There is a woody plant growing in my back yard. Right now In the winter, it looks like a stick. No leaves. No fruit.
Last spring it grew blossoms and then those blossoms turned into fruit. They were apples. I know what this wood plant is because I saw the fruit that it grew.
They were good apples. (Thank you Nadine and Rodger).
I know what the tree is by what it produces.
“15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
If I attach grapes or figs to the branches of my apple tree it will not then become a fig tree tree or a grape tree. (Grape tree?)
When I became a follower in Jesus and accepted his gift of forgiveness and allowed Him to come and live in my heart his Holy Spirit began to produce fruit in me. It was good fruit. It was love, joy peace, patience, gentleness, long suffering, I have trouble remembering the entire list so I will quote what Paul said in His letter to the Galatians.
“19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
These are the things that are happening in my life not because I am adding these behaviors to my life but because God is changing me from the inside out and I am becoming a good tree that bears good fruit.
You don’t become an apple tree from the outside in. You become an apple tree from the inside out. The same with being a Christian. We are transformed from the inside out. The fruit that grows in our lives is a manifestation of a transformed life. It grows as part of a life led by the Holy Spirit.
The philosophy of “fake it till you make it” really doesn’t work in matters of heart change. It is just exhausting.Before I became a Christian I was trying to earn my way into a relationship with God. Exhausting and impossible. How much good does it take to pay for bad? It takes all of it. All the good. Jesus is all the good and he has paid for us with his life.
Come into Gods garden and grow and produce good fruit.