“Either a tree is good and its fruit is good, or the tree is bad and its fruit is bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33.
Unless you have an interest in horticulture and botany, chances are that if you were to come across a tree in the dead of winter, when all its leaves are gone, you probably wouldn’t know what sort of tree it is. Though there may be other identifiable characteristics, such as the bark pattern, seeing the fruit or leaves of the tree still remains the easiest way to identify it.
Now, imagine you come across that same tree in the summer. Its leaves are lush and green, and its blooms have developed into red fruit. Now you see the fruit, and realize that this is an apple tree. The tree looks healthy and strong, and the fruit looks good and appealing. This tree is good and it produces good fruit. Beside this apple tree, you spot another apple tree; however, this second tree does not look so healthy and its fruit look withered and bad. This tree is diseased, therefore it produces bad fruit. A diseased tree can’t produce good fruit, and a healthy tree won’t produce diseased fruit. The trees are either good or bad, healthy or diseased.
Christ uses this simple analogy to explain something rather significant to his disciples. The state of our spiritual health is evidenced by the ’“fruit” we produce. A person who seeks to serve God will produce good fruit; that is to say that they will act out their faith. They will seek to do good deeds, donate their time and money to their church, and will continue you be actively engaged in spreading God’s word. However, a person who has no regard for seeking God will not produce good fruit. The fruit produced by this person has no spiritual value; instead they will act only in ways that will benefit themselves and their own fleshly desires. Christ makes it quite clear that the state of the tree’s health determines the nature of the fruit, and because of that, it is impossible for the spiritually dead tree to produce spiritual fruit. Likewise, the spiritually healthy tree should not produce dead, or sinful, fruit.
We are all either one type of tree or the other. We are either engaged in following Christ and seeking to bring forth fruit that will identify us as Christians, or we are seeking to please ourselves and producing fruit that identifies us with the world. We cannot have a combination of both, we must be one or the other. What kind of fruit are you producing?