Luke 6:43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.”
In this section of Luke we find Jesus giving instruction to his newly chosen disciples. Earlier in this chapter Jesus taught them to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. He then warned them not to make a habit of judging others. Let’s face it, hating our enemies and confessing other peoples’ sins and holding them in contempt comes easily to most human beings. That’s why the way of Jesus is so powerful and life-changing. Even world-changing. The way of Jesus, the way of the Kingdom of God, invites us to live quite differently than the world around us.
That’s great, but how are we supposed to actually do these things?
Excellent question. As we profess faith in Christ through baptism we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, the presence of the living God. And by the grace and power of the Spirit we can “bear good fruit” (v.43). In Galatians 5 the apostle Paul tells us what good fruit looks like. It is…
“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22)
One of the most obvious ways we can know how we’re doing in our walk with the Lord is to observe the impact we have on others. Do people in our relational orbits experience us as life-giving or life-taking? Do we inspire peace or anxiety in others? Do we build people up with our words or do we tear people down? Do people see us living more out of generosity or scarcity? Do we keep our promises to others or do we tend to break promises?
If I’m honest I have good days and bad days. I’m not always as life-giving to others as I’d like to be. The Lord has some work to do in me here. But the good news for me, and probably for you, is that God can do this work in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit the Lord turns our hearts toward love and mercy and grace. And as we mature in faith we become more and more like Jesus. But we have a ways to go don’t we? Lord, do a work in us. Make us more like Jesus. Amen.