Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bad Fruit by Bob Mumford

So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.[1]

One of God’s first instructions after He created the earth was “be fruitful and multiply.”[2] He expected seed to bear after its kind and bring forth life. Agape is not a gift; it is a fruit. Fruit is the result of the Eternal Seed that has been planted, cultivated, and brought to maturity in us. He planted His Agape Seed in us at our new birth, expects it to grow, and holds us responsible for the watering and nourishment of that Seed. Agape cannot be imitated or manufactured; it is something we learn and practice. We are instructed to keep ourselves in the Agape of God.[3] This is something we have to continually practice and cultivate so that we have something of God’s Seed to give to a hurting world. Fruit is a product of righteousness that is sown in peace.[4]  No one is excluded from the expectation of producing fruit. The Kingdom is given to those who will bring forth the fruit of that Kingdom. 

In Greek, the word for bad fruit is porne meaning to take hold of someone in such a way as to do them injury. Bad fruit is described in Hosea 10:13, “You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your way….” Bad fruit is when our life or testimony does injury or harm to ourselves, our neighbor, and Father’s reputation in the earth. Bad fruit is a result of something inside us that has been twisted by eros. We can eat the bad “fruit of our own way and be satiated with our own devices”[5] for many years. Absence of good fruit leaves a vacuum in which religious and ascetic behavior can flourish. Paul strongly encouraged us to “not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.”[6]

Many people think anger is bad fruit, but anger is not the real issue; it is our response to anger that reveals the fruit. I remember checking into a hotel where I was to speak the next morning. The hotel did not give me the right room and frankly, I was angry. One of the hotel staff got on the elevator as I was going up to my room and I was so wrapped up in myself that I responded harshly to her. I have done this with my children, with my friends, and with people I’ve pastored. This was undeniable evidence of bad fruit in my life. No excuses. No shifting blame. The reality is that when bad fruit appears, we are accountable to ourselves and to the King and His Kingdom. Father has to show us how to expose unfruitful deeds of darkness and what it means to walk in light so we actually treat people with Agape even when we are irritated. This process begins with repentance. Jesus must take us out of eros and teach us how to walk differently, which requires a reformation of our whole person. Freedom is walking into Light.

Thoughts & Questions

v  Why is Agape not a gift, but a fruit?
v  What are some results of bad fruit?
v  Describe how bad fruit has affected your own life.

[1] Matthew 7:17-19
[2] Genesis 1:28
[3] Jude 21
[4] James 3:17-18
[5] Proverbs 1:31
[6] Ephesians 5:11

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