Fruit. “As he thinks within himself, so he is.” —Proverbs 23:7 (NASB)
It’s natural, thus very easy, to become entangled in one’s own painful life experiences, producing the fruit of thornbushes and thistles instead of sweet grapes.
The following commentary on our key scripture, Proverbs 23:7, is so relevant today:
“We live in a society absorbed with its own feelings. Today, people are addicted to seeing themselves as victims and demanding special tolerance, favor, acceptance, or gifts. Yet a mind concerned with its own painful experiences, rejections, mistakes, or emotional hurts is one that refuses healing.” —The Berean¹
Let’s hear that again: “A mind [my thinking], concerned with, occupied, consumed with, its own painful experiences, rejections, mistakes, or emotional hurts is one that refuses healing.” How am I refusing healing? When I’m making no room in my thoughts, no space in my mind, to pursue thinking as God thinks. The commentary continues:
“These emotions comfort like old bandages, and many are afraid to see what is underneath. Some cling to them because they give special ‘handicap’ privileges, and they use them to justify what they believe, say or do. It is a demonic delusion because it only perpetuates the pain and denies the freedom or forgiveness that God offers.
“Pain should serve to teach: and mature us, not box us into the darkness. Hebrews 2:10 says Christ learned by the things He suffered—His pain was His teacher. Likewise, our painful experiences can teach us the contrasts between this human life and the glorious life for which God is preparing us.”
If I will apply my free will to choosing to “be transformed” by the renewing of my mind, this transformation process will ultimately lead me to the only true abundant life that Christ longs for me to enjoy on this earth and throughout eternity with Him (John 10:10). I will begin to bear much fruit, “the fruit of the Spirit:”
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” —Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
You and I each have the freedom, the power— this moment, this day, and every day hereafter—to choose to learn and practice God’s way of thinking, for our protection and abundant provision, including the fruit of His Spirit. Thinking as God our Father thinks (which we learn from studying His Word) will prompt us to make decisions and take actions that will glorify Him (bear fruit), and prosper us in every way (bearing sweet fruit). What’s not to want about following Jesus Christ, “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)?!
If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, how do you think about yourself? Do you think about yourself through the darkened and skewed lens of all that you’ve endured, suffered, and sinned? or through the cleansing and freeing cross where Jesus took on all your sins, covered them with his blood, and forever buried them? Do your past sins and suffering still dictate your thinking, thus your decision making and actions? or are your thoughts, decisions, and actions dictated by what God your Father says about you? Do you know that He even sings over you?
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” —Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)
In Part 4 we’ll look at the many ways in which God sees YOU as a believer in His Son, Jesus Christ. Follow along!