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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Beautiful Flowers, Bad Fruit"

April 2, 2005

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The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

Along in April or May, no tree or shrub adorns itself with more beautiful flowers than the wild crab. The blooms, in clusters of three to six, range in color from white to pale pink to deep rose. As for the fruit, the apples it produces are small – often less than an inch in diameter – and sour. They are inedible.

The Bible takes note of an all-flower, no fruit type of life. Some would-be religious people try to assume a decorative Christianity. Their speech is flowery, their prayers full of pious phrases, their behavior in church correct, their deeds eye-catching. The so-called electronic churches on television increase the temptation to practice a visual kind of religion. It is mostly flowers.

This is by no means a new development. The Old Testament prophets vehemently denounced external piety. Jesus exposed the false righteousness of the Pharisees. And Saint James in his epistle took note of would-be worshipers “wearing a gold ring and fine clothes” (James 2:2) – not that it is sinful to be well dressed but because this externalism betrayed a so-called faith lacking the works of love.

God, who is the Creator of all things, can appreciate beautiful flowers, but He realizes that they don’t provide food. The fruit does that. Good fruit is the test of a good tree, even as works of true love are the test of the true saving faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, having through the Gospel brought us to faith in the Savior and His atoning work for us, makes us fruitful in all good works. He makes us like trees that bring forth their fruit in their season (Psalm 1:3). Not the flowers but the fruit of the Spirit are these: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These fruits, not empty words and deeds, are the Christian's adornment.

PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, make me a fruitful Christian . Amen.

(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)

Today's Bible Readings: Deuteronomy 26-27    Luke 7:1-30

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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