“A healthy tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a poor tree bear good fruit. Every tree is known by the fruit it bears; you do not pick figs from thorn bushes or gather grapes from bramble bushes. A good person brings good out of the treasure of good things in his heart; a bad person brings bad out of his treasure of bad things. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:43-45 (Good News Translation)
Let’s hear this Word a second time, from the New Living Translation:
“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
We ALL have bad days.
Sometimes a bad day leads to a bad attitude, doesn’t it? When everyone seems to be plotting against us, and everything appears to be an obstacle in our path, it’s downright hard NOT to gather up attitude and watch that ‘tude take on a life of its own!
For the sake of today’s Literal 4 Lent discussion, let’s peel off a few layers of misunderstanding when it comes to what ‘attitude’ is and is not.
- Is how I feel about what is happening right now.
- Can change from moment to moment.
- Can be pinned on me by someone else.
- Is sometimes ‘bad,’ sometimes ‘good.’
- Is part of being human.
The thing about attitude is that it isn’t always the same. I might have a bad day and say or do something I will later regret, but a hasty word said in the heat of a moment does not a HEARTITUDE make!
What is HEARTITUDE, you ask?
Heartitude is what Jesus is referring to in today’s Luke 6 text. Heartitude is NOT the same as attitude!
What Jesus speaks of here is something other than the changeable ‘mood’ that you and I carry around and that depends on our circumstances at any given time.
- Has deeper roots than attitude does.
- Can be best deciphered over time.
- Is your ‘normal’ setting or default mode when your defenses are down and you are not ‘on guard.’
- Is more than a feeling! It’s what I believe to be true, no matter how I feel about what is going on in this moment.
The idea that Christians are somehow capable of immunity from issues of attitude is deceptive. Don’t buy the lie that if you follow Jesus, you’ll never be guilty of copping an attitude in challenging situations. We want to rise above our gut-level reactions to things as they happen – especially to things that push our buttons, hurt our feelings and betray our trust – but we’re human.
God knows we’re human. He knows we aren’t perfect.
HE MADE US THAT WAY.
Heartitude is the posture of your heart in relationship to the Spirit of God. It’s where your ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT ultimately comes from!
What Jesus is saying here is that the content of our HEART spills over into our words and actions. By comparing this spillover to fruit on a tree, Jesus is saying that where our heart takes root is where our fruit comes from. Just as a tree produces fruit over time, in its season, so the fruit of our hearts is revealed over time, throughout the seasons of our lives.
Attitude pops up at a moment’s notice, but fruit takes its time to develop and grow. That’s what HEARTITUDE is.
If your life is producing hearty, healthy fruit, don’t let one bad day get you down!
Get back to your roots.
After all, the best remedy for an attitude problem is a Heartitude-check.
It’s just what the Doctor ordered.