If you grew up in the church, you’re familiar with camp and Sunday School songs like the one that states “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” (Have that tune stuck in your head yet? You can thank me later.)

Jesus said the same thing in a different way. A way that ties right into our ongoing tree theme.

“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:16-20 NIV)

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:43-45 NIV)

A few observations: First, there are two broad categories of fruit. Good or bad. Second, the type of fruit clearly reveals the type of tree that produced it. Third, in order to grow good fruit, you have to have good materials stored up inside. Last, trees that don’t produce good fruit end up as firewood.

How’s that for a sobering collection of facts? I might try to pretend I’m one type of person, but the fruit of my life doesn’t lie. And if I want to grow the best kind of fruit, I have to be filled from the inside out with good. Not just right ideas and values, but the source of truth Himself. I also need to guard what I read, watch, listen to or think about so I’m not storing up evil things.

What goes into my life eventually comes out … and the quality of fruit displays the condition of my heart.

As we focus on kinds of good fruit this summer, keep that lovely song in mind. They will know we are Christians by our love … and joy … and peace … and so on.

What about you? What does the fruit of your life reveal about your character? Do you screen what raw materials are stored in your heart?

Like A Tree – Good Fruit
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