Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Do They Know Us By Our Fruit?

My inspiration for today’s post was seeing my sweet granddaughter's post yesterday. She said, “Doing my civic duty! Proud to be an American, where we the people have a voice!” I loved that and I love “her voice” – one that is kind and giving, with desire to do her part. A juror gets to judge. But what about the rest of us?

How easy it is to judge the likes of folks whose poor attitude, angry spirit and crankiness seems to bring a dark cloud with them when they come into the room. We randomly judge someone when they’ve made a bad decision that you warned them not to make or maybe we judge an outfit someone wore, a new hairstyle, the lack of someone’s personal pride, the way they handle their business affairs, and the good or bad language they speak. Whew! Oftentimes, it’s a workout to keep from being judgmental especially when we see the “fruit” of the actions of some of those folks.

But Jesus set the record straight about judging. He said in Matthew 7:1 “Judge not so you won’t be judged.” Yikes! I sure don’t want to be judged. On the other hand, maybe we should be Fruit Inspectors -- especially when we see fruit (rotten fruit at that – okay, forgive me, that’s judging) that causes us to check out our own fruit as to whether what others see in us is sweet and tasty fruit.

Having love for some unlovable folks, finding peace in the midst of chaos, experiencing joy when folks may be getting on our last nerve -- can be quite a feat any time, but most certainly, in the last several weeks, we’ve been given all kinds of opportunities to decide. Is it love or hate, peace or anger, bitterness or happiness, crankiness or joyfulness? Remembering the scripture… "What the heart is full of....the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45)? Doesn’t that give us pause for giving ourselves a good old fruit inspection?

When we opened the door of our hearts to God....He walked through the door with a treasure chest full of everything we would need to overcome and be successful in every area of our life. We do our best to resist judging, and, then I clearly got the message "I'm not asking you to be their Fruit Inspector. I'm asking you to inspect your own fruit." That's when I know God is telling me to amp up that fruit in my own life -- to be sure that what my heart is full of, bears the Fruit of the Spirit qualities: Galations 5:22,23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control."

When I said that God is calling us to be FRUIT inspectors, that applies to Matthew 7:20 – “Therefore, by their FRUITS, you will know them.” WOW – that’s how we’re recognized as devoted followers of Christ…OR NOT -- by our FRUITS. So as FRUIT inspectors….first, we need to pass the test on the FRUITS we, ourselves, are bearing.

It really is the season for "Fruit Bearing”. After all, as believers, we know Holy Spirit is in us so we already have the good soil, fertilizer, nutrients and everything else we need to be choice, bright, luscious, sweet, refreshing, top quality FRUIT bearers to a world that could sure use some.