A few months ago I wrote about the Tamarind tree in front of my house that the leaves and fruit can be used as a spice for traditional dishes and drinks (click here). The tree is large and very tall, far beyond the roof of our house. In the rainy season the leaves always grow vigorously and in summer the ripe fruit will fall to the ground. It’s really fun to pick it up. I feel like a happy farmer who harvests his work, whereas in fact I have never done anything for the growth of the tree. In fact, the tree grows by itself. For dozens, maybe even decades, the tree grew without anyone watering or weeding the surrounding soil. During that time the tree continued to live and bear fruit. However, this year something is different.
As in previous years, I was waiting for the ripe tamarind to fall on the ground. How happy I am, when the wind blows hard and hit the branches of the tree and then heard the distinctive sound of ripe tamarind fruit falling on the ground. However, immediately my excitement turned to be disappointed because the fruit that looks good on the outside is actually rotten inside. Why? What’s wrong? I looked at the tamarind tree. The trunk is large and tall, looks tough and strong. Dense fruit hanging from its branches. The tree looks healthy and there is no problem, but why is the fruit not as good as the tree’s appearance? There must be something inside of the tree that isn’t working as it should, because fruit is the result of internal processes.
The condition of the tamarind fruit shows that not always something looks good from the outside, as well as the quality inside. Likewise with fruit in human life. People can arrange their outward appearance to create the impression they want, for example to be seen as generous, loving, kind and pious. But sooner or later, the quality of “the fruit of the person’s life” will show his true spiritual condition. Regarding this, the Lord Jesus taught through a parable about the tree and fruit.
No GOOD tree bears bad FRUIT, nor does a bad tree bear GOOD FRUIT. Each tree is recognized by its own 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. (Luke 6: 43-45 NIV)
What is a GOOD tree and GOOD fruit? What is the meaning of FRUIT in human life? And what kind of people are categorized as A GOOD MAN who brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart?
The fruit comes from the word “karpos” which figuratively means: Everything done in true partnership with Christ, that is a believer lives in union with Christ, like a branch abides in the vine in order to bear fruit. Christ lives in us and we live in Him so that His life flows through our lives and we produce eternal fruit. So, the fruit in the life of a believer isn’t all achievements or successes in the world, but what is come out from intimacy with Christ, namely the character of Christ, which continues to be shaped and tested through various life processes.
In this passage the word “GOOD” comes from words that contain the meaning: Inspire or motivate others, as an outward sign of the inward good, a noble attitude and honorable character. In Greek there are several words to describe “good”. The word “good” in this verse is the higher word, namely “kalon“, which broadly contains the notion of physical or moral beauty that arises as a result of an appropriate response to a process.
The word “good” used for fruit is the same as the word “good” used for trees. So, tree and fruit should have the same quality. Not “good” that is just make up but sourced from within. Its outside appearance reflects the beauty inside. No manipulation, no acting, no cheating, no fake. A quality that naturally arises from within, not artificial.
A GOOD FRUIT is not AN EFFORT but A RESULT
Return to the tamarind tree, its disappointing fruit indicates that there is a process inside the tree that isn’t working as it should. Maybe bad weather is the main cause. Maybe it’s also because parts in the roots or trunks of the tree don’t function optimally so it can’t distribute nutrients properly. Whatever it is, once again, fruit is the result of internal processes and the quality of the fruit shows the quality of the tree. Therefore the most important thing is to ensure the conditions inside, then good fruit will be produced.
REMAIN IN CHRIST
Fruit always impressive because that’s what people see. But don’t focus on the fruit. Focus on our spiritual growth. The key is to build an ongoing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, like branches that must remain in the vine.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15: 4 NIV)
Let’s start with a step: Pray and read God’s words every day. Then do God’s word in every day of our lives in all conditions. That’s what it means to remain in Christ. The life of Christ flows in and through us so that what comes out of us comes from Christ. Only by remain in Christ, we will bear the fruit of life that pleases God. Only by remain in Christ, we will become A GOOD PEOPLE who brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart: those whose hearts have been touched and changed by Christ, believers whose lives are empowered by Christ through faith.
Remain in Christ will make our characters, paradigms, values, habits, even our dreams and goals, increasingly transformed into Christ and become like Christ. That’s the fruit of life with eternal value. Then. . . if one day we achieve certain achievements, success in career, become rich, or become famous, we will know that all of it is a gift and trust from God. All of achievements will not backfire for us because our hearts have been changed by God. And, even if God allows all of that to be lost from us, our faith and hope will not be lost because we have put our faith and hope in the right place, which is Christ. Our faith and hope in Christ will carry us through day after day in joy and sorrow, in good or bad situations, until we meet face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Vine where we remain throughout our lives. Amen.
By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words
Photo Credit: Google Images ( pxhere.com ) edited with pixlr apps