Jesus startled the disciples.
“Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.” (Matt 21:18-19)
The primary work of a disciple is to bear fruit. It was how all of us were originally created to be. Anybody who professes the name of Christ wears the badge of Christ. But with that profession comes outward evidence. A true profession bears godly fruit.
For one simple reason….. Christ lives in us.
When peace pours forth in our life — it is His peace.
When truth pours out from our life — it is His truth.
When gentleness pours within our life — it is His gentleness.
When faithfulness defines our life — it is His faithfulness.
The secret of living a godly life is that there is no secret. And when we don’t live a godly life, it’s no secret either. Everybody knows…. even Christ.
Perhaps that’s what startled the disciples.
When a fig tree no longer is a fig tree it not only doesn’t bear fruit, but it withers up and dies. Its branches are picked up, thrown away, and burned in a fire.
When a Christian no longer trusts in God’s promises, they disconnect themselves from Christ. Their faith no longer bears fruit, but withers up and dies. The dead branches are thrown away and burned in a fire.
A disciple of Christ looks at fruits of the spirit in the following ways.
- God-pleasing words and actions come naturally from a healthy tree
When Jesus Christ said to be perfect as He is perfect (Matt. 5:48), notice that he didn’t say become. The status of a redeemed child in Christ is perfection. A soul perfect in Christ can’t help but to bear fruit that is God-pleasing.
- God-pleasing words and actions are not natural to human nature.
Sin comes naturally to our human nature. Corrupted by the disease of sin, it is impossible to bear fruit that is pleasing to God — no matter how hard we try. It takes a miracle.
- The secret to a godly life is to remain connected to the root.
Human nature succumbs to the original temptation that we can somehow become like God and produce good works. We try to connect with our Self rather than God. The secret is not a strategic plan, but a submissive will.
- God-pleasing fruit is meant to be picked, not preserved.
Healthy fruit is attractive to the eye. It is designed to be consumed. A disciple is available, willing to be hurt, ridiculed, or judged intolerant — in a sense, consumed by the world. Yet, most of the time, a disciple rarely knows when their fruit is being picked since the world is attracted by outward behavior that reflects inner peace.
- God plants His disciples where they need to be
Notice the fig tree was planted on the side of a busy road. It was meant to be observed and used. God places His disciples exactly where they need to bear fruit. Whether on a well-traveled road or in obscurity, disciples trust that God has them planted where they need to be.
Christ expects obedience. He demands a fruit-filled life. The consequences of not bearing fruit can be startling. Yet, the solution is simple.
Remain in Christ.
He will provide the fruit.
How powerful is the fruit of the spirit in today’s world?
How do you remain connected to Christ?
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