I was just made to realise something that came across in a rather profound manner. It has to do with Jesus’ comments regarding trees. He mentions that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit. He also says a bad tree cannot produce good fruit.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. – Matthew 7:15-20 ESV
Here is my realisation. I have found myself believing the last part – bad trees produce bad fruit that I have completely forgotten about the first part – good trees produce good fruit. Here is what I mean – because I believe that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, I do not cultivate the good tree and yet it is the absolute priority of where the work needs to be done.
What does it look like to keep cultivating the good things in my life that are producing good fruit? The first thing that comes to my mind is a familiar Psalm – Psalm 1.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:1-3 ESV
In the kingdom of God I need to be careful on discerning what I see. Certain thorn bushes have berries that look like grapes, certain thistles have a flower, that from a distance make them look like figs. Looks can fool us for sure. By cultivating the good in me, I can discern more easily those who are as genuine as I am. I think Jesus was connecting soundness with good fruit. Soundness has something to do with sound living – free from defect, decay or disease, it’s healthy. Being true to God, His Word and His grace is what I need to be aligned with. I believe that also means that I know my strength does not lie in myself, but in God who supplies everything I need. These I think are some keywords that describe fruit in a disciple – faith, hope, love, justice, wisdom, strength and self-control.