Day 3 – Are You Picking Rotting Fruit?

“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…” Matthew 12:33

Have you heard the phrase “garbage in garbage out?” It describes the results of bad living – whatever we consume – we become.   If we determine to look at everything that comes our way today through the lenses of doom and gloom – that is what we shall become.  Our perspective on things can, in some ways, dictate the outcomes we eventually face.

rotWhat kind of fruit are you picking?
In this new year, you have a choice to make:  will you conscientiously strive to consume the spiritual fruit that brings you growth, depth and life, or will you settle for picking rotten fruit, which leads to more than rottenness in your life?  It all comes down to your choice in the matter.  It sounds easier than it really is, this I know all too well.  Many times I have eaten this rotten fruit in my life and suffered the effects of such decomposition.

Context:
Jesus had some harsh words for the Pharisees of His day.
He even calls them a brood of vipers in the very next verse (34).
I would be afraid of what He might say to us sometimes, when we look around at others and attempt to cast judgement all the while forgetting to focus on our own trees and the fruit we are bearing.  I would hope that in sobering moments, His Holy Presence would bring conviction and even chastisement.  This is a bitter thing to consider, but better to be confronted with our own areas to work on than consume more bitter, rotting fruit that we have produced.

So how about it? 
fruitWhat kind of fruit is your tree producing right now?
Is it sweat, ripe and pleasing to God?
Or is there room to grow and improve?
This is a very personal devotional thought today, one I would guess we shy away from…but don’t shy away from this.  Take a long sobering look at your life right now – can you declare unabashedly that you are a fine fruit-producer for Christ?  If you come to the conclusion that you still have work to do – do not become frustrated and defeated!  You are not alone…many of us (including myself) are right there with you.

Homework Assignment: 
Read Matthew 12:33-37 again right now:
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. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”


Questions to Ponder: 
What work still needs to be done in my heart right now?
Are there weeds growing amongst the fruit?
How can I de-clutter my heart today and remove the rotten fruit?
How can I encourage others around me today?
What soothing words can I speak on behalf of Christ to those I meet today?

Prayer: 
Dear Lord, I confess that at times I do not always produce good fruit in my life.
Sometimes my words are harsh and my actions do not reflect You.
Help me to be your image in all that I say and do today.
I desire to produce in my life a harvest of hope and love for You and you alone, and in so doing I might be an Eternal aroma to those I meet.  Help me to be the very best representative of you!  In your name I pray these things.   -Amen.

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