How to be Wise and Good
by Elaine Pierce
Appearances can be deceiving. We've all heard horror stories of how people are taken in by slick-talking charlatans and end up losing their life's savings. All you have to do is turn on the news, or go to your social media feed, and you will see the latest con story. Sadly, the church isn't immune to fakery. And as Jesus' followers today, we need to be "shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16)
The two examples Jesus gives in these verses seem to be obvious, don't they? Of course a "bad" tree can't produce "bad" fruit. And a house built on sand will surely not last long. Why is it we are so often taken in by shiny facades, by shallow first impressions that turn out to be just that: no depth, no roots, just guile and charm?
I think the answer is right in front of us. We are sinful, fallen people, and we want to control our lives. It is so very hard to admit that we want to be in charge. Every day I struggle to "let go, and let God." On my own, I simply can't do it, and I so easily fall into the temptation of expecting good fruit out of bad trees, and sturdy foundations out of shoddy, shaky beginnings.
Jesus knows this about us. And he loves us, despite our sin. He exhorts us in this passage to bear good fruit and to build a solid foundation. I don't have to tell you how to do that. You and I both know that Bible study, prayer and worship are the keys. There are no gimmicks, no tricks, to living a faithful, spirit-filled life. Thanks be to God that he paid the ultimate price for us, and that one day, he will greet us and say "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Lord, I confess too often I follow my own desires, and I don't want to submit to your will. Help me recognize how much you love me and long for me to come to you daily. Forgive me when I fail, and life me up to serve you. Amen.