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The Poison of Bitter Fruit

Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Life has a way of handing each of us less than ideal circumstances when we least expect it. These difficult life events can have an astounding impact on our character and the results we produce throughout life. Our circumstances, trials, and tribulations can make us better or bitter.

Just as the scripture above states, a good tree (a person who is spiritually sound, rooted in the truth, and connected to God) bears good fruit, but a bad tree (a person who is spiritually lost, rooted in the ways of the world, and disconnected from God) bears bad fruit.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit just as a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

In Galatians 5:19-21 we are warned that those who produce works of the flesh (bad fruit) will not inherit the kingdom of God.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Bible tells us what the fruits of the Spirit (good fruit) are in Galatians 5:22-23 and then warns us again in Galatians 5:24-26 to not walk or live outside of the Spirit as this produces bad fruit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Our purpose and role in the world is to be a good tree that consistently produces good fruit; sharing the love of Christ with every person we encounter daily.

If we are attempting to carry our burdens alone, apart from God’s help, power, and authority, we will quickly begin to see the poison of our bad fruit seeping into the lives of those around us.

Maybe you are thinking; that is me, the fruits I am producing are not good. Perhaps you think I am ‘mostly good’ but I do not think you need God to be a ‘healthy tree that produces healthy good fruits’. Some of you may even be thinking I have accepted Christ that makes me a good tree only producing good fruit.

We need to look at the details of what make a tree ‘good and healthy’, producing good fruit. When comparing to our spiritual life a good tree would need particular care that a bad tree would not have.

A good tree would first start off as a ‘good seed’ in this case it starts with the acceptance of Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior. From this seed, the tree begins to sprout roots which will be what supports and strengthens the tree to be able to stand throughout its life.

Once the tree has a set of strong roots it slowly begins to sprout up towards the sun, in attempt to get the light and nutrients it needs to continue to live, grow and thrive. Another important part of a ‘good tree’ (spiritually speaking or literally speaking) is proper care. Seedlings and full grown trees alike must be watered daily. The water in our spiritual life is the constant pouring in to our hearts of God’s word.

As the tree grows and branches begin to form we must prune out anything that is harmful or hindering it’s growth. Sometimes pruning is necessary in our life as we grow spiritually, to eliminate possible trouble areas that threaten the quality of our fruits and our overall tree health.

Tree Lifecycle

Good seed – water/light for nutrients -roots form and tree is growing – branches sprout – pruning to shape the tree and remove anything threatening its fruit production – finally produces good fruit consistently

A quick overview of a solid healthy good fruit producing tree would look like this spiritually.

  • Person accepts Jesus Christ into their hearts as their Lord and Savior. (the good seed)
  • Then the person would water their seed daily by reading scripture and seeking God daily; inputting the necessary nutrients needed to ensure the tree has strong roots and continues to grow. (the water/nutrients)
  • The spiritual tree forms with roots deep in biblical morals, beliefs, and truth. From there the tree continues to be watered, the tree continues to grow, and branches begin to sprout.
  • At this point the tree has a stable core and root system. Enabling it to stand and withstand any storm that comes its way. The branches are forming and it is time to prune out any branches that are hindering our growth. (removing and healing parts of our life that are damaged and/or sinful to ensure our tree stays strong and healthy preparing to produce good fruit.
  • Finally good fruit is produced from a good and healthy tree: love, peace, joy, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control

I am pretty confident in saying most people have heard the saying “you reap what you sow”. In other words you do good you get good; you do bad you get bad. I could not agree more; however, I would like everyone to look into this claim a little deeper.

The fruit we produce are the seeds we are sowing into the lives of those around us, including those that we love. Children, spouses, siblings, parents, and grandparents are some of the most influenced by the seeds we sow.

Now that we have seen what it looks like to be a good tree bearing good fruit, take a look at what it may look like to be a ‘bad tree’ bearing ‘bad fruit’.

  • Failure to accept God or denial of His existence. (bad seed)
  • Failure to water and give seed the proper nutrients to grow healthy, strong, good roots. (no biblical truth inputted into their lives)
  • Tree sprouts but the core and roots are weak and unable to hold the tree firmly upright. Causing it to sway, crack, and feel the pressures of life’s storms. (core and root system is not built on sound truth, leaving it vulnerable when difficulties strike.)
  • Tree begins to form branches and preparing for fruit, however the tree cannot hold the weight of the newly formed branches (life circumstances, pressure, and emotions) and we do not have the proper tools to ‘prune’ the tree. (leaving the damage and sinful ways still attached to the trunk/core; weighing it down causing its fruit to be far less than ideal.
  • The tree produces bad fruit; fruit that is damaged, diseased, unhealthy, and destructive. The Bible gives us the examples of bad fruits; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.

When we are living a life that is not centered around God and rooted in the truth (His Word-the Bible) the fruits (actions and results) we are producing lead to our own self destruction and it plants ‘bad seeds’ in the lives of those we care about.

Just as the good fruit plants seeds of hope, love and truth. Bad fruit will poison the life of those around us causing bad seeds to take root in their lives or cause their good fruit to transform to fleshly bitter fruit.

It is true that we act, speak, and even think like those who we are spending majority of our time with. What we take in, is what we put out. This is why it is key to plant the good seed of salvation into your life and properly care for it by watering it with God’s Word.

The great news is it doesn’t matter how big your ‘bad fruit tree’ is; there is ALWAYS the option to stop feeding the bad fruit tree and plant a new good seed, the seed of salvation and truth in Jesus Christ. Just as a typical fruit tree will die off if you stop watering it; so will your internal spiritual fruit tree.

Reflection

Everyday we make the choice as to which tree we will water and the type of ‘fruit’ we will produce. Look within yourself and think of the ways you act, speak, and think.

What kind of fruit are you TRULY producing?

  • Is it positive?
  • Is it God centered and truth based?
  • Does it line up with the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-26?

Is your inner spiritual tree a ‘good tree producing good fruit’ or ‘is it a bad tree producing bad fruit’?

  • What kind of tree do you want to have?
  • What changes if any do you feel you need to make to produce ‘good fruit’?
  • What areas of your life do you think could use some ‘pruning’ (perhaps an area you struggle in)?

Call to Action

Do you want to start over and plant the ‘good seed’ of salvation within you?

  • Say a prayer for salvation and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
  • Start watering the seed daily by reading your Bible.
  • Pray and Study God’s Word to ensure your new tree is well rooted and strong.
  • Seek God’s guidance on any ‘pruning’ or changes that you may need to make to protect your tree from producing bitter, fleshly fruit.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for sending Your Son to save us, to live within us, and enable us to produce good and healthy fruit in our lives and those around us. Lord God, forgive me for not properly caring for my inner spiritual tree, for not studying Your Word and seeking Your guidance in all I do. Lord if there are any areas in my life that I need to prune out for the sake of Your kingdom and to ensure I am producing good fruit and sowing good seeds into the lives of my loved ones. Lord God, help me to know where I may have poisoned others fruit by my bitterness and show me if and how I can sow new good seeds.

I pray that each person who reads this blog has open ears, open eyes, and most importantly an open heart to hear Your truth. I pray that You would help each person to truly seek their heart and have discernment on the type of fruit they are truly sowing into the lives of others. I pray that they would feel Your love and the Holy Spirit would move within them and help them to take the step of faith to accept the seed of salvation if they have not already and to ignite the desire to water it with the truth in God’s Word.

I pray You will bless each and every person who seeks You with all their heart and lead their steps in the way you want them to go. It is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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