The Examined Fruit of Joy

As a junior in high school, I had incredible statistics as an inside linebacker. In terms of tackles and forced fumbles, I was it. My coach had filled out interest cards for colleges, so there was a lot of appeal from what he had shared with them. He shared my stats which were superb. He shared my personal attributes like leadership, responsibility and grades. Again, they were great. He also shared the numbers for my height, weight and speed. Again, they were great, but they were also very liberal. He shared my height at 5’11”. My weight was 185 pounds and 4.5 seconds as my speed for the 40 yard dash. For those who don’t know me, he gave me 4″, 20 pounds and 1 second.

Needless to say, the colleges wrote a lot of letters. There were no computers to watch youtube because the internet did not exist. In fact, we had just received computers my senior year. You know, the ones with the 5 1/4 floppy disc drives. LOL. Letters were what athletes received in my day. I was excited about all of the interest in my from those schools, but then something happened. When we make claims, someone comes to verify what we have asserted. The coaches from the division one colleges who came to scout me lost their interest. I had even better stats as a senior. I did not get into trouble. I still had good grades. What happened? They realized the liberality that my coach had shared with them regarding my size. At 5’7″ and a 165 pounds, I was disqualified from their interests. I did not fit their profile; I did not have the fruit they were looking for as a football player in terms of size.

Just as those coaches examined recruits for their size, speed, grades and the like, God examines those who claim to be His. In Matthew 3, we see John the Baptist state exactly this as the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized. Baptism was and is an outward expression of an inward change. It is an expression of repentance from your sinful ways to a commitment to the ways of God. More importantly, it represents as commitment to follow God whole-heartedly.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

In essences, John the Baptist asserted that real repentance would produce the “fruit” of concrete moral behavior in accordance to what God outlines. In Galatians 5:22-23, the Apostle Paul uses the metaphor of fruit to describe the conduct of the believer. He says “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” He further presents the fruit metaphor in Rom. 6:22; Eph. 5:9; and Phil. 1:11.

In Matthew 7, Jesus sets the foundation for the establishment of the fruit metaphor. In regards to the sincerity of a person’s repentance and faith, Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” Jesus sets forth notion that there are specific fruits from following Him.  The Examined Fruit of Joy is a resulting qualifier for one’s faith in Jesus. If you claim to know and follow Jesus, you must bear the fruit of the Spirit of which joy is one. Remember John the Baptist words, “every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Be for real with yourself. The Examined Fruit of Joy will lead to disqualification for further interest in joining God’s team.



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