What kind of tree am I anyway?
Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
This is an amazing formula for faith, and a great example of the faith principle in Romans 4 of “calling things that are not as though they were.”
Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
The quotation in Romans 4:17 refers to Genesis 17:5. God spoke this over Abram when He was 99 years old and childless. At the same time God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. In changing the names, God forced them to say the same thing about themselves that He had just said about them. Abraham means, (“Father of a multitude,” Sarah means, “Mother of nations.”) In the name change, God was showing Abraham and all who would follow after him, the principle of faith that God Himself operates by. He speaks things into existence.
Let’s apply this to the good and bad tree.
If you see a tree that has apples and avocados growing on it, what would you call it? An apple tree? An avocado tree? A hybrid? Would you just make up a name? The truth is, you wouldn’t know what to call it.
The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that we are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.”
When we look at ourselves and behold the fruit of our lives, we see our mistakes, our bad habits, our inconsistencies, our failures, our secret sins, and we think “I must be a bad tree.” But then we look closer and say, “Wait a minute, not all the fruit in my life is bad. I help people, I am faithful to my church family, I serve in different areas in the ministry, I love people, I am generous with my time and resources, so not all the fruit in my life is bad. I am confused! What kind of tree am I?”
We see the good and bad fruit in our lives and gravitate towards walking by sight and living by feelings. The Bible says that we are NOT to live our lives this way.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
We cannot allow our physical senses to dictate our identity. We must set ourselves in agreement with what God has spoken about us and not be moved by our feelings and our fallen experience. What we see, feel and experience must never be a consideration in light of what God has said about us. Abraham, the father of faith, has set the example for us.
Romans 4:19-22 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Abraham refused to consider the weakness in his flesh, but was fully convinced that what God said about him, God would bring to pass.
So the question is: What has God said about us?
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.
God says that He has made us righteous, holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Although we may not look like that in our sight we must not consider what we see and believe what He said about us is true.
How we refer to ourselves, the words we say about ourselves should align in agreement with what God says about us. When we begin to speak what God says about us, the grace of God is released in our lives to transform us into what He has spoken. When we align our words with His words, the fruit of what He said will start growing in our life. This is how we make our tree good. This is how we fight the good fight of faith. This is what produces transformation in our life.
The Old Testament is full of stories about natural battles. We must look at those physical battles and learn how to apply them spiritually to our lives. For the most part, we see two ways that God calls his people to battle.
- He gives His people specific instruction on what, when and how to conquer the enemy. When Gods people follow the instruction, He is with them in battle and the victory comes easy.
- He tells His people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He fights the battle for us and the victory is ours.
When fighting to be free from our sin nature, to live righteous and holy, we tend to try and do this by our own works. We struggle against our sin, our bad habits, wrong thinking and destructive cycles of failure and disappointment. This type of behavior will only produce a sin consciousness that insures failure. The Old Testament has already proved that no one can become righteous by works.
Submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us places us in a powerful position to be transformed and overcome the sin nature. We must call ourselves righteous and holy, believing that He is at work in us to bring that to pass. We follow Abrahams example and call things that are not manifest as though they were.
Confess that you are righteous, confess that you are holy. Thank God for freeing you from sin and transforming you into His image. And if you stumble and fall, run to God and say “I am sorry Father that is not me! That is certainly not You in me! I thank You for the Spirit of grace that is transforming me and shaping me into Your image, removing that junk from my life and molding me into everything You have created me to be. Thank You for fathering me! Thank you for loving me, for believing in me, for being patient with me. Thank you for completing the work that you began in me. Where would I be if You didn’t father me.”
This is a good example of biblical confession. This type of confession sets you in agreement with His work and His plan for your life. This will produce the fruit of righteousness and holiness in your life.
In the battle for our identity we are supposed to follow the example of our father Abraham and set ourselves in agreement with His word, letting the Spirit of grace shape us and mold us into His image. We are not to consider the weakness of our flesh, but stand strong in faith, trusting that God is able to bring His word to pass in our lives.
So hold fast to the confession of who you are in Him and trust that He will complete the work that he began in your life.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.