Are Christians Consumers Or Fruit Producers?

As a purchaser of religious books, this writer is not especially fond of book publishers referring to me as a “consumer” because the word consume can mean “to destroy, by decomposition or burning” or “to spend wastefully.” The term brings to my mind a picture of forest fires devouring acre after acre of vegetation, leaving behind only scorched remnants of trees.

When we read books, we don’t “consume” them like the fire does the trees in the forest, for they don’t cease to exist after we’ve used them. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite is true — books become a part of us, because they can change our way of thinking.

This is especially true of the Bible. When the words of Scripture remain in us, they change our mindset, teaching us not to take the destructive pathway of sin (Psalm 119:11; cf. Proverbs 12:28). Jesus also said that when His words truly abide in us, we will bear “much fruit” (John 15:5-8). In other words, we will be fruit producers — not consumers.

The apostle Paul refers to Christians as “God’s fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9), who are to build things that cannot be consumed in the fire of God’s judgment regarding our works (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Later in the book, he urges readers to excel in gifts that build up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12).

As Christians, let’s not be known for the goods we “consume,” but for the “good fruit” we produce (Matthew 7:17; cf. Gal. 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11; Colossians 1:10; James 3:17-18).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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