Have you ever been in a mood so rotten you felt like you reeked?
I think if we’re being honest, we’ve all been there. Sometimes we get fed up and surly and then something spews out of our mouth that makes us go “Wow, even I know that was savage!” At that moment, the odiousness of our bad mood becomes something everyone else can smell—like rotten fruit.
Everyone bears fruit with their actions. We’re all basically fleshy little trees with hobbies. The older I get, the more mindful I become of the fruit I’m bearing and how it reflects, not only on my whole person, but on the One I represent. When I choose to dwell on the blessings of life, I like to think I’m pretty sunshiny to be around. But people are taking notice when I’m stuck in the negative, too.
If only we could stop growing fruit when we’re in the low points and only be known for what we produce in the peaks of life! But it doesn’t work that way. We’re always bearing fruit. The question is, what kind?
What is Fruit?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fruit (in the context of this blog) as “the effect or consequence of an action or operation.”
The Bible speaks often of fruit—the fruits of labor, the fruits of harvest, and the fruit we are to bear as followers of Jesus Christ. Historically, people brought sacrifices to God from the firstfruits of their harvest and herds. Jesus is called the firstfruits from among the dead (meaning the first person raised from the dead to everlasting life).
Ultimately, everyone on earth produces fruit by their words and deeds, either good or bad—a harvest that comes directly from what they’re made up of on the inside. In nature, everything comes after its own kind—apples from apple trees, pears from pear trees and so forth—and the same is true in the spiritual sense, so it’s up to every individual to make sure they are producing good fruit in their lives, to the praise of God’s glory.
What Does the Bible Say About Fruit?
Matthew 7:15-20 – “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
Philippians 1:9-11 – And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Luke 8:15 – But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
How Can I Bear Good Fruit?
One of the beautiful things about Jesus’ statement that a good tree bears good fruit, and a bad tree bears bad fruit, is that it makes it easy to gauge the trajectory of our lives. If we want to bear good fruit, we need to be walking in the spirit—holy spirit—which bears the wonderful fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—among others.
One thing we also have to be mindful of when it comes to bearing good fruit is that we can’t “fake it to make it” with God. We don’t prove we’re bearing good fruit by trying to make it seem like we’re so holy and so pure when we’ve got rottenness festering on the inside. God isn’t taken in by shiny apples with moldy cores. To bear good fruit, we have to let go of things that lead to rot—resentment, vengeance, addiction, unforgiveness, anger, gossip, jealousy, spite, hatred, etc. In place of these things, which can poison our harvest and cause us to lash out in unfruitful ways, we have to let the holy spirit power of God transform us from the inside out. It’s the only way to truly produce a good harvest in our thoughts and actions.
We can pretend to be holy all we like—and sadly Christianity has developed a reputation of doing just that!—but Jesus tells us that essentially, “the fruit will prove itself.” In order to truly bear good fruit, we have to do the hard work to become good trees watered in the life-giving water poured out by our Savior, Jesus.
Take time to assess the fruit your life is bearing. Is it good or bad? What can you do to continuously improve your harvest?