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You … A Fruit Tree? Matthew 12.33-35

Oh, goodness—I remember my mom quoting this poem to me—I loved it when I was a little girl, and I still do:

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear a nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.1

Trees are mentioned a lot in the Bible . . . that works for me because I love trees. They come in all shapes, sizes, varieties, ages, and climates across the world.

Trees are representative of life itself.

In Scripture we find mention of firs, poplars, oaks, balsas, cedars, fig and olive trees that God purposed for many things—fruit, shelter, building material and fuel. Look what is recorded in the very first chapter of Genesis--“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” Genesis 1.11

Jesus likewise talked about the fruit of vines: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing2… When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.3

Let’s get personal a minute: How is your fruit? I mean, if you represent a tree, or a grapevine as Jesus referenced, what is the quality and quantity of the fruit you produce?

Jesus speaks to the crowd:

“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.

You brood of snakes! [Jesus was addressing a crowd here in Matthew chapter 12 which included many pious Pharisees, looking for ways to ‘catch Jesus’ and subsequently get rid of him. Thus they had just busted him for breaking the Sabbath: his disciples had plucked grain to eat as they were hungry, and Jesus healed a man as well—also on the Sabbath.] “How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 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.” Matthew 12.33-35

So, how is your fruit? What comes out of your mouth? Well, according to Jesus, what comes out of your mouth is a reflection of what is in your heart.

For instance, if you’re filled with joy, then joy will come out of your mouth.

But if you’re filled with bitterness,

have trouble forgiving,

struggle with anger,

harbor disappointment,

battle constant frustration

or find yourself quietly seething with rage,

then eventually those attitudes are going to show up in the words you speak! Like a rising river, what is inside you – if not corrected by the Spirit of God – will eventually overflow the banks of your soul and spill out of your mouth, possibly adversely affecting everyone around you.4 Unchecked words hurt.

Time to have a heart checkup!


1 – Trees by Joyce Kilmer, August, 1913 edition of Poetry Magazine.

2 - John 15.5, NKJV

3 – John 15.8, NLT

4 – partially influenced by Careful of What You Dump On Those Who Are Listening to You! | Sparkling

My Grandfather Miller lived on a large parcel of land that was located just outside Tulsa. Right in ...

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