Stored Up In His Heart

Today's devotion from Luke 6. I remember an illustration my missions and church growth professor used in seminary. In a discussion on the Fruits of the Spirit, he painted a picture of a beautiful orchard. In this orchard one might find grape vines and various trees bearing apples or pears. He described how one might walk through this orchard surrounded by the vines and trees producing their respective fruits, but what you would not find would be these plants groaning with exertion or sweating with effort.

The reason, he went on to explain, is that the process of producing this fruit is natural to these plants. The apple tree just naturally bears apples. The vine naturally produces grapes. It just is who and what they are. He then speculated that so many people are frustrated by the Christian life because they're trying to bear something by force that they cannot bear by nature...good fruit.

You see, the ultimate frustration for many people is that they are so focused on trying to legalistically produce good Christian fruit that they have neglected to consider who and what they are. In short, if you are not a Christian, it will be impossible for you to naturally bear good Christian fruit in the long run. If you are a Christian, then that fruit will be the natural byproduct of who you are, not necessarily what you do.

Jesus says that the tree is known by its fruit, that is, you identify an apple tree because it bears apples. But, it can only bear those apples because, at its heart, it is an apple tree. What I'm trying to say is simply this: maybe your frustration is not a fruit problem, but a heart problem. What would your life look like if you didn't worry so much about external evidences, and, instead, focused more on cultivating Christ in your heart? Could it be that you would bear a better fruit?