What is your favorite thing to talk about? That one topic that when it comes up you light up and could talk for hours….
I read this passage in Matthew 12 tonight and it produced two effects in my heart: It added to my fear of the Lord and it caused me to examine the fruit of my lips; the things I talk about the most and what I am most passionate about. I am thankful that the gospel remains my favorite topic, but I noticed some rotten fruit that needed pruning as well. Careless words flow easily when we couldn’t care less, so we must take care to speak words that reflect the Word and the Inspiration of the Word if that is truly what is in our heart.
Matthew 12:33-37 .. “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
A person who has been made righteous through Christ will not consistently produce fruits of sin. A good tree may occasionally bear a rotten fruit, but if it is a good tree the gardener will come and remove the rotten fruit and prune it for greater fruitfulness. If a tree consistently produces rotten fruit it will never produce good fruit, because it is incapable of good fruit as a rotten tree, and it will be cut down by the gardener.
In the same way if a righteous person falls into a sin they will repent of it, Jesus, our Gardener, will come and remove it, and he will discipline us (prune us) so that we learn from it and so that we can move on to bear good fruit (righteous works). On the other hand, if a person is not saved they cannot bear righteous works. Even though it may appear at times as though they are doing something of righteous value, they are like a fruitless tree with lot’s of leaves and branches; it looks good from far away but close up there’s nothing of true value there. Isaiah 64:6 says their righteous works are like “filthy rags”. If someone offers even a cup of cold water in Jesus name it will be counted as though it was done unto him; if someone offers to feed an entire orphanage of hungry children in any other name than Jesus’ it will be counted as “filthy rags” or “polluted garments”.
Jesus really narrows in in this passage on the words that we speak being evidence of the type of tree we are. What we talk about greatly reveals what is in our heart and in our spirit. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” So, whatever your heart is full of that is what you will most easily and commonly speak of. If our words do not reflect his Word but rather the words of the world, that should be cause for great concern and examination. If we truly have the “good treasure” of the Holy Spirit and a new life within us our conversation will reflect that. However, if what we treasure, adore, and love is evil then our conversation and thoughts will abound in those things that are evil.
On the day of judgment it won’t just be the unrepentant murderers, drug dealers, prostitutes, and child abusers who are condemned, it will also be the unrepentant liars, gossipers, slanderers, and backstabbers who will be condemned. We can no longer minimize what we consider to be “small sin” in our church culture. Revelation says that “all liars will bear part in the lake of fire”. Our words reflect our heart and if our heart is unconverted our conversation will prove it. What is the fruit of your lips?
On the other hand, if you are truly saved and through this revealing passage in Matthew you find a rotten fruit that doesn’t belong, beg the Gardener to come and prune you. Even though pruning is painful it is life giving and necessary for greater fruitfulness.
Leave us a ‘comment’ below on how God has been Pruning your Life…..!
Preparing the Way,
~ Danae Martin