August 20

Building on the Rock, Part 3

Matthew 7:15-19 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

The other comparison Jesus makes before speaking about building on the rock (see yesterday’s devotional) is between a tree that bears good fruit and one that bears bad fruit. After showing us that all our steps of faith are similar to our first one, Jesus shows us another helpful bit of direction: look at the fruit of what you’re doing.

We’re never to judge anything like the world does. And there is no (I repeat, no) condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). But the fifth chapter of Galatians helps us see if we are building on the rock or sand.

Galatians 5:19-21a gives us fruits of the flesh: “…adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like….” Not a pretty list, but it can be a helpful one. If we see these things in our lives or in a corner of our lives, we’re not building on the rock in that area. Is there a relationship or activity characterized by jealousy, or ambition, or hatred? If so, whatever we think we’re building there is on a foundation of sand.

Galatians 5:22-23 presents us with the fruit of the Holy Spirit: “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” To the extent that we can see those fruits in our lives, a relationship or an activity, we’re building on the rock.

One word of encouragement here: Trials aren’t fruit. Just because you’re undergoing a trial in an area, that doesn’t mean that the trial itself is bad fruit. It may simply be a trial from God to prune and increase your good fruit somewhere.

There is fruit that comes from all we do. To know how we’re building, let’s take a look at what fruit we’re producing. God’s word helps us here with Galatians’ descriptions of the specific fruit Jesus is talking about in Matthew. God’s Holy Spirit helps us by convicting us of sin as we produce bad fruit, and by encouraging us with His joy and peace as we produce good fruit.

We also benefit from the body of Christ as we allow others to speak into our lives, helping us to see our gifts and callings, encouraging us where we are flowing with God’s spirit, and helping us to see areas that need building up. The Lord wants us building on the rock—for our sake and His—and He is gracious enough to equip us with clarity and direction as to how to do that.

Prayer: Father, I want to produce good fruit. Please show me where I am, that I might be encouraged and continue. Please show me where I’m not, that I can turn toward You for forgiveness and help. Thank You for this valuable direction in helping me to build on the Rock.