Words from the Heart for Saturday December 17th, 2016
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Luke 3:8a (NIV)
There is more to repentance than saying sorry. Actions change. Attitudes are transformed. Reconciliation is sought. How do your apologies measure to this standard?
About half of Ontario’s apples are marketed as fresh apples. The other half is used for processing. Of the fresh-market portion, three-quarters are marketed through apple packers who distribute the product to grocery stores. Pick-your-own operations, farmers’ markets and roadside stands mostly use their own production. Ninety percent of the processing apples are used to make juice. Other uses include applesauce, slices and pie fillings. McIntosh apples are most often used for juice and Northern Spy for pie filling. Most packers distribute apples under the “”Orchard Crisp”” brand name. All “”Orchard Crisp”” apples are grown in Ontario and must meet strict standards for quality control. Ontario exports approximately 10% of its apples. The United States receives the largest percentage of Ontario exports at 65%, with the United Kingdom receiving about 30% of total exports.
A farmer does not need to command an apple tree to produce apples. He only has to make sure that the tree is healthy, that there is good soil and enough water, nutrients and sun. When everything that is necessary for an apple tree to produce is in place, the apple tree is going to produce apples. There is a wonderful spiritual truth here. Followers of Jesus are called to produce spiritual fruit. Paul says in Galatians 5:22-23 that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In Luke 3, we read the words for John the Baptist as he is speaking to the crowds who had gathered around him. Luke 3:8a says “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” This is an interesting command. On the surface it seems to be about producing fruit. But the principal of fruit production, both physically and spiritually, is that fruit naturally grows when the tree is healthy and has all it needs. So the command is not to produce fruit but to repent. When we repent, which is the act of the will to turn our back on sin and walk in a new direction, we provide the spiritual soil in which spiritual fruit can be produced. The Holy Spirit through the Word of God then provides the spiritual nutrition we need for the fruit of the Spirit to be produced in us. Are you seeing such fruit in your life?
These have been words from the heart.