What are the fruits of your labor? What are the fruits of your relationships? What are the fruits of those you see around you? Do you recognize good fruits and bad fruits? Are you wondering what types of fruits you are producing?
We see all kinds of people as we go about are lives. We see people of different races, ethnic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, shapes, and sizes. If we take time to notice, we’ll find that those don’t really matter when it comes to the types of fruit they produce. So, what does matter?
We might want to say it is the way they were raised. Yet we see people who were raised in bad neighborhoods or in foster homes that produce wonderful fruit. We may want to say some are just predisposed to be bad people. Yet we see people who have been in gangs, deeply involved in drugs and alcohol, and even sexual slavery who produce good fruit.
You see, it really comes down to two things. First, each person needs to hear the good news about Jesus Christ. Second, that person needs to decide to follow Him. Once these two things have happened, everything else will fall in place.
What we often observe is the person who has grown up in the church takes it for granted and often has a harder time producing good fruit. Yet the person who has lived in the horrible happenings of the world will make an immediate change, once they know Jesus. In some ways, we just don’t understand this. We would think the person who has grown up knowing who Jesus is would be more appreciative.
What I’ve found is that unless we have experienced hardship, we don’t appreciate the good. The most obvious experience I’ve had with this is attending Marine Corps boot camp and being a Drill Instructor. Boot camp has a plethora of tests, many of which purposely put your face in the dirt to determine if you will get back up or simply give up. Going through that crucible forces you to experience tough situations and appreciate the good.
This is why we often hear some people say it wasn’t until they hit rock bottom that they finally looked up and saw Jesus offering His hand to pull them up. It is at a time like this that we will fully accept Him. In order to produce the good fruit He wants us to produce, we must fully accept Him and live for Him. At that point, we become the good tree, not because of ourselves but because Jesus is filling us with His Spirit.
I pray each one of us will see the fruit we are producing and decide we need Jesus. I pray all of us will accept Jesus fully into our lives. I pray we follow God’s plan for our lives. Recognize Jesus’ outstretched hand and take it. See that you need Him. Decide to accept and follow Him fully. Trust Jesus.
Matthew 12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”