“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.” Luke 6:44 (NIV)
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33 (NIV)
People judge us by what we do, more than by what we say. All Americans know the commonly used phrase, “actions speak louder than words.” Therefore, lifestyle witnessing is so important and a wonderful way to lead others into the saving grace of God.
Trials are difficult to weather, but even harder when you know all eyes are on you. Believers and non-believers will be watching your reactions to good news and bad news. Observers want to see if your faith is sincere, and whether it truly has the ability to see you through your struggle.
If you experience peace in the midst of your storm, people will notice and draw close. They will want what you possess. Opportunities may arise where you can share your faith. Then again, others may not ask direct questions about your tranquility, but they will watch you just the same.
Christians with sincere hearts and faith do trip up and sin, especially when undergoing times of affliction and adversity. Extreme pressures are painful and may cause moments of living in the flesh. Sadly, the world often watches for an opportunity to find fault in believers. They will notice and acknowledge the ONE time we loose our patience over the twenty times we show grace under fire. They may be quick to call us hypocrites when really we a merely sinners.
If this happens and you feel judged, don’t let it discourage you. Trials can bring out the best and worst in all of us. The enemy would love to dishearten and dissuade you. He knows trials are great opportunities for Christians to witness and that he could loose some of his advantage. Satan will try to convince you that your moment of sin has closed all doors to sharing the Truth with others. Don’t believe him! God can do the impossible and make good things happen out of bad.
Difficult times mature our faith and strengthen our trust in God. Faith is a seed and it takes time to take root and grow. The fertilizer is the Word of God and we all grow at different rates. How far our big toe remains in the world will influence the speed to our Christian maturity.
If you are sold out and reading the Bible daily, you will grow faster than the sprout that is not daily watered. Undernourished believers are easily tossed by the winds of temptation. Hardships are harder when the Holy Spirit can’t bring scripture to mind that instruct and encourage.
When you are walking with God you will bear good fruit that honors Him and gives Him glory, even if you slip up once in awhile and sin. When you are not walking in the spirit, there is little hope for good fruit. Matthew 12:33 tells us that, “a tree is known by its fruit.”
Trials can easily make us thornbushes or briars, and who wants to pick fruit from them? It takes a conscious effort to put on the peace that transcends all understanding. By following the instructions of Philippians 4:6-7 we gain this miraculous peace. It enables us to walk through difficult struggles with serenity, witnessing to those around us who are watching our painful journey. This peace will guard our hearts and minds and keep our focus on the One who is in control of our situation.
Philippians 4:8 goes on to advise us to focus our thoughts on lovely things that are noble, admirable, right, and praiseworthy. When our circumstances begin to overwhelm us, we must focus our attention on the admirable and praiseworthy things God has done for us in the past. He was faithful then and will remain so throughout eternity.
God is the Tree of Life, the Vine. We are the branches, from them flowers and fruit will come. It will be good fruit if we are a branch on His tree. If our roots are deeply set in the soil of God’s Word, no wind will uproot us and no storm will destroy us.
May the peace of Christ be in you today. May He grant you opportunities to share it with those around you who thirst for it as well. Blessings!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV)