When we were teenagers, we looked forward to summer break for a variety of reasons. One was hopping on our bikes, and riding around town, looking for trees with fruit to pick and eat. We wanted organic, non GMO, pesticide free fruit (Ok, that’s totally stretching it, I’m certain we had no idea what all that was back then). As city kids, we liked the challenge of finding and identifying fruit trees, then looking for fruit on them. You’d be amazed how many even exotic fruit trees can be found right here in our urban area! We have found cherimoyas, longans, lychee, dragon fruit, papayas, mangos, tangelos, plums, nectarines, peaches, apples, bananas, grapes, and more! We’ve been able to taste just about every one of them too.
To this day, when I take a walk with my family, I point to trees, and say, “cherimoya tree,” or “grape vine.” Because of our time watching the trees, their leaves, seasons, and the fruit they produce, we can walk by a tree, and identify what kind of fruit it is going to produce. I know what kind of tree it is by its fruit, and I know what kind of fruit it is going to produce by what kind of tree it is.
Matthew 7:16-20 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit… Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
In one of the greatest sermons ever preached, Jesus uses a physical illustration (fruit trees) to give us a spiritual application (by their fruits ye shall know them). It’s a challenge, but also a warning (the first of Christ’s nine ‘beware’ statements). Scripture makes it clear that who (or what) we follow should be based on the fruit that is produced in their lives. Because if we follow that person, that philosophy, that direction, we will soon be producing the same fruit.
I’m amazed how easily many Christians hop on the newest fad, the latest trend, a charismatic YouTube preacher or podcast, a new philosophy, a popular direction, or a cultural rudiment without batting an eye. I’d like to ask, “do you know what fruit that tree produces?” If not, we might take a step back, and assess what kind of tree it is, before running to it.
I stay away from the modern dating game because I’ve seen the fruit it produces. I stay away from secular, worldly music with some Christian words thrown in and called “CCM,” because I see the young people it produces. I stay away from sensual, immodest dress because I know what kind of church it produces. I don’t give my kids devices just because brother so and so does, because I’ve seen enough kids pollute their souls with it, and see the fruit it produces. I stay away from liberal doctrine and theology because I know what kind of a future it produces. I try to stay away from temporal living because Scripture tells me what kind of eternity it produces. There are a host of things that many do, and that is popular or easy, but we try to stay away from, because we don’t like the fruit they produce.
When it comes to marriage, child rearing, Christian living, this culture, fruitfulness in ministry, godly direction, longevity, or a host of other desired “fruit” in our lives, we would do well to look to someone who has produced that fruit that we long for, and follow them. The fruit doesn’t lie. It came from that tree. Let’s heed Christ’s warning today and be sure to assess the fruit before we hop onto the tree.
Determine to not waste your vacation by returning stronger than ever.
Nothing can be more satisfying than seeing someone trust Christ as their personal Saviour and take steps towards spiritual growth!