By Reverend J. Loren Russell

Luke 6:43-45 (NKJV)
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

What do you get when you squeeze a lemon? That is a facetious question that really doesn’t require an answer. Everyone knows that lemon juice comes out of a lemon when you squeeze it. You can’t get grape, orange, apple, or any other type of juice out of a lemon because lemon is what’s in it!

Luke says in the text that a good tree does not bear bad fruit, in the same way a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. He explains that trees are known by species and the types of fruit they bear. Even if fruit were not recognizable by their appearance, you would know exactly what type of fruit you have when they are squeezed. It will never be possible to get orange, apple, grape, or any other type of juice from a lemon.

Luke broadens his comparison and looks at the human heart. He says clearly and emphatically that a good heart produces good things, and an evil heart produces evil things. Like fruit, Luke says the human heart produces fruit according to what’s in it. But unlike a fruit which is recognizable by it’s shape, color, and overall appearance, the human heart may be camouflaged, altering its true appearance and hiding it’s true content.

What makes humanity so interesting is that the content of the heart is made evident by a person’s re-action, and the words that come out of their mouths when someone says or does something that they don’t like. To paraphrase Adrian Rogers from his book, What Every Christian Ought to Know Day By Day, If you squeeze somebody and anger spills out, they are full of anger. But if you squeeze someone and Jesus spills out, they are full of Jesus. Anger is another way to describe sin. Jesus speaks for Himself.

It is easy to determine whether your heart is full of anger or Jesus. Just watch how you respond and listen to the things that come out of your mouth when you are squeezed by the challenges of life. In our often chaotic, turbulent, and troubled world, let me suggest that we do a self- check to see what comes out of us when we are squeezed.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at Goodwill Baptist Church and is the spiritual leader of both LaGree Baptist Church and the Evangelical Church of God, all in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting (718-328-8096), and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Monday nights from 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook Live. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on YouTube and email us at mattersoffaith.mof@gmail.com. Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The eBook at www.smash words.com/books/view/993177.

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