In several places in the Bible the life of a human being is compared to that of a tree.
Because one cannot expect to harvest apples from a pecan tree, the quality of the fruit must match the type of tree. In this passage Jesus speaks in a more general way:
- A good tree produces good fruit.
- A bad tree produces bad fruit.
He then said one of the most revealing things in all His teaching:
“…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
What does He mean? Simply this: the fruit of the tree may be hanging on a limb or may have tumbled to the ground, but it comes from the heart of the tree—the deep-seated nature of the tree and nothing can alter this.
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad;
for a tree is known by its fruit.”
Life lesson learned—observable in nature and in society. We don’t have to wonder long about what is in someone’s heart. All we have to do is listen to the words they say. The good or bad things stored abundantly in our hearts will come pouring out of our mouths at some point. This principle offers a great opportunity—if we want good things to come out in our speech, we need to fill our heart with good things! This is the promise of Paul’s instructions on how we should we think. In short, he said fill your heart with good things, the best things “and the God of peace will be with you.”
Our words matter a great deal more than we might think; they will form the basis of our final judgment.
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak,
they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified,
and by your words you will be condemned.”
In great measure the business of life is to keep the heart full of good things so that the total life product of our time on earth will be “good treasure.” This only comes from a good heart constantly monitored and maintained for good contents.
One of the most heinous uses of speech is blasphemy—to curse God. Our world and our culture is filled with profanity—unholy speech, and blasphemy—the derision of God Almighty. One of the most amazing things about God’s amazing grace is that He chooses not to strike down the profane and blasphemous. Of the Holy Trinity, the role of the Holy Spirit is to draw the sinner to Jesus. To deride the Holy Spirit is to risk offended the One who can lead us to salvation in Jesus. We must be careful for if He does not draw us to Jesus we will never get to Him.
Make the Tree Good
It is time for a word that is little used anymore—holiness. The role of the Holy Spirit is also to make us holy, to conform us to the likeness of Christ. We are called to be like tall, graceful, productive trees, bringing forth our fruit in our season. This level of living is only possible in Jesus as the Holy Spirit dwells within us to make us more like Him. Honor the Spirit of God, never deride Him!
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Lord Jesus, You have called me to a fruitful life. Let my roots go down deep into Your Word. I lift my hands to You like the limbs of a blessed tree to catch every wind of Your sweet, sweet Spirit. From Your Word and Your Spirit, fill my heart with good things so that the fruit of my life will be sweet to others and useful to the world. I will always respect and honor You, O Holy Spirit of God. Amen and amen.
Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Words and Music: Doris Akers
There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place,
And I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord.
There are sweet expressions on each face,
And I know that it’s the presence of the Lord.
Sweet Holy Spirit, sweet Heav’nly Dove.
Stay right here with us, filling us with your love.
And for these blessings, we lift our hearts in praise.
Without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived,
When we shall leave this place.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.