Matthew 7:17-20 (NLT)
A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Up here in Northern Michigan we just finished our apple picking season – and I hope my wife will make a pie or apple dumplings soon (hint, hint). Anyway, this fruit season reminded me of a biblical principle that is important for us to remember; we will be known by our fruit.
What Type of Fruit Are You Producing?
We all produce fruit of some kind with our life. The fruit will either be relationship based or task/accomplishment based. As we look at those two aspects of our life (relationships and accomplishments) we will be able to see what type of fruit we are producing. If our relationships are shallow then our relationship fruit will be rotten; if we cannot seem to accomplish much, or follow through on commitments, or finish the goals we have set then again, our accomplishment fruit will be rotten.
Here’s a little diagnostic for you to see if you are producing some bad fruit in your life:
(Do you or have you recently experienced any of the following in your life?*)
- Loss of temper
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Inability to get things done
- Inability to concentrate
- Crying spells
- Feeling sorry for myself
- Feeling trapped
- Feeling left out
- Being disorganized
- Being Envious
- Eating/Drinking too much
If you checked off any of the above symptoms then there is a good chances that you have some “Bad Fruit” in your life. Now, take a deep breath because I want to give you some truth. WE ALL HAVE BAD FRUIT IN OUR LIFE. The bigger issue is how are we dealing with the bad fruit?
If we stuff it or ignore it then we are not getting any healthier in life and actually we will just continue to perpetuate the production of more bad fruit. However, if we take the bad fruit and “bring it into the light” to determine why we are producing bad fruit then we will get healthier. So how does that happen? The best place to examine our fruit is to talk about our relationships and our goals within a small group of trusted friends. It is in these small groups we can hear the truth from people who loves us as they tell us how our goals or relationships are bearing fruit.
Here’s an example:
If you set a goal to lose 10 lbs. by the end of November and you accomplish that goal then you have “Good Fruit”. You can share your goal (from start to finish) with your small group and they can help to keep you accountable. However, if you set that goal to lose weight but at the end of November you didn’t accomplish it you can call that “bad fruit” and your small group can discuss the reasons why you failed at the goal.
Here’s another example:
Bad relational fruit would be avoiding that person at the office, church or neighborhood because there is some type of conflict between the two of you – instead of hitting it head on you avoid. That would be relational Bad fruit. Now, if you are a person who seeks opportunities to connect with others around you and you create meaningful inter-personal relationships then that would be good relational fruit. You might be talking to your neighbor and learn of a need in their life that you could help them with. Listening and helping them produces good fruit.
So, how is your fruit? What type of fruit are you producing?
Matthew 7:20 (NLT)
Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.