Luke 6:44-45 (NKJV) For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
What is the abundance of my heart? Is my heart full of abundance? The words that I speak are seeds if the Word of God is true. The words that I speak determine the harvest in my life. Every tree is known by its fruit. The fruit of conversation is a harvest of our heart. A good man (or woman) out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good. What are our words producing today? Anything good coming out of them. Abundance means an extremely plentiful or over sufficient quantity or supply. It is an overflowing fullness. We give from abundance never from lack. Think about that for a moment. I can say all the right words, but if there is no abundance in my words to gather the listener will leave in the same condition they arrived. Does that matter? It sure does.
Matthew 12:36-37 (NKJV) But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
The life planted in us should be growing day by day into a fruitful harvest to be shared with others. By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned. Guilty as charged. Every idle word will be called to accountability one day. All those wonderful and encouraging conversations building up a loved one and encouraging a friend will be to my credit. All the rest of those wayward words and thoughtless tirades will not be held in my favor but must be covered by His Blood. My words hold power. Life and death are in my tongue. The Spirit of the Living God lives in me and fills my heart with good fruit. The fruit of His Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It has taken a long time and whole lot of Jesus for me to come to realize the awesome responsibility and ultimate accountability of every word I speak. I struggle daily to maintain godly conversations in a world filled with gossip, backbiting and perversity. My desire is to represent Jesus Christ effectively to others. My words are born of the abundance of my heart. When others receive them, what is the fruit of His Labor in me?
Luke 13:6-9 (NKJV) He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
“Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, ‘Let no fruit grow on you ever again.’ Immediately the fig tree withered away.” (Matthew 21:17-19) Jesus was hungry. When he saw the fig tree by the road, he went to take some fruit from it. Though covered in leaves signifying a hidden harvest – the Lord found it lacking any fruit at all. He cursed it and it soon withered. Jesus expected the tree to produce fruit according to fulfillment of purpose. Thankfully such judgment is not cast on those who choose not to produce any spiritual fruit but rather grace is applied in abundance. Grace and more grace like the kind in the parable of the barren fig tree. When the man presumably the owner came to find the abundance of his investment disappointingly there was none to be found. His solution was to cut it down and make room for a productive tree to grow. The “keeper”, however; made a request of the landowner that day. Let me dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next time – great. If not, than you can cut it down.
The Grace of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ allows us grace and mercy as His Spirit works in us and through us to produce a harvest of abundance to share with others. It allows us to give from the generosity of Jesus who cultivates fruit in us to share with others freely and abundantly. Sometimes that means the discomfort of digging a little deeper, plowing our hard heart, breaking our strong will, and sensitizing our spirit. It isn’t comfortable but it just might save my soul.
God created me with purpose. It leads to fulfillment. The way of failure is rebellion. When I lack spiritual fruit, it is a certain sign of disobedience. It reveals a disconnect from the abundance that I am given in Christ that needs to be reconnected so that I will indeed bear spiritual fruit and produce productive conversation. From the abundance of my heart, my mouth will speak. The fruit of my words is the harvest of my heart. Is it satisfying others, or starving their souls?
Ezekiel 37:1-3 (NKJV) The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
It is very easy to get caught up in our own little world. Our problems, temptations, circumstance, hurts, failures – you know all those things that consume us day by day. Our perception of life limited it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Our life is not our own. We belong to Jesus. This is not our home. Yet wrapped up in everyday life, we see people superficially never looking deeper than the surface. Afraid of what we might find or the responsibility to bear, relationally it is a challenge to reach beyond our three-foot perimeter of personal space let along step out of our comfort zone. As the Spirit of the Lord is given more and more real estate in us, beware for He will lift you above the here and now to show you that there is more to life than this and you have a responsibility to fulfill beyond it.
The Hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit. It has happened to me. It is not some spooky spiritual overtaking but an awakening of my spirit to see life through God’s Eyes rather than always thinking about myself. Just last week during a youth service, I was overcome with the vision of so many hurting and broken people. We had just had an amazing service but rather than continue to glory in our celebration my heart was heavy. So many people being consumed by the burdens of this life completely unaware that there is a God who loves them and wants to take care of them. The Lord has a way of showing us the “one another” who has called us to love and share life with. It is what we do with such revelations that change everything.
In the midst of the valley were dry bones. Bones that represented the absence of life. He saw the amount of death and was overwhelmed by the number of them. The Lord poses the question today that He did then, “Can these bones live?” The Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones and tell the Word of the Lord which is that “you shall live”. To prophesy means to foretell or predict the future. It means to indicate beforehand or make a prediction. When we prophesy the Word of God in a person’s life it will come to pass. If you can find it in God’s Word, you can have it. If God’s Word finds its way into our heart and grows there, we can offer its productivity to others.
Now when Ezekiel prophesied the first time, he spoke life and breath into those dry bones. Only life came to the physical body, but there was no breath in them which sustains life. When we come to Jesus Christ for salvation, he ends the death sentence in our life and gives us the grace of a new life. We can live in obedience to God and commitment to Christ reaping the benefits. But wait there is more…the Lord did not stop by just saving the dry bones and creating an army of arms and legs.
Breath is important. It represents the life in our body. When we come to Jesus Christ for salvation, we are saved because His Word says so. We have God’s Word. It is truth. But the Word of God tells us that we must worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth. We must have His Breath in our body operating as His Spirit. When the Promise of God (His Word) is coupled with His Power (His Spirit) a mighty army was formed. Dry bones came back to life again. Dead dreams are resurrected. Disappointment gives way to hope. To have the Word of God in our heart and never release it is to walk through a field of death and choose to withhold life from the dying. It is to be the two men who passed by the one hurt and dying on the side of the road, that is until the Good Samaritan came by. How many dying people do we hurry past in busyness? How many hurting people do we deal another blow by ignoring? How many words sown in hate and bitterness will I be responsible for when I see Jesus? What is the abundance of my heart today? Lord, show me the words that I speak from your perspective. Are they filled with life, love and abundance?
I Peter 3:8-12 (NKJV) Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
I want to bless the Lord with my words today…all of them. It is a struggle because there are temptations in life and well, we are surrounded by people who just as imperfect as we are. It is certainly a challenge to be examine each word thought for truth, relevance and love before it is spoken. This is a must for those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. We are called and empowered to produce abundance beginning with the cultivation of our heart. How are we doing? Each word should be laden with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. My words should be the very example of what love is and never what it is not. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Do my words speak of this kind of love or breed hate and discord? I was made to love. I am called to share the Gospel which is the Good News that God loves us. If my words are not filled with life then am I? Sobering to think that even though I try to say all the right words until they are filled with fruitful abundance from a heart complete committed to godly cultivation I am in danger of being cut down. Thankfully I am covered by unfailing love and unending grace. Grace that is enough for me to fill my heart so its abundance will always speak Jesus! Lord, fill me with new life today. Produce a harvest in me for others that will spill out in every conversation. I give my heart and mind to you once again today for fruitful cultivation.
Psalm 19:14 (NKJV) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.