What is truth? To be true, something must explain reality. Truth by all worldly standards must point in the direction of what is right. We live in a world where truth seems almost impossible to find anymore. How then, if you are fortunate enough to stumble upon something truthful, do you recognize it? It is easy to blame others in our society. There is surely enough blame to go around. Politics, Government, Education, and Media are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hatred, deception, and divisiveness. Yet, as our Savior walked this earth, the same issues were true. Can we find answers in God’s Words to help us recognize what is true?
(Luke 6:43-45)1NIV New International Version Translations – “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
We live in a rather binary world. Ideas, motives, and people’s lives can be either good or bad. To be indifferent, to be in the middle is never a good place to stand. The Apostle Luke is telling us that you can tell a person’s goodness or badness by the “fruits” they bear. If a person is mean and nasty, selfish, rude, and has no joy, they produce bad fruit. If a person is good, joyful, charitable, and merciful, they produce good fruit. Let’s start with a look at bad fruit.
(Galatians 5:19-23) – “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
How might we rewrite the list from Galatians today? Sex trafficking of our children, legalization of drugs, the importation of fentanyl, crime, murder, the failure to educate our children in Godly ways, abortion, and the constant drum beat of name calling (fascist, woke, racist, MAGA, bigot, birther, traitor, fanatic, extremist), lying, bribery, and the list goes on and on. To sum it up, a life, (a tree), is meant to produce good fruit, and a bad life, (either a corrupt or non-productive tree), produces nothing of lasting value. Hence, a tree (our life) will be known for its fruit. You can see right off the bat, that we are left to argue and disagree on what fruit is good and what fruit is bad. You need to decide. Is freedom good? Is socialism better? Is social justice without repentance good fruit or does true justice require a change in direction to be called good? Must a criminal stop committing crimes to become part of society again? Is it wrong to devalue life or is every life, no matter what color, social status, or accumulated wealth worth the same? Before you can tell what is true, you must decide what good fruit looks like. Eve thought the apple looked pretty good until after that first bite! Care must be taken here!
(Mark 4:3-8) – “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where they did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no roots. Other seeds fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants so that they did not bear grain. Still, other seeds fell on good soil. It came up, grew, and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
How the tree is planted and nourished can provide a few more clues. The Parable of the Sower (planter or farmer) gives us our first reasonable clues. The seeds (which produce trees) are all created equal. Each seed on its own contains the hope and joy of becoming a productive plant. It is a safe assumption that the Sower (God) wants to produce a crop and have good fruit from His harvest. But wait just one minute! The quality of the soil is paramount to the health of the tree. What clues can we see on how this pertains to humanity? Good soil might begin with sustaining a healthy family unit, mother, father, and siblings who respect each other. Wholesome work, a safe home and neighborhood would provide a fertile place to take root. Safety, the elimination of crime, and an educational system that provided the necessary skills to live a productive adult life might remain high on the list of “good soil.” While God created all seeds equal, we are responsible for the soil, its nutrients, and where we plant those seeds.
(Jeremiah 17:8) – “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
And again the Word of God comes through for us. Our tree needs water. Such an obvious ingredient. Water is life. No life form can exist without it. But where does a nation, bent on self-destruction through sin find water? Jeremiah prophesied a long time ago that “’ Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:1). Jeremiah is clear, God will hold our country’s leaders accountable for all their greed, bribery, and corruption. But to live with the joy God has promised in His Covenant requires a very special kind of water. This choice is totally up to us to make! Without Christ, without our Savior Jesus, there is no hope. Without Jesus, there is no water!
(John 4:13-15) – “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”
Finding God’s Truth is all about the rich fertile soil upon which to send our roots and the roots of our families for its nourishment. God’s Truth will correct us when we are wrong if we are not so arrogant as to ignore it! God’s Truth will always explain reality. Remember, God’s sense is the perfection of common sense. When the bias of a sinful world is finally set aside, the presence of God will always be the clearest. And finally, God’s Truth will always lead us to what is right. God’s Truth always leads us to God!
(2 Chronicles 7:14) – “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
- Who is dividing the people of our nation, of other nations, so they hate each other?
- Ideas to Explore: Is it that each group wants something different? Is it the constant drumbeat of negativism in our world?
- What is a good fruit to you?
- Ideas to Explore: Why would someone say over 2,300 abortions a day are a good fruit? Why would someone say 100K fentanyl deaths a year are good fruit? Will people ever agree on good fruit?
- Why have people divided themselves into two groups that are so opposite of each other?
- Ideas to Explore: Is there any common ground? Who is provoking each side? Who benefits from discord and who loses with peace?
- Why are our children the brunt of so much destructive and sinful behavior?
- Ideas to Explore: What does a nation lose if it loses the soul of its children?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations