I remember when we lived in Pennsylvania. There were lots of neat things to see there (the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, etc.), and they had their unique food items, (cheese steak), etc.
One thing we regularly noticed, though, was that the Produce Dept. in thier grocery stores wasn't nearly as good as it was here. Meijer's had a lock on a good produce department--at least in comparison to southeast PA!
Have you ever thought that you and I have our own "spiritual produce"?
It's true! We 'produce fruit' every day, (whether we want to or not!).
The question isn't whether we produce fruit...the question is the quality of fruit we produce....do WE have a good 'spiritual produce department', or not?
Jesus said "by thier fruit you will know them; a good tree will not produce bad fruit and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. You will know them by thier fruit." (Matthew 7:16-20)
John (the Baptist), who took center stage in the "Preparation" of the people for the ministry of Jesus (see my blog on "Preparation" from last week) said that the people should "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance" (Luke 3:8), or--put another way--'Show by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.'
What does "fruit in keeping with repentance" look like?
Depends--on the sin(s) you've been called to repent from:
Were you a thief in some way? Be honest and generous.
Were you lustful? Set your mind on pure things.
Were you angry and vengeful? Cultivate grace, mercy and forgiveness.
Were you greedy? Be generous.
Did you eat too much? Show self control!
Were you unfaithful to your spouse? Confess, repent, and love the faithfully, the way God calls you to!
Did you compromise your standards in order to 'fit in'? Repent! Turn back! Stand up for what is right in God's sight--no matter the cost!
There are no shortage of specific examples of the 'fruit of repentance' that may need to show up in your life (and mine).
Yet, I've had many people tell me at various times 'I AM repentant, and I DO want God to change me...but just not in THIS area' (they don't say it that bluntly, but that's what they mean, in practice).
The quality of their 'produce department' is lacking!
How do we do this? Through self-effort? Through Religion?
Through the power of the Holy Spirit!
Prayer...worship...obedience...and learning to 'walk in step with' the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5) will produce that fruit.
Today, ask God to show you the areas of your life that you need to repent of. Willingly give those over to God, and ask Him to work in you to "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance". Be willing to let Him do His work within...
...and your "produce department" will be very well stocked!