Is there anything better than vine ripened fruit? What’s not to love about a juicy, sweet orange, or perfectly ripened mango? I was watching a rerun of a favorite episode of Seinfeld – where Kramer is banned from the fruit stand and sends Jerry in to secretly buy fruit for him… check it out– then read on.
Christians use the fruit analogy as an indicator of faithfulness. The tangible nature of fruit is perfectly understood. We can observe it’s exterior, but we really don’t know it’s full flavor until we test the interior.
We can relate to fruit because we can see it. We know the appeal of a fresh, ripe melon and we respect the stench of a decaying, rotten tomato. I guess that’s why Jesus Christ so readily used fruit as an example for us to understand his teaching. In fact, the word “fruit” appears more than 150 times in the Bible and is used by almost every writer to convey a message of good and bad. The analogy is too perfect for our lives.
Recently, I was reading through some of the conversations that Jesus Christ was having among his disciples and stopped in Matthew chapter 12. This is the place where Jesus was confronted with accusations that He was perhaps spawned from evil for the miracles He had been performing. After healing the sick to make them well, the accusation was hurled at Him and he responded this way:
33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” –Jesus Christ as recorded in the Holy Bible (Matthew 12:33-37)
These words stung me when I read them because I am guilty of being in the brood of vipers on occasion… striking out at others. I’m not celebrating that. As Christians, it is our challenge to cut out the evil in our lives so we become better fruit. The worst we can do is take care of the skin, but allow the inside to decay and rot.
Many times we find ourselves spewing venom out of our mouths – We cut people down, we make jokes at the expense of others, we hurl insults to people who cut us off in traffic, and we rip people apart behind their backs with hearsay. It’s just a few harmful little words… right? If you don’t think there is a problem with the words you use… go read the passage above one more time.
Listen to me when I tell you this. What comes out of your mouth is a direct link to the condition of your soul. And our words are the aroma of our spiritual fruit.
We should challenge one another to clean it up.
We should pray daily that God reveals those places in our lives that condemn us. We should stop and listen to our words so we can hear what our witness sounds like. And may we surround ourselves with honest brothers who are willing to let us know when the aroma of our fruit begins to stink.