A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.
As a result of connecting with Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we bear fruit. The process of growing good fruit doesn't happen overnight; it takes time. For instance, if I were to go to Home Depot or a garden store and I bought a lemon tree sapling, it would take three to five years before that tree would give me a single lemon. There have to be those years of formation where all the right elements come together so it can bear fruit. We would have to do the hard work of watering it, pruning it, making sure it had the right soil, and the proper amount of sunlight for growth to occur. Likewise, bearing long-sustainable fruit as a result of knowing Christ is a process that also takes some time.
The fertile soil of bearing fruit in the life of a follower of Jesus happens at a heart level. When our heart is right and connected to God, we will bear good fruit. Here is this passage of Scripture, Jesus is speaking specifically in reference to the Pharisees. On the outside, they looked so good, but the fruit that came out of their lives was greed, envy, arrogance, and pride. Jesus saw right through them and called them out for producing bad fruit. He is making the connection that if you see anger, dysfunction, and lust in a person, it is probably because something much deeper is going on inside of them.
When a person starts with the inside and fully surrenders his or her heart to Jesus, the Holy Spirit changes everything. This catalyst can be dramatic at times, like an explosion, or slow, like growing a lemon tree. But the truth remains that when we are connected to Him, there will be buds of fruit that begin to come out of our lives. It might be small at first, like being uncomfortable about with the way you used to live, or that you start getting really excited for weekends at church. From there, the fruit in your life may continue to transition to where you are talking about Jesus and church with your coworkers, and you no longer find joy or fulfillment in your old way of living. The ultimate progression is when your life reflects and points to Jesus. When people see your example of goodness and grace, they see the One who saved you from your sins and gave you new life.
What type of fruit is coming out of your life?
Take some time to think about the fruit that your life is bearing. Is your fruit good because you are connecting with Jesus regularly? Are you making time and being patient for Him to change you, rather than doing this transformation on your own? Does your life look more like Jesus as of the result of the Holy Spirit changing you? In the space below, take some time to journal and to work through where your heart is at with God.
Read Matthew 12:22-37 (NLT)
Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?”
But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.”
Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive. And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.
“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
“So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”