“By their fruit you will recognize them.” Mat 7:20
If you were to ask a world class sprinter how well he is doing in 2017, he could show you a list of his fastest times so far this season. If you were to ask a top quality tennis player how well her year is going so far, she could point you to her current ATP ranking. If you were to ask a business man how well his year is progressing he could show his profits made so far as compared to last year. If you were to ask a student how she is managing at university she could show her subjects successfully passed towards achieving her degree. But what about being a Christian. How do you know how well you are doing?
Jesus offers a critical yardstick “By their fruit you will recognize them,” Mat 7:20. Let’s remind ourselves what good fruit looks like, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control,” Gal 5:22-23.
Fruit is supposed to taste good, healthy and refreshing, but we all know what it’s like to discover the fruit we bought recently tastes terrible. Flowery apples. Oranges that are too acidic. A peach with a worm in it. A plum with a soft mushy centre. A banana that has no taste at all. Most of this kind of fruit ends up in the rubbish bin, but fortunately God in His grace offers us the opportunity to become better at producing good fruit. That’s what Lent is all about, training ourselves, in Jesus, to produce better quality fruit, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John 15:5. So the closer our proximity to Jesus during Lent, the better quality our fruit will be. Take a look again at the list of nine fruit mentioned above. Which of them are you most in need of? Write it down. Now the reason why you are lacking this particular fruit is because good quality fruit production is extremely difficult. It takes time, effort and lots of hard work. Ask any farmer. This is therefore your first day of training, don’t waste it.
Prayer: Father, it is clear that only by abiding in Jesus will I produce good fruit. May today be a great training day and the beginning of a more fruitful life.