Trees

 

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.

Blessed is the man[a]
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

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.

 

 

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Broken

 

Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) – Hillsong Worship

 

King David was such a great warrior and it is hard to believe in his earlier days that in fleeing Saul, his rough and broken beginnings made a difference.

David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.  And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul,[a] gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. – 1 Samuel 22:1-2  ESV

Here are broken men fleeing for their lives and many of them became great warriors and giant killers, just like David. David discipled these men, and they became like him. When I disciple people, I can teach what I know, but will reproduce who I am.

“God must love common people. He made so many of them.” – Abraham Lincoln

The same could be said of many of the disciples who later became apostles – they were fishermen and there was even a tax collector.

No matter where I stand, one thing that is common to all of us is that we are called to imitate God. God uses marred and imperfect vessels and that should give all of us hope. It is a way that ensures that none of us can boast about ourselves and He gets all the glory.

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.            1 Corinthians 6:17  ESV

No words could more vividly express what happens between our relationship with Jesus as His disciple.

It is the essence of my identity. It would be interesting, in a small group setting, to have everyone write out what they believe is a job description for a “Disciple of Jesus Christ.” With that identity comes responsibility of life and we have some strategic instructions that will enable us to navigate the increasingly murky immoral waters of our post-Christian society. We are not called to live in a corner somewhere, immune to these noxious and defiling influences.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own. 1 Corinthians 6:19  ESV

While I am very familiar with the call of purity from the first part of the verse, I can say that I have been missing the latter part of this verse.

The missionary is one in whom the Holy Ghost has wrought this realization — “Ye are not your own.” To say “I am not my own,” is to have reached a great point in spiritual nobility. The true nature of the life in the actual whirl is the deliberate giving up of myself to another in sovereign preference, and that other is Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit expounds the nature of Jesus to me in order to make me one with my Lord, not that I might go off as a showroom exhibit. Our Lord never sent any of the disciples out on the ground of what He had done for them. It was not until after the Resurrection, when the disciples had perceived by the power of the Holy Spirit Whom He was, that Jesus said “Go.” – Oswald Chambers

 

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