43“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:43-45, NIV)
When we moved into our home in South Pasadena a few years ago, we had a small tree in the front yard. We didn’t know exactly what kind of tree it was. Finally, after a couple of years living in the house, to our surprise, our tree bore its fruit, and then we knew exactly what tree we had. (In case you’re curious, we had a peach tree that showed up unexpectedly in our front yard.)
Our experience confirms what has been known for centuries. Jesus alluded to this common knowledge when we said, “each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44). If you want to know what kind of tree you have, you need to pay attention to its fruit.
The same is true if you want to know what kind of life you’re living. Are you living a good life? Then you’ll see it in your fruit. The opposite is true as well. Bad living is correlated with bad fruit. Fruit, in this case, is a way of talking about our behavior, about what we’re producing by being alive.
So, this leads to an obvious question. What is your fruit? If you were to add up all that you’re doing in life – what you do for work, how you act in relationships, where you put your money, how you spend your time, and so on – what kind of fruit is growing on your tree? I know this is a simple question, one that you might be tempted to dispatch in a minute or so. But I’d suggest that it may be worth a little more time and thought.
As you reflect upon the fruit of your life, you might try this thought experiment. If your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers were to be given a dose of truth serum such that they had to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, how would they answer this question: What is the fruit of your life? What is your life producing? What difference are you making in this world?
I believe that, for most of us, the fruit of our lives is a mixed bag. Some of our fruit is good; some is bad. We need to be honest about this. God will use our honesty to help us shift the balance in the favor of good fruit.
When you consider the question, “What is the fruit of your life?”, what are the first thoughts that come to your mind? What would you say is your primary fruit? What do you think those who know you best would say about the fruit of your life if they were given truth serum? What would they say is your good fruit? What might they say is your bad fruit? When in your life have you felt especially fruitful? What might explain this experience of fruitfulness?
Ask the Lord to work in you through His Spirit so that you might produce abundant good fruit in your life. To God be all the glory!