Matthew 12:33 tells us we recognize a tree by its fruit. And not just what type of tree it is, but what condition it’s in – whether healthy or diseased. I think this principle is a great one to use in all areas of life, but especially when deciding if someone’s advice or “wisdom” is worth paying attention to.
I well remember being pregnant with my third child, my daughter Elizabeth, and going to the doctor for my monthly check-up. I’d gained a little more that month than usual as it was over the Christmas holiday. When my very obviously overweight, male OB-Gyn came in and checked my chart, he had the nerve to scold me and warn me that he did not want me gaining more than 25 pounds overall.
It took every fiber of my being not to look at him and say, “Who are you to tell me not to gain weight? I’m pregnant – what’s your excuse?” But I try to be a respectful, Christian woman, and so I refrained. I admit, I did, however, think it.
Many times an “expert” will tell you what to do, yet you can plainly see they are not following their own advice. To me that is the height of hypocrisy. In my opinion, the fruit is revealing some rotten roots! I find it very difficult, if not impossible to take advice from someone who isn’t following it themselves – even if I can see merit to what they say!
As a mother of three children, I had certain rules like no soda except at parties; no sweets except on the weekend, fresh fruit and vegetables every day and having a good breakfast before they left for school, among other things. My kids really never gave me a hard time about any of them and I honestly think the main reason was that I followed my own rules and they clearly saw that.
I never asked them to do something I wasn’t already doing. As a Biblical health coach, I suggest certain things to clients. For example, to those who are trying to lose weight I advocate eating as much fresh, whole food as possible; drinking at least half their body weight in water and exercising at least 3 days a week, preferably 5. Do I do all of that? I do all of it – and more. I believe that my doing what I tell others to do and walking the talk = integrity. That is a missing ingredient in too many people’s lives.
I meet with some of my clients who live locally and they can see the fruit of what I suggest. We run into each other at the supermarket, health food store and walking the rail trail. If you came to me and wanted to lose 100 lbs. and I had what sounded like great information, BUT I was 100 lbs. overweight – would that instill confidence in you to do what I was telling you? (Now if I had been 200 lbs. overweight and lost 100 pounds, that would be a different story. But that’s not usually the case.)
So, my suggestion is to become a “fruit inspector.” Whenever you are offered advice or recommendations in any area – inspect that person’s fruit. If the tree is healthy, the fruit will be also, and vice versa.