The Fruit of the Faithful

lipsIf you’ve ever seen me in the fruit section of the grocery store, you may have noticed that I’m picky when I’m picking my apples.  I’m not a grab-and-go any-apple-will-do kind of guy.  I’m selective; I want an apple that’s red, colorful, tasty, and juicy.

While the fruit section is known by its apples, Jesus said we are known by the fruit we bear.

In Hebrews 13:15 the writer said you should, “continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name.”  This is possible when you realize that God has “put a new song in your mouth, a song of praise to your God (Psalm 40:3).”

What does the fruit of your lips say about you?  Is your disposition sweet or sour? What about that song in your mouth?  Is it a harmony of blessings and compliments or complaints that are sharp and edgy?

After a series of skirmishes and near fatal incidences, David reflected on the presence of God during these difficult times, and he, “spoke to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And he said:

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;

My shield and the horn of my salvation,

My stronghold and my refuge;

My Savior, You save me from violence.

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;

So shall I be saved from my enemies.

David was on the Most Wanted Listed, and his enemies hated him.  Even when he was encircled by those who hated him the most, he knew the presence of God was his refuge. In this refuge, he would never be a fugitive from His grace.

God’s presence is an asylum for the assaulted, a retreat for the weary, and a sanctuary of mercy for the masses.

Celebrating the goodness of God when everything is going right is easy, but David knew that God was still present even in the darkest hours of his life.  It was after one of these dark moments and deadly battles that God placed a song in his heart, and David said:  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.

When was the last time you paused to give thanks to God and to sing to Him because He is worthy to be praised?  Giving thanks and praise, is the means through which you draw closer to God and increase your joy.

The Sinister and the Saint

eyeI’m not sure if I should label it progression or regression, but I have gone from wearing no glasses, to bi-focals, and for several years now I have moved into the tri-focal stage.

Each step in this vision process involved a trip to the eye doctor and a prescription for new glasses.  The last time I got a new prescription for eyeglasses, I noticed the abbreviations OS and OD. The OS is for the left eye, and it is a Latin abbreviation that means “oculus sinister.”   The right eye is OD and is the Latin “oculus dextrus.”

The fact that I have a sinister left eye, made me curious, and I looked at the etymology of oculus sinister and dextrus:

  • The Latin meaning of sinister speaks of that which is “contrary, false; unfavorable; to the left.”
  • Dextrus has the meaning of being “right or ready.”

In these two words, we see the struggle that each of us face.  It is the conflict between evil and good or flesh and spirit.  In Romans 8:5, Paul said:  “For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit.”

Since your “outlook” is determined by the flesh or the spirit, you may want to take an “in-look” at what the Bible says about desire:

  • James 1:14-15: Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him.  Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, it gives birth to death.
  • Proverbs 27:20: Hell and Destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
  • 2 Peter 2:14: Having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, they entice unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices.

Which one of your eyes guides you?  Do you see the world through the sinister side or the saintly side?   I encourage you to take a look at your life, and consider using the words of Psalm 119:36-38 as your prayer for today:

“Turn my heart toward Your Law, so I will not earn money in a wrong way.  Turn my eyes away from things that have no worth, and give me new life because of Your ways.  Keep Your promise to Your servant, the promise You made to those who fear and worship You.”