I have often heard people ask this question, “How do I know if someone is who they say they are?” We honestly don’t know who people are until we see what comes out of them. The fruit they bear will tell you who they really are. An apple tree does not produce lemons. Listen to what Jesus said about fruit bearing trees in Matthew 12:33:
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” (NKJV)
I like the way the New Living Translation puts it. “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.” Simply stated, the real you is evidenced by your fruit. Don’t fool yourself! What’s inside of you will eventually come out. I am astonished that people believe they can go through life pretending that they are apples, but the only fruit we see are lemons. There is another dynamic in the text we need to explore; the text makes a comparison between good and bad fruit.
Some fruit trees don’t produce fruit because the tree is over vigorous. Over vigorous trees expend all their energy in growing wood and do not produce flower buds. Jesus teaches that non-bearing trees are only good for one thing – firewood. Then some trees produce bad fruit.
I was born in the country of Panama. My mother and I immigrated to this country when I was thirteen years old. In Panama, mango trees grow very tall. During mango season, it was my delight to stone the ripe mangoes on the tree. I did not climb trees because I was too afraid of falling, so I would find rocks and throw at the mangoes knocking them from the tree. With practice, you would become very good at stoning mangoes.
There was this one particular tree that always had big, beautiful mangoes on it but no one would get them. The reason for this was that any time you ate a mango from that particular tree, it was rotten and full of worms. The tree was infected. As a result, every fruit it produced was unpleasant.
Sin makes us rotten on the inside, which is manifested on the outside by our behavior. Like that tree in Panama, the only fruit that comes from us is corrupt behavior, the kind of conduct that does not glorify God. In the natural, a tree that is not bearing fruit or one that produces rotten fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. But thanks be unto to God, because of Christ dying on the cross there is hope. The Spirit and the Word of God can transform a non-bearing rotten tree into a good fruit-bearing tree.
The Apostle Paul gives us the fruit every believer should bear. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)
What kind of tree are you?