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Confusing Fruit Stands

Me, Andra and Caleb, my son in law, and Jessica my daughter, along with Leeland and Zion, our two grandsons went to the Farmers Market in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee a couple of weeks ago.  The market is fantastic and we found much more than fruit and veggies there.   As we were walking along the line up of vendors I noticed one particular vendor’s stand that really stood out.  Their veggies and their fruit displays were impression as all of it was freshly washed and stacked in neat piles, just begging for people to come by and get one.   The vendor had signs on each stack explaining what the item was and how much they cost.  As I went by what seemed to be an endless array of fruit I noticed that someone had accidentally put the wrong sign on one of the fruits.  The fruit was easily recognizable, because it was an apple, but the sign in front of the apples said prunes.  It was a mistake that after we went a little further and came back by had been remedied by the vendor when he realized that the signs were in the wrong place.  Problem solved!!

In Matthew 7: 15-20 Jesus relates fruit to the human condition and makes some absolute statements.   Oooo, modern people don’t like absolutes do we?  We want some wiggle room in there so we can stretch the limits to fit how we think.   In this discourse, the Son of God gives us the reality of the human condition and drives home the point of life change when it comes to our faith.  In other words,  if you have Jesus in your heart then change does take place and that change causes you to bear Godly fruit, not confused fruit.  Read the verse below and see if you understand the formula for a changed life.

Matthew 7:17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  You may say, “what is a good tree?”  To which, I would say, “A tree that is rooted in Jesus and His great forgiveness and grace.”  You can probably figure out the bad tree……can’t you?  The human condition is a condition that is dependent on the blood of Jesus for the remission of sins, and the Holy Spirit for a changed life. The end result is “GOOD FRUIT!”   Bad fruit comes from the lack of the remission of sins and the lack of the Holy Spirit.   Of course, it is not by chance that this teaching from Jesus comes on the heals of the earlier verses where He says,  Matthew 7: 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.  If you are of the mind to have a very lax, Americanized Christianity type faith then this scripture will be one you will probably try to skip, but it is there.  Jesus, the Son of God, giving us absolutes about what the effect the gospel has on an individual life is soul stirring, or at least thought provoking.  To which I must ask, “What fruit is your life bearing and why?”  I ask this question of myself quite frequently to help me keep on track in my faith walk.  I know have believed and received Jesus Christ and that He is my Savior, but I also know that I can drift away from the narrow path from time to time because of the weak way I fight the spiritual battle that comes with my faith.  The gate is small, but praise God I found it!!!  The wide gate is very eye appealing, but disastrous as an end result.

When I saw the fruit and sign confusion at the fruit stand it made me think, “What sign is being read about my life?”  Is that sign confusing, or does it make perfect sense?  The signs I am talking about now have to do with attitude and lifestyle.  There can be no change without Jesus in our lives, but there is a guarantee of change when we do have Jesus!!  What fruit are you bearing?

Are you a nagger and negative person and the kind of person who wants to keep everything about themselves and leaves no room for the Savior’s attitude of love and patience.  If you are a Christian and this is your life witness, then your fruit is confusing.  Are you a gossip who tries to destroy who you can to elevate yourself among your peers?  Then the love of Jesus is not being seen in your life and you are destroying others by telling half truths about them.  You have confusing fruit syndrome and you are not only hurting others, but hurting yourself  and causing the witness of Christ to be confusing to a world that needs to see clarity.  If we are to carry the gospel to a lost and dying world, then they need to clearly see Jesus in every area of our life and that will make our fruit match who Jesus is and it will be very clear.

The end  result of not taking the Savior’s teaching seriously will result in verses 19-20 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.  Is the axe of God positioned near your life?  Then get on the straight and narrow and start living and doing life like the Bible says.  If you can’t see that it is possible for you to do that, then reevaluate your faith and see if you even have Jesus at all.  You may have walked an aisle in a church but didn’t really have a heart change.  Time to make that right and get on with the Spirit-filled life God gives to all who come to Him.  

Is the sign on your life at God’s great fruit stand clear or is it confusing?  Time to make sure you have Jesus and then the fruit sign will say, “Born again and changed.”  Read the scripture I have mentioned and ask God to help you know what to do and He will answer.

The Pilgrimage continues…

David Warren

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