Catholic Commute S01E53 6 Steps to improve the quality of your fruit

"Fresh" isn't enough - we need sacrifice.

Trees that produce bad fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. The message is consistently repeated throughout the Gospel.  Yet, we rarely pause to consider this warning.  Many of my actions are incredibly selfish and lazy – they cannot possibly create good fruit.

Hopefully you listened to last week’s episode and were able to identify the fruit you create.  If you are at all like me, there are probably some areas that need improvement.  In this episode, I try to give some practical advice for different areas of life.  Hopefully you can find a few things that will make a difference.  We all have our rotten apples, but with God’s help, we can start to create fresh ones.

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Episode 53: 6 Steps to improve the quality of your own fruit

 

Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.

 

Story of Hezekiah changing his fruit

 

2 Kings 20: 1-7 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord: 3 “Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5 “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah prince of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; indeed, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” 7 Then Isaiah said, “Bring a lump of figs. Let them take it and apply it to the boil, so that he may recover.”

 

Story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-11

 

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” 8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” 9 Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

 

  1. Repent of your selfishness
    1. We all are!  The questions is not if, but where and when
    2. Repent means to turn away.  Make it literal!
    3. Be vigilent to watch for future selfishness.
  2. Immerse yourself in the Word of God
    1. Daily Bible reading
    2. Read good books, listen to talks
    3. Time for prayer without an agenda
  3. Humble yourself before your wife
    1. Ephesians 5: Love her as Christ loved the church
    2. Strive and compete to outdo yourself with acts of generosity
    3. Do it with a humble heart, not an angry or proud heart.
  4. Give your children back to God
    1. They are His anyways
    2. We are much more careful with other people’s children
    3. Be a good guardian
  5. Find friends that will keep you accountable
    1. Don’t associate with people who co-sign bad behavior.
    2. Spend time with men you trust who are good and active Christians.
    3. Find those who have what you want.  Story of my conversion and Tillotsons.
    4. Ask your friends to give you feedback, and listen closely with an open heart.
  6. Give the reins to Jesus – Frequently!
    1. Definition of Meek
    2. I am a bad horse.  I frequently try to jerk the reins back
    3. Give them to Jesus and leave them with Him!

 

  1. Repent of your selfishness
  2. Immerse yourself in the Word of God
  3. Humble yourself before your wife
  4. Give your children back to God
  5. Find friends that will keep you accountable
  6. Give the reins to Jesus – Frequently!

 

St. Augustine of Hippo (392AD) “The Catholic Church is the work of Divine Providence, achieved through the prophecies of the prophets, through the Incarnation and the teaching of Christ, through the journeys of the Apostles, through the suffering, the crosses, the blood and death of the martyrs, through the admirable lives of the saints… When, then, we see so much help on God’s part, so much progress and so much fruit, shall we hesitate to bury ourselves in the bosom of that Church? For starting from the apostolic chair down through successions of bishops, even unto the open confession of all mankind, it has possessed the crown of teaching authority.” (The Advantage of Believing 35)

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