Do you still have “bear fruit” ringing in your ears, too?
Our last series was all about changing the heart. If we know why we react to circumstance the way we do, what we were trying to achieve with our actions, we can lay our desires and fears at the foot of the cross and begin to respond out of the Spirit. In other words, if we can identify the root, we can change, and produce different fruit.
At the end of our series, Shannon visited a few bears at an animal sanctuary.
Truth be told, we tried to get a real bear on stage. Yeah, I know… it would have been awesome. But after watching Shannon feed a bear through a cage, I’m not so sure he could have handled being face to face with a real one.
Which got me thinking…
Bears are dangerous; the volunteer in our video makes this clear. To their core, bears are bears. They think like bears and act like bears because they have the heart of a bear.
Isn’t this how we should be?
To the world, we should be dangerous. We should make people uncomfortable with our compassion, love, and willingness to serve. Our faith should threaten “their kingdom.”
Yet, there should be an odd curiosity about us, a strange desire to get close despite the danger. Seeing we are different, people will want to know why and some will even wonder if they could change, too.
But that’s only if we are really bears.
I know a real bear when I see one. You can dress Keith Trollinger up in a bear suit and stick him in the woods, but that doesn’t make him a bear. And if he comes around my campsite, I’m not going to be threatened in the slightest. I know there is no real danger.
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christ-follower. Being a member of a life group doesn’t mean you have a personal relationship with Jesus. Giving doesn’t mean you’ve surrendered your life and serve God as Lord. While these are vital to the life of a Christian, you can do these things and still not be a genuine Christ-follower. If your motive is wrong, you’re just wearing a Christian costume.
You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. – Matthew 7:16-17
Like a tree, our roots determine our fruit. Are you rooted in the Spirit? Are you seeking the Kingdom of God above all else? Are you crucifying yourself every day? When that’s our motive, the right fruit will be second nature.
Christ-follower isn’t a suit we can take on and off. It’s not something we do in addition to or on the side. Faith determines our every action, our every thought. It changes how we see the world, others, and ourselves. It’s who we are to our very core. And that makes us dangerous.
Are you wearing a costume or are you a real bear?
As you evaluate your heart, use this week’s set list to help you focus on Christ.