FRUIT TREE WISDOM FROM JESUS
MATTHEW 12:33-37 NKJV
33 "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. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 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. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Jesus, who was the master communicator, used simple illustrations to drop some major wisdom. In our verses for today, He is using fruit trees to reveal a powerful lesson. What is in us will come out of us.
A tree is known by its fruit. This is how we classify a tree apple, orange, pear, etc. And this is how we identify if the tree is good or bad. You never hear someone say, "Well, last year that tree gave apples, but we are seeing if we get apples this year, might get pears this year." Nope, apples last year, apples this year. This is what kind of tree it is.
And you never hear people say it's a great tree, but the apples are horrible. Nope, bad apples, bad tree.
But Jesus was not giving botany lessons. As always, He used natural things to reveal spiritual truth. Trees are known by their fruit, and people are the same way. What is in us is what will come out of us. Out of the abundance of what is in our heart, our mouth speaks.
Jesus further clarified this truth by talking about the treasure in our heart. At face value, the word treasure can be confusing. We typically think of treasure as a really good thing. So how can someone have an evil treasure? The word deposit helps us understand a bit clearer. A good man who has deposited good things in his heart produces good. Good things will come out of his mouth. An evil man who has filled his heart with evil things is going to produce evil or bad. Evil words come out of his mouth. We can substitute the word bad or negative for evil and not take away from what Jesus is saying. Negative in, negative out. This is the reason we must treat the input into our lives with the utmost care. We can't consistently feed on dark negative things and not have it impact what is in us.
And Jesus was not finished talking about our words. We will be held accountable for the words we speak. Yikes! We are prone to focus on our actions, but that is only part of the equation. From heaven's perspective, our words are just as important. What we do and what we say matters.
If we want to change our words, there are two areas to consider.
The first is to actually regard our words to be important. Joy and I were exposed to some great teachings along these lines early on. It took me some time to get better at using the right words. I was too used to just spouting off, especially when I was angry. I am grateful the Lord helped me. But Joy and I made a very conscious effort to not speak negatives about our marriage, children, and our future. We were far from perfect, but we were aware, and that's a good starting place.
The second area to consider when changing our words is to change our input. Again, I am grateful to have come up under ministries that emphasized the importance of reading and feeding on God's Word. God's Word is the best deposit we can put in our hearts. God's Word is powerful and can change our perspective, inner image and impact our vision of what is ahead. When the inside changes, the outside will follow. A good deposit brings forth good things. Those are Jesus' words, and they still apply today.
Lord, help me put a watch on my words. I want to be a good "tree" producing good things in my world.