Fruit of Life

Read Matthew 5:27-32 

Take a moment to slowly read the passage today. What feelings or thoughts come to you as you read it? Do you find yourself skimming through it? Or, does it stir a sense of obligation or even guilt?

It is quite the heavy teaching. For me, this passage has been poorly used by myself and others to instill a sense of religious ambition and legalism. We can get laser-focused on Jesus’s example of cutting off a hand or poking an eye out. We focus on how corrupt our hearts are, and how much we must conquer this corruption through making rules and restrictions.

But let’s take a step back from that for a moment and pause to journey back to the Garden. Remember the image we’re given in the Garden? Two trees, two choices: the choice to eat of the tree of Life, or eat of the tree of Death.

As we read Matthew 5 we need to remember who is speaking: Jesus Himself. We need to keep the Garden in our mind here. We need to remember that Jesus never left the Garden. He has enjoyed complete fellowship with God since before time began. He only knows the fruit of the tree of Life, and the wholeness that comes with being in complete relationship with God. To Him, that wholeness is so fulfilling, so wonderful, that it far outweighs any temptation to wander off. And if we’re lucky, we get to experience a glimpse of this in our own lives, friendships, families, and marriages.

I think of the deepest relationships in my life. The ones that have been with me through all the twists and turns of life. Because our relationships have grown so deep through the years, the thought of ever hurting them or betraying them doesn’t even come to mind. It isn’t even a fleeting thought. Because I am bound to them in love. What if we chose to pursue the fruit of the tree of Life, and let go of the religious burdens we can lay on ourselves and others?

And let’s think of our friends struggling with lust, or hurting from a divorce. This passage can be a particularly heavy burden for them to carry. If either of those are true of you, I’d encourage you to return to the start of Matthew 5, and reflect on the Beatitudes. Does Jesus say, “Blessed are the fervent religious ones”? No. His message is far different. Let us rest on that truth, seek the fruit of the tree of Life, and find the deep fulfillment that makes wandering off a distant memory. Where living blind or one-handed would be such a no-brainer decision compared to the thought of missing out of such beautiful relationships.


  • How has God removed things from your life that led to destruction, and replaced them with life-giving sources? 

by Dan Ryan