17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. - Mat 7:17-20 (NKJV)
In our home, there are several fruit trees. We have an orange tree. It looks very healthy. But it does not produce fruit. Instead, it has lots of thorns. Another one is persimmon tree. It has fruits, but it does not taste good. After two years, it started to dawn on me, “Why do we even bother keeping these trees. Wouldn’t it be just better off to just dig them up, and create a space for another tree? They do not bring joy, but disappointment!”
This pondering reminds me Jesus’ words pertaining to similar topic. Do you remember the story in the Gospel when He was looking for a fruit, but He could not find one? And He cursed it! He taught a very crucial lesson from that demonstration. As Christians, this issue of bearing spiritual fruits is a premium issue. If there’s one thing that Christians must do is bearing fruit. It must be our main objective. Thus, as an authentic Christian, we have some “works” to do. As Paul said, “without work your faith is dead”. That’s the Father’s will for us.
Bearing fruits are premium issues because: 1) It brings glory to the Father. John 15:8 says, “This is to My Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, proving yourselves to be My disciples”. Don’t be mistaken by thinking that we give God the glory through our singing, verbal proclamation or testimony of how great God is. Essentially, we truly glorify God when we bear fruits or demonstrate Jesus in us.
2) The authenticity of our faith is demonstrated by our fruit. The fruit is the real reflection or testimony of the tree. Tasty fruits = healthy tree. If the fruits taste good, the tree must be healthy. Generally, the tree must be nourished by high quality fertilizer and nurtured well by a caring gardener. In the same manner, our faith (“tree”) needs the authentic Word of God (“high quality fertilizer”) and the divine guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit (“the Caretaker”) to be healthy and fruit-producing. And this process often takes place behind the scene during each person’s private encounter with God.
3) Our fruits determine our future destination. Jesus said if a tree does not bear fruit. It will be cut and throw into the fire. This is a serious warning! But Christians often don’t take it as one. How we tend overemphasis God’s unconditionally loving and merciful attributes, but then undermines Him as a Holy God, who Judges fairly. Don’t be mistaken on this truth!
As a father of two teenagers, I have proper expectations of my daughters. The ones that are “developmentally appropriate”. I am not pleased when they act in ways that are not “age appropriate”. Thus, I occasionally challenge them to step up, and have the joy and pride to be able to speak, act and serve age-appropriately. Isn’t God the same with us? If we have been Christians for a long time, it is appropriate for us to produce more and healthier fruits than our newborn brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Producing spiritual fruits are not automatic nor instant. It is a laborious process. We need both responsible efforts and God’s grace.
You might have produced good fruits but I exhort you: don’t stop here! Continue to ask God: “What other spiritual fruits and godly characteristics that I still need to produce in me so that people see Jesus in me?” But, more importantly … “…so that You are pleased with me and by me?” Remember: What brings glory to God is our fruits! Our authentic love and gratitude to God reflects in our faithfulness and commitment in producing spiritual fruits. AMEN!