The Fruit of a New LifeDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
"Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don't just say to each other, 'We're safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.' That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones."
In Luke 3, we pick up the story of John, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, whose miraculous birth was narrated in chapter 1. There, an angel revealed to Zechariah that his son would be a spiritually powerful man. He would turn the hearts of the Israelites to God in preparation for the coming of the Messiah (1:11-17). The first part of chapter 3 offers a peek at John's ministry of preaching and baptism as he prepared God's people for the one who would "baptize [them] with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (3:16).
As people flocked to hear John's message and participate in his baptism, he was concerned that many had jumped on the bandwagon without truly turning to the Lord. They put confidence in their elect status as "descendants of Abraham" and did not seek to live with a new passion for God and his ways. Thus, John exhorted the people, saying, "Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God" (Luke 3:8).
The original Greek of this verse reads more literally, "Produce fruits that are worthy of a transformed life." If you were to check other biblical translations, you'd find the word "repentance" where I have used "transformed life." The Greek word used in this sentence is metanoia, which does signify repentance and conversion. But metanoia connotes not just sorrow for sin or a religious experience, but a complete change of life based on a new way of thinking and being. John was calling those who were baptized to live out what was signified in their repentance.
And so it should be with us. Our response to the good news of Christ includes a turning from sin that is, at the same time, a turning to God. When we are "in Christ," our minds and hearts are being made new through the Spirit. Thus, like those who heard the preaching of John, we should live out our transformed lives each and every day. The more we put our faith into practice, the more we will bear fruit that flows from God's life within us.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what facets of your life are you living fruitfully? In what ways would you like to be more fruitful as you tap into God's life?
PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for calling me, not just to add you into my life, but to a whole new way of living. Thank you for the Spirit who helps me respond to your call and live out my faith.
May I bear fruit worthy of a transformed life! In each relationship, in every conversation, no matter where I am or what I am doing, may I live in a way that is fruitful for your kingdom. May my words and actions bear witness to your life within me.
I pray in the name of Jesus, in whom I have life abundant and eternal. Amen.