Excerpt from my new book: Guard Your Soul

Excerpt from Guard Your Soul Available here in Paperback and here on Kindle:

What are you treasuring?

Verses 43-45 say,
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor grapes from a bramble bush.  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

It is a very simply concept.  Jesus uses a picture from the natural world.  A certain kind of tree bears a certain kind of fruit.  A fig tree bears figs, while an apple tree bears apples.  The nature of the fruit reveals the nature of the tree. Most of us have probably heard before that you can judge a tree by its fruit.  Jesus applies this clear observation in the natural world to the spiritual life of a person.  You can judge a person by their fruit.  A good person produces good, and an evil person produces evil. 

Now, remember, Jesus’ focus is not that you are judging the spiritual fruit of someone else, but rather, the spiritual fruit of your own life.  Jesus is calling you to examine your own fruit.  Notice the key idea in verse 45, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil (emphasis added).” Our fruit will be determined by what we treasure. 

Let me say this in two ways. First, to the non-believer, the Bible says that we are all evil because we do not treasure what is ultimately good… God.  Since we have not treasured God supremely, but rather have rebelled against Him, He must punish us for our sin.  The biblical punishment for sin is death and eternal hell.The amazing thing is although we did not treasure God, He treasures us.

For God so loved or treasured the world that He gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  Jesus treasured us so much that He died in our place, and God raised Him from the dead. His death and resurrection gives everyone the opportunity to experience the true treasure, eternal life with God.  So, today, if you examine your life and realize that you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then turn from your sin and treasure Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you will be saved. 

Secondly to Christians, the gospel message is not only our entrance in to the Christian life, but it is our sustaining grace for the Christian life.  The Holy Spirit says through Paul in his letter to the Galatians 3:1-3,

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfect by the flesh?

 We are saved by hearing with faith, and we are also sanctified, or made holy, by hearing with faith.  It comes down to what we treasure.  The reason Christians continue to struggle with sin: all sins such as besetting sins, hidden sins, relational sins, debilitating sins, etc., is because we do not treasure Jesus Christ. The solution to overcoming sin is to treasure the Lord Jesus Christ above all else. 

            We sin because we value the pleasure from sin more than we value Jesus Christ.  Psalm 37:4,

Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

God wants to give us pleasure, but our problem is we do not seek after true pleasure. Listen how C.S. Lewis explains this:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”[1]

Christian, never forget your treasure.  Matthew 13:44 says,

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.  Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (emphasis added).” 

If we are in Christ, we have found the supreme treasure. We have found the pearl of great price.  When we treasure Christ, we produce good things out of the abundance of our treasure-filled heart.  So what are you treasuring? Let nothing be more of a greater treasure than Jesus Christ. 

So, how can we diagnose our own souls to see if there is anything that we are treasuring more than Christ?  Jerry Bridges offers 12 questions in his book, “The Bookends of the Christian Life.” I offer them to you:

I am preoccupied with ________.
If only ________, then I would be happy.
I get my sense of significance from ________.
I would protect and preserve ________ at any cost.
I fear losing ________.
The thing that gives me greatest pleasure is ________.
When I lose ________, I get angry, resentful, frustrated, anxious, or depressed.
For me, life depends on ________.

The thing I value more than anything in the world is _____.
When I daydream, my mind goes to________.
The best thing I can think of is ________.
The thing that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning is ________.[2]

What do you treasure more than Christ?  He must be our ultimate treasure.  Pastor Tim Keller defines an idol as when a good thing becomes the ultimate thing.  We can never allow good things, (family, work, church, etc.) to become the ultimate thing.  We must treasure Jesus Christ as our supreme Treasure, and when we treasure Jesus Christ, we will bear fruit out of the overflow of that Treasure. Treasuring the person and work of Jesus Christ is the fuel for the Christian life. 

How else are we going to do all that God asks of us unless we meditate on his gloriously good gospel?  We deserved eternal punishment in hell and yet God sent Jesus Christ to die on our behalf. His blood was shed over our soul.  Oh friend, please treasure that fact!!!

[2] Bridges, Jerry. The Bookends of the Christian Life.