analyse fruit, and examine each other’s fruit, we are failing miserably. It’s not enough to have fruit, to have love, we must share that fruit and love with others, so they can be blessed and impacted by the kingdom of God.
In Ephesians 2:10 Paul writes, ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’
This week, don’t only bear fruit in your spirit but let it come to life, so others can see it too.
Posted on: 9th October 2017
“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”
Honesty is marked as being free from deceit or untruthfulness, being sincere. The Christian life should be one marked with integrity and honesty, yet because we all sin and find it easy to do so, honesty is something we must work hard at! An honest life is important on so many levels from relationships with peers, children, at our workplace, and interacting with our community. Matthew 7:16 tells us that we are known by our fruit. Let us be examples of a God of truth and life by living lives of integrity and truthfulness.
What did Jesus say about our honest faith? Jesus was out with his friends, his disciples and they had just started eating as Jesus was talking to the crowd that was gathering around. The Pharisees were quick to point out that they hadn’t washed their hands before they began to eat, so one raised their voice, “Why don’t your disciples do the traditions and rituals of our elders? Why don’t they wash their hands?” (Mark 7 v 1-5 abbreviated).
Jesus responded to them by calling them hypocrites (sometimes he just said it as it was). But What the Pharisees hadn’t realised that the disciples had been serving the people through their ministry, they had been with Jesus for a few days (or maybe more) working hard and were ready to sit down and eat. The Pharisees were letting the traditions get in the way of their honest faith. No, we shouldn’t forget that some traditions that we may do today are reminders of our faith and help strengthen our faith when we do them. However, we must be careful to not fall into a trap of doing it for traditions sake or just for going through the motions but through our focus on God and in faith.
But what do we do when it comes to our honesty? Do we let our traditions, timetables, to-do lists get in the way of our honesty towards other people? Would we say we would look after someone but when given the responsibility to do so would be prioritise our own traditions?