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: 27th January 2020
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
How can we take time to personally reflect?
In 2001 we had ‘Pop Idol’, 2004 we had ‘X-Factor’ and 2007 saw the beginning of ‘BGT’. What do these shows have at their heart? Judges. I don’t know which stage of the shows you like the most. For some it is the early auditions in which members of the public have their dreams shattered. Others prefer the final stages where the rough diamonds have been polished, ready for a shot at Christmas number 1. But we cannot hide the fact that part of the entertainment is hearing the judgements of the ‘experts’ on the panel.
Contrast this to the words of Jesus in Matthew 7. Jesus gives a stark warning as to the consequences of judging others. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” I do not want to stand in judgement over those celebrities on the panel, so I challenge myself to consider this week how I would like others to judge me, and reflect this in my judgement of others.
Each summer, my children and I go on WEC camp (check out the website, it’s awesome). They spend the week in tents and are part of a team of young people, often from across the world. As part of the ‘team’ element, tent inspections take place every day. Tents are marked very harshly to the highest standards and a winner is announced. My children love this as it is a competition. I decided that when we returned from camp, we would do random bedroom inspections, giving out points to the same high standard. This was fine, until my children decided that all bedrooms should be part of the competition. As you can imagine, the scores for the parent’s room were not the highest!
Jesus came to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. He taught about the kingdom and challenged the current thinking and attitudes of the day. Jesus’ words do that to us too. Take time this week to reflect on when you have judged someone else. Ask yourself, “Would I like that same judgement on me?”
Jesus was also full of grace and truth. His words were truth, but they were delivered by grace. This week, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you as you consider the challenge, ‘Do not judge’.