The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways,
and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
Once, I commented on the poor luck a certain fellow seemed to keep having. My companion replied that sometimes a person makes his own luck. He could have quoted this proverb. We often question why we are having so much trouble. It is true that trouble comes to the godly as well as the ungodly and that often there is no accounting for troubles. But much, if not most, of our troubles come as consequence to our behavior.
If we backslide in our faith, we can expect problems. God will discipline his children, but that discipline may be his allowing our conduct to receive its due consequences. This is a major theme of proverbs. If we start hanging out with ungodly friends, we will more likely experience more troubles. The wicked and the immoral draw trouble for themselves. But the backslider will experience more bitterness than the immoral who are living according to their character. The backslider will experience remorse; he will feel uncomfortable in both worlds. He can neither find real happiness in the sin that the wicked enjoy nor in the pleasures of the righteous. Life is thrown off kilter. This is the fruit that he reaps.
The good man – the one who remains true to his faith – may experience troubles, but he reaps blessing. He reaps a good name; he experiences honest joy and peace. And he reaps the blessing of being productive in good things. He not only bears more fruit, but more pleasing fruit.
And Jesus tells us how to bear that fruit – abide in him. Abide in Christ and we will bear more fruit than we could expect. Abide in Christ and he will abide in us and keep us from backsliding. He will keep us from falling.
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