Your Christian Walk
What It Means to be Fruity

Navigate

Key question

Are you a fruity Christian?

This essay helps you answer that question about yourself.

Better yet, it shows you what to do if you don't like the answer.

Okay, you're saved. Now what?

Suppose you asked several Christians the question, "What is God's goal for your life now that you have received Jesus as your Savior?"
Here are some of the
typical answers you might receive...

  • Go to church
  • Read my Bible
  • Pray
  • Tell others about Christ
  • Give money to the church
  • Serve God
  • Help out at church
  • Live holy
 

Think about the typical Christian answers to your question.

How would you rate each of them?

Poor, fair, good, very good, or excellent?

   

Should your rating be "excellent?"

Every answer listed above starts with a verb -- go, read, pray, tell, give, etc. In other words, these answers are ACTIONS which a Christian should do.

The Bible calls these actions GOOD WORKS. Ephesians 2.10 clearly states that Christians were "created in Christ Jesus for good works."

Accordingly, regardless of how you rated these answers initially, would you NOW say that they are "excellent?"

Whoops! Back the wagon up a doggone minute and read again the question -- "What is God's goal for your life...?"

  • If God's goal is for you to "go to church," WHY? So you can fill up a pew?
  • If God's goal for you is to "give money to the church," WHY? Is God short of funds?
  • If God's goal is for you to "tell others about Christ," WHY? Is God's arm too short to save people without your help?
For we are His (God's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2.10  
   

Confusion sayeth: "Reaching your destination is less important than how well you travel."

Can someone faithfully do good works and still fail to meet God's goal for his or her life? Matthew 7.22-23 answers "yes!" Let's look at three examples of how this can be.

  (Jesus said...) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Mt 7.22-23

Example ONE

Israel sinned greatly against God, again and again. Eventually, God's judgment fell upon them. He decreed that Assyria would conquer and enslave the Israelites.

It was God's purpose that the Assyrian king would lead his armies to attack and ravage Israel.

But here's a very strange thing. Even though the Assyrian king carried out God's purpose, God vowed to PUNISH the king for this WORK. Why?

The Bible tells us that the Assyrian king had a WRONG ATTITUDE in doing God's work. Namely, the king gloried in his own strength and wisdom, thus failing to acknowledge that it was only by God's permission that he was able to conquer God's people, Israel.

  (God said...) "I will send him (the Assyrian king) against an ungodly nation (Israel)... Isa 10.6

Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, "
I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.'' For he (the Assyrian king) says: "By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent; also I have removed the boundaries of the people, and have robbed their treasuries; so I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man. Isa 10.12-13

Example TWO

It was God's purpose that Jonah would preach to the wicked people of Ninevah, giving them a chance to repent and be saved from destruction. But Jonah hated Ninevah and tried to flee from God.

Eventually Jonah obeyed God and preached to Ninevah. The people of Ninevah repented and were saved. Truly a good work on Jonah's part, right? Yet God chastised him with heat and thirst (read Jonah 4.7-8). Again, WHY? And again, the same answer -- wrong motive. Jonah preached grudgingly and with hatred, not love.

  (God said to Jonah, the prophet:) "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.'' But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Jonah 1.2-3a

And Jonah began to enter the city (Ninevah) on the first day's walk. Then he cried out and said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!'' So the people of Nineveh believed God... But
it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. Jonah 3.4-5a, 4.1

Example THREE

It was God's purpose that King David would make a census of Israel and Judah. David made the census, but knew in his heart that he sinned in doing this work. David obeyed God, but for the WRONG REASONS.

The Bible doesn't describe the exact nature of David's sinful motives. Perhaps David feared that God could not bring victory, so he wanted assurance his army was strong enough to help God along. God chastised David, not for WHAT he did, but for WHY he did it.

  Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He (God) moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah.'' 2 Sam 24.1

And
David's heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.''
2 Sam 24.10

How to do good deeds and end up with NOTHING!

Zero! Zilch! Nada!

David, and the Assyrian king, and Jonah ALL performed works according to God's purpose. Yet they were PUNISHED by God -- not for their works, but for their ATTITUDE in doing those works.

Learn this lesson and learn it well!
With God, your HEART'S ATTITUDE in doing good works is far more important than the works themselves. This principle is clearly stated in 1 Cor 13.2-3.
  Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 1 Cor 13.2-3

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Gal 5.22-23

...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Cor 10.31b
 

Don't squeeze the fruit!

The Bible has a special name for the attitude of your heart. That special name is FRUIT.

  • Doing a good work is NOT fruit.
  • Fruit isn't based on WHAT you do.
  • Fruit is based on WHY you do it.
  • Fruit is your heart's MOTIVE for doing what you do.
  • Moreover, fruit is how your heart REACTS to what you do.

For example, leading someone to Christ is a work, not a fruit. Moreover, the person whom you lead to Christ is God's fruit, not yours (1 Cor 3.7).

The love of Jesus in your heart that gives you the desire and courage to bear witness of Him -- THAT is the fruit!


God is a fruit farmer

If you give money to the church, that is indeed a good work. You have done exactly what Eph 2.10 asks of you. After all, God really needs your money. No doubt He couldn't get by without it.

NOT!!!

Sorry for the silliness. God doesn't NEED money (or any other kind of help) to accomplish His will. Yet God has chosen to do much of His work in and through YOU!

In heaven's name, why YOU of all people? Colossians 1.10 answers that question. God wants you to do good works for one main reason -- so that you may be FRUITFUL.

  For we are His (God's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2.10

(A prayer from the Bible...) That you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God Col 1.10

Now in the morning, as He (Jesus) returned to the city, He was hungry.
And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found
nothing on it but leaves.
Jesus said to it, "Let no fruit grow on you ever again.''
And immediately the fig tree withered away.
Mt 21.18-19

Fruit? Or just a bunch of useless leaves?
As was the case in Matthew 21.18-19, the Lord stills long for fruit.
Namely, fruit of the Spirit -- in YOU.

Are your works yielding fruit, or merely a bunch of showy leaves?

Giving money to God is good work

  • Giving because you love God yields fruit.
  • Giving grudgingly or fearfully or pridefully yields only leaves.
  • Unless you give with love and faith, keep your money! God neither needs nor wants it.
 

Cleaning toilets is good work

One Sunday I asked my Pastor what he needed done, and he told me to clean the church's toilets. Not exactly what I had in mind...

  • The boy's bathroom was really BAAAAD! Urine was all over the floor and great globs of unflushed stuff floated in the toilet bowls.
  • Let me tell you something folks, I am NOT a big fan of filthy bathrooms.
  • I suppose God had decided I needed to grow the fruit of humility. Well, I did. Then again, maybe not. Since I have just bragged to you about it, maybe it was just a leaf after all. (God is still working on me.)

If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
1 Pet 4.14a

Bitter discovery -- glorious fruit!

Whenever you do a work for God, remember this -- God is just as concerned with what your work does inside of YOU as He is with what your work does for the world around you.

Suppose you witness about Christ to a friend. It's a good work but perhaps you fail...

  • You are rejected.
  • You are insulted.
  • You are shunned.
  • You feel foolish and inadequate.
  • You feel you have let God down.
  • Worst of all, you make a bitter discovery: doing God's work can be PAINFUL!

Most likely you see only the failure. But don't forget, God is a fruit farmer...

  • Do you stubbornly cling to your trust in God's goodness to save your friend? Fruit!
  • Do you obstinately persist in believing in the power of the Gospel? More fruit!
  • Do you witness to your friend yet again? Do you persevere despite every set-back, every insult, every rejection? Delectable fruit indeed!
  • Do you weep for your friend's lost soul? Do you never cease praying for God's help and mercy for your friend? The most glorious fruit of all!

Summary (How to be a fruity Christian)

God ordains that you do good works in Christ Jesus (Eph 2.10).

  • One of God's main purposes for your good works is that they produce fruit in your heart and spirit (Col 1.10).
  • The fruit that God desires to produce within you is the fruit of the Spirit -- love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
  • The good works you do will yield fruit unto God's pleasure ONLY if you have a loving motive for doing those works (1 Cor 13.2-3).
  • Doing God's work can be painful! (1 Pet 4.14a)
  • When disappointment and injustice visit you, REJOICE! (James 1.2) God will use that pain for pruning you, little branch, that you may bear yet more fruit unto His glory and pleasure (John 15.1-5).
  (Jesus said...) "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser (fruit farmer). Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
John 15.1-2

My brethren,
count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Jam 1.2-4

Do good works with love and faith in your heart.
Sweet fruit WILL grow!

Regardless of whether or not your works succeed, you will be a great success in the eyes and heart of your Father in Heaven. Hallelujah!

Are you a fruity Christian?
May God grant that you are.
Amen

Home

Site Map

Search

Prayer
Requests

Poetry
Archives

Email me
I WILL reply