By Waylon Bailey
The Bible often talks about bearing spiritual fruit. Jesus spoke of it prominently.
If this subject mattered to Jesus, it should matter to us. Are you bearing spiritual fruit? Is your life and activity profitable for the Kingdom of God?
When I consider the subject of bearing spiritual fruit, these truths come immediately to mind.
Jesus used the metaphor of fruit to describe how we make decisions and judgments.
We know believers should not be judgmental or condemning. Jesus made that plain. “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2). He used a exaggeration to show how fruitless and ludicrous it is to judge. “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).
What Jesus didn’t condemn was making wise and godly decisions. In fact, as you deal with people in general and preachers and teachers specifically, He told us to check the spiritual fruitfulness of those who seek to influence us.
Shortly after His teaching about judging and condemning, Jesus gave these words. “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:15). Spiritual fruitfulness becomes our guide for understanding who to hear and who not to follow.
The words of Jesus are full of fruitfulness. A good tree produces good fruit; a bad tree produces bad fruit. This is a spiritual principle that must be followed.
The principle continues by reminding us that a tree or plant (or a person) reproduces what they are. “Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-18)).
What you are is what you will produce, and you will become like those you follow.
This means we must constantly be checking for spiritual fruit. It is not those who say “Lord, Lord” who should be followed but those who do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21).
You produce what you are, and you become like those you follow.
Are you bearing spiritual fruit?
Waylon Bailey is pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington and a past Louisiana Baptist Convention president. This editorial first appeared on his May 17, 2017 blog.