Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 6:43
“For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit; nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.” – Luke 6:43
Based on the way this verse starts, this is a continuation of what was said in the prior verse which spoke of specks and logs in the eye. It addressed the idea of being more concerned with the sins of others with little if any concern for our own sins, even when it is the same sin. This is the perfect picture of hypocrisy. And we see the connection in that if we do not see the beam in our own eyes, we would be like the corrupt tree which cannot possibly bring forth good fruit. The reason is that we do not view the ‘bad fruit’ as bad fruit.
The meaning of this whole passage is, as a tree is known to be either good or bad by its fruit, so a man is known to be either good or bad by his fruit; especially when he speaks of the characters and actions of others. On such occasions he will, either by the charitable and mild constructions which he puts upon the doubtful actions of others, show himself to be a good man; or, by his uncharitable and harsh interpretations, demonstrate the wickedness of his own heart.
Matthew puts it this way. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20. Matthew clarifies the idea that Jesus here is speaking of false prophets. He says good fruits do not come from bad sources. Grapes do not come from thorn bushes but from grape vines and figs do not come from thistles but from fig trees. Therefore, if you see bad fruit in others, then they are not to be trusted in what they say or teach.
Now, Jesus finalizes this idea with the following. “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45. This verse applies the analogies of the previous two verses to people and in particular to the human heart. The expression ‘heart’ is commonly used by Luke to refer to the inner being of an individual out of which attitudes and values come. An evil heart produces critical and judgmental attitudes, doubts, and wickedness; but a good heart produces good fruit. For whatever we do will come from our heart, who we really are.
We must watch our own actions and thoughts, to see where we are in our relationship with God. And the best way to see where we are is by looking at what is in our heart. How do we speak of others? How do we speak to others. And also, how do we speak to and about others? This speaks volumes about who we are. We must take the time to examine our heart. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5. And if we see we do not pass the test, then we should pray to God, repenting of our failure and asking Him to change our hearts. And if we do and truly mean it, we can do so much by becoming closer to God.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.