Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Three Bears – Day Two

"Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; Matthew 3.8

Goldie’s Rotten Fruit
Well, here we are in Day Two of our examination of Three Bears.  No, not the furry kind with claws and teeth, but three instructions on how we can better live and love as Christ.  Today, we are ‘bear-ing fruit’…particularly as it pertains to repentance.  Whatever lessons we might glean from the story of Goldilocks, we can agree that she should never have gone into that house. 

What we might hope for Goldilocks would be that her face-to-face encounter with the family of bears would cause her to experience…a change of heart.  When we are unchanged on the inside, it affects our living on the outside.  Very quickly, we find ourselves producing rotten fruit, perhaps feeling defeated, and ashamed; but most certainly, misguided and unfocused on matters of faith.

Finding Fresh Fruit
In Matthew chapter three, John the Baptist is baptizing a number of people. Among them are what we might call “religious folks”: Pharisees and Sadducees.  These were supposed to be the elite of the followers of Jehovah God…authorities on the faith and scriptures.  However, their lives weren’t reflective of the faith they were supposed to be examples of.  Rather, they had become elitists’…superiors to the common man.  Arrogance, self-righteousness and judgment were staples of their living. 

Still, hedging their bets, so to speak, they have come to John to be baptized, and he scolds them for their coldness of heart. He responds: “You come to be baptized?  Really?  Who warned you of God’s coming wrath?  Okay.  First, show some fruit of repentance.  Show you are willing to change!”

Interestingly, the text gives us no indication that any member of the Pharisees and Sadducees John addressed were repentant in this passage.  And that is the danger isn’t it?  It is possible to live our entire lives as “religious folks.”  Knowing the words and songs of the faith, but never experiencing that change of heart that transforms our outside…from the inside.  Was Goldilocks set on the straight and narrow following her rude awakening by the bears?  The story doesn’t say.

The question to us is, after sincere introspection of our own living, does the Spirit call us to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance?”  Yes it does.  Will we answer that call and repent?  The testimonies of our daily living will serve as proof.

Lord Jesus, reveal to me those areas where I am not showing the fruits of repentance.  Let my testimony not be merely of that which I believe, but illustrated by the evidence of my daily living.  Let others see you living in me.  Change my heart, oh Lord!  Amen.

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