Lent – Day 16

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Today’s Thought: What fruit does my heart yield?

 “The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

John Wesley, theologian and co-founder of Methodism, spoke and wrote frequently about “religion of the heart.” Wesley believed that true faith originated from the heart and was revealed through a person’s behavior. When he experienced his moment of conversion in 1738, Wesley wrote that his own heart was “strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

Wesley’s emphasis on religion of the heart corresponds with the words of Jesus as recorded in two of the four gospels. Interestingly, one is found in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7; the other is found in Jesus’s Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6. In both accounts, Jesus uses the metaphor of ‘bearing fruit’ for discerning the true hearts of believers. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit… You will know a person’s heart by their actions and words, for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. Thus you will know them by their fruits.

In Matthew, Jesus urges his followers to be on the lookout for false prophets, judging their ‘fruits’ to discern their true hearts. While in Luke, Jesus urges the people to examine their own fruits and discern their own hearts. Not happy with your behavior? Check your heart. Figs aren’t gathered from thorns, grapes aren’t picked from brambles, and good works cannot be produced from a heart of evil… or apathy.

 

Saturday Scripture-in-Sync

Old Testament:  Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield. (Joel 2:22)

New Testament:  “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.  (Luke 6:43-44)

Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the 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.  Thus you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:16-20)

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