Good Fruit

“So, every healthy tree bears good fruit,
but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.”  (Matthew 7.17)

The good news is this: we already possess what we need to produce good fruit.  We already have within us what we need to be “healthy”.  We don’t need to read some self-help book, or  join the latest healthy eating plan or find the best fitness programs to be healthy in the way Jesus means.  He is basically stating the facts.  A tree that is in bad shape, not being well taken care of, has a disease, will produce bad fruit.  It cannot, and will not produce good fruit.  In fact, Jesus says elsewhere, that tree needs to be cut down and thrown into the fire.
The bad news is that many of believe it’s up to them to not only have good fruit, but to produce a strong and healthy tree.  The burden is upon them to do all the work.  Well, guess what?  Nobody is capable of producing good fruit.  Human beings, left to their own devices, are only capable of producing bad fruit.  Without Christ, we all cannot produce good fruit or even a healthy tree – we should all be cut down and used for kindling.  Try as we may, work as hard as we might, convince ourselves that we can produce good fruit, IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.  IN our own effort, through our own external labors, WE CANNOT PRODUCE GOOD FRUIT.  And, if we simply believe that being good, doing the right things, obeying all the laws will produce good, strong, healthy fruit, we will become frustrated, angry, guilty, exhausted and we will continue to produce even more bad fruit.

The way that any of us is ever going to produce the good fruit, the fruit that lasts, is by having Christ formed in us.   It’s what is on the inside that will produce what grows on the outside – not the other way around.  Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15.5

“A person who is prepared and capable of responding to the situations of life in ways that are good and right is a person whose soul is in order, under the direction of a well-kept heart, in turn under the direction of God”
 (Dallas Willard)

Producing good fruit is not something that can be achieved externally.  Good fruit is the result of what is going on internally.  If we are abiding in Christ, if we are tending to our soul, if we are allowing the Holy Spirit to feed us, nourish us, and giving us the living waters, we won’t have to strive and work so hard to produce good fruit.  Good fruit becomes a natural outcome of what is going on internally.

The external nature of our fruit is not attributed to our good work, but is a good indicator of what is going on within our soul, spirit, heart and mind.  If we are short tempered – jealous – impatient – judgmental – critical – vengeful - it means something is not right within us.  That is the time we need to tend to the soil of our soul.  We need to stop, pause, be still, and allow the streams of living water to flow within us in order to produce the good fruit, fruit that is of the Holy Spirit, fruit that ultimately a gift from God.
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Carla Kupp - August 14th, 2020 at 1:32pm

Thank you for this thoughtful message on spiritual formation. As I look back on the years of praying for the Church I remember the scripture from Isaiah 28 which He kept bringing us back to concerning bearing good fruit. “The Lord Almighty is a wonderful teacher, and He gives the farmer great wisdom.” Is. 28:29. We concluded He kept taking us back to that word over the years because we weren’t listening. I thank God our leadership is now intently listening. Is. V 11, 14, 23. Praising God!

Linda - August 14th, 2020 at 10:19pm

Amen, Amen, Amen! And Hallelujah to boot! Worthy, worthy is the LORD of all praise and glory!

Pat Henle - August 15th, 2020 at 3:36pm

I have just read this and am thinkinh it over. If I get the message right, it is a comfort. I appreciate all you do and Erica as well.