80. Heart

Read: LUKE 6:43-49

The Tree and its Fruit

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Building on a Solid Foundation

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

Reflect

Jesus had been talking about having a heart or character like that of God. It was the condition of his listener’s hearts that he was concerned about. Then Jesus went on to use two metaphors to frame explanations on how you recognise and go about changing your character. It was a clever little paragraph:

  1. You know a good tree because it produces good fruit.
  2. Trees are like hearts and good hearts produce good things.
  3. Your words overflow from your heart.
  4. But words need to be backed up with actions.
  5. Because words without actions is like building on sand.

It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? A good heart, good deeds or good words? Through this story, Jesus tells us that it starts by hearing what he has to say and putting what we hear into practice. When we do this, our hearts and words will follow. In other words, at the risk of mixing metaphors, if you want to bear good fruit in your life then lay a firm foundation. And when the difficulties of life, like a flood, come to take us out, our strength of character (good heart) will help see us through.Our character is not defined when we’re born and is not set in stone. Like a muscle, if we exercise it in the right way then it’ll grow. Putting Jesus’ words into action is like exercising our hearts, and our character will develop to be more like the character of God. So, if we claim to be a follower of Jesus, then we need to put his words into action. We need to exercise our hearts.

Do

Today, what is God asking you to do? What message have you heard from Jesus that you can put into action?

Pray

Holy God,I choose to build my life on you, and I trust in your son, Jesus Christ. May I dig a deep foundation, by putting His words into action. That my life may be filled with fruit – fruit that will last. This day and for ever. Amen.

Think

How does having a strong heart, or depth of character, help us withstand the storms of life?