Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #39 Good Fruit

April 2013 |"Your 50 Favorite Proverbs" | Liz Curtis Higgs

Last week’s imposing fortress walls give way to this week’s soft spring blossoms.
A reminder that God can be both powerful and gentle, terrifying and tender. The same God who moves mountains and oceans also moves in our hearts—changing us, rearranging us, molding us into the image of his Son.

Time for a stroll through our garden, memorizing one of your favorite verses with each step.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
    and the one who is wise saves lives. Proverbs 11:30

Proverbs 11:30 Blue HyacinthProverbs 11:30 Scottish Blue Flower

The fruit of the righteous…

Because of God’s grace, we are counted as righteous. Because of his Son, “the seeds of good deeds” (NLT) are planted in us and bear fruit. We “live right” (CEV) when Christ lives in us. So, “the fruit that godly people bear” (NIRV) is wholly dependent on God, not on our meager gardening abilities.

With everything beginning to bloom this month, we’re reminded of how little we’ve done—basically, pushed seeds into the ground—and how much God has done. He created the seeds and the soil, watered them with rain, bathed them with sunlight, then coaxed the first green shoots through the remains of last autumn’s mulch.

Always God. Only God. All God.

Because of his loving-kindness, God plants his righteousness inside us until a bold, new life breaks through.

Proverbs 11:30 Pale Yellow Tulip
Proverbs 11:30 Forsythia

…is a tree of life,…

So, what does this “tree that bears life-giving fruit” (TLB) look like?

  • Like a mother who reads a children’s Bible to the little one squirming in her lap because she knows the Word contains Truth and Life.
  • Like a father who hoes and weeds a garden with his son or daughter by his side, teaching them the biblical principles of seed time and harvest.
  • Like a coworker who loves God and communicates that love daily to everyone who crosses her path.
  • Like a friend who cares about what you care about and believes “a good person gives life to others” (NCV).
  • Like a senior saint who continues to teach Sunday school or collect the offering or greet newcomers, standing on the promise, “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm 92:14).

Good fruit comes from good trees, and good trees come from good fruit.
“The tree of life grows where the fruit of right-living falls” (VOICE). If we manage to do something right (oh my!), it may come as a surprise to us, but it’s never a surprise to God. He plants, waters, and nurtures us with his Word. In due season, something beautiful finally appears.

Proverbs 11:30 Bright Pink Tulip
Proverbs 11:30 Bright Pink Blossom

…and the one who is wise…

That’s the book of Proverbs for you. It’s all about gaining wisdom—wisdom from God and wisdom about God. Not so we can be a wise guy, but because when we “act wisely, others will follow” (CEV).

Beth, who chose this verse as her favorite, wrote, “I want to extend the life that Christ has given me to others.” Right. That’s wisdom in action. Handed out, not hoarded.

Beth is clearly not a new seedling, tethered to a stake. She is mature in her faith, “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season” (Psalm 1:3). She’s who we want to be when we grow up.

God calls us not only to bloom where we’re planted, but also to bloom where we’ve been transplanted for the sake of others.

Grow here, beloved. I prepared this soil especially for you.

Proverbs 11:30 Hidden Flower
Proverbs 11:30 Purple and White Pansy

…saves lives.

If you’ve had the honor of watching someone step into God’s Kingdom, then you know why “those who are wise give new life to others” (ERV). The truth is, we don’t lead people to Christ. He draws them to himself while we cheer from the sidelines.

There is nothing more thrilling, nothing more glorious than seeing the first glimmer of grace transform someone’s face.

No wonder God calls wise the person who “wins souls” (CJB), who “teaches others how to live” (NCV), who shows them how “to do what is right” (NIRV).

The Hebrew word used here is nephesh, meaning “a soul, a living being.” That person who hasn’t met Jesus yet? Think of them as a soul who needs to be loved, not merely a sinner who needs to be sorry.

We reach out not only to the lost who’ve not yet found their way home, but also to believers who’ve drifted off to the far country and are desperate to return.

“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).

Who knew this week’s proverb would send us forth into gardens and fields and backyards and orchards? Into places called School and Work and Home and Starbucks?

God knew. He’s already there, waiting for us to join him. Eager for us to bloom.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
    and the one who is wise saves lives. Proverbs 11:30

Proverbs 11:30 Weeping Cherry Tree
Proverbs 11:30 Shadow of Tree in Garden

Now it’s your turn

  • What has God planted inside you that’s ready to bear fruit this season?

Please respond via Post a Comment below. Your words will surely encourage us all. Our Printable of Proverbs 11:30 takes just a moment to load. And this week’s pin on Pinterest is quite…refreshing!

Now that April is here, Easter draws near. So thankful to celebrate this sacred season with you.

Your sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs #50Proverbs

Your sister, Liz Curtis HiggsBible Gateway Blogger Grid MemberApril 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs

Mercy Like Sunlight: A Novella by Liz Curtis Higgs

P.S. Bless you for considering adding Mercy Like Sunlight to your spring reading list. “This novella is captivating and delightful and the perfect read for the Lenten season.”

38 Responses to Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #39 Good Fruit

  1. carolyn April 2, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    this year forgiveness has been on my heart and as I learn to forgive(myself mostly) I am so much lighter. The Spirit has a place to work when I forgive. And take in the thrill of flowers and trees and ocean….:)

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 2, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      Forgiveness is a delicious fruit, Carolyn. The Word tells us, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

  2. Bobbie April 2, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    I have a Spring Vase with beautiful flowers that has “The Fruits of Spirits” written on it. There are times when I have to remind myself to really dwell on the new Fresh Fruits and not on the old ones that don’t seem so fresh. The Scripture Psalm 92:14 “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green” hit home this morning. Thank You for inspiring me to remember that each day is another day to serve, and to use the gifts that have been given to me.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 2, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      You’re SO right, Bobbie: it IS “another day to serve” and another day to love—the first fruit of the Spirit among your flowers: “Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Beautiful. Not a single stem, but a whole bouquet.

  3. Julie Sunne April 2, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    My thirst for God’s Word has grown in leaps and bounds this past year. As He waters my desire and fertilizes my knowledge of His truth and understanding of His grace, may I be so bold as to share that fruit with those who walk in the gardens of my life. This is a lovely post, Liz, full of beauty and hope and truth.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 2, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      Bless you for that word of encouragement, Julie. I got rather long-winded this week (just too excited about all the “fruit” this verse yielded!). Grateful you made time to take it all in.

  4. Nadine April 2, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    For years we’ve served in one state & then about a year & half ago God lead us to a completely different state. We certainly have seen (& continue to see) God’s blessings & provisions!

    You see, in March or April of 1994 my husband (fiance’ at the time) led me to Christ. We were married in May of 1995 & then that August… he surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s calling to ministry. The church we were married in, served in for years is also deep in my family’s history (my great-grandmother was a Co-founder), so it was a little difficult when feeling God’s leading to go elsewhere.

    Now there had been many times where we went for him to fill in & even a few when he preached in-view-of-a-call (almost took one). But we can see that God had other plans. And when he led us to that church’s mission work, it was in the same state & technically still the same church… but it was in preparation for what was next…

    During the summer in 2012, we heard from a good preacher friend of ours about a couple of churches needing a pastor – one was their sponsoring church & one was a small, organized church that had been without a pastor for just over 8 years. We visited the 2nd one & believe that was “a God thing” (i.e., HIS leading) because they called him (us), in October he was ordained, in November (Thanksgiving weekend) we moved up here (transplanted).

    We’ve already seen souls saved & have doubled in membership (20 members now). I lead our ladies group & we’ve been finding ways to reach out into the community.

    While I miss back home tremendously, I know this is where God has placed us & while we may not know what’s ahead, we know that the good Lord is with us!

    God bless!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 2, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      A perfect example, Nadine, of blooming where you are transplanted. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Clearly God is on the move!

  5. Susan Gruener April 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    I get more and more amazed each decade over how God and His Holy Spirit speaks to us! I’ve been a Christian for 48 years and every day it’s new! 🙂 Yesterday I was thinking about how God is moving me to a new town and how He is going to use me in this new ‘transplanted’ place – what my new ‘job’ will be. This very verse came to mind “he who wins souls is wise”, as I was thinking these thoughts through. 🙂 God had already prepared this ‘message’ from you, for me, to open and read this morning. I can’t be more awestruck with God… the One who ‘weaves’ everything together day after day for each one of us! Oh, how He loves us! (I may break out in song. 🙂 )
    Thanks so much for using your gift of writing to ‘serve’ us all, Liz! I do wish you were my neighbor, so I could hear your wit and humor and the truths of God more often. 🙂 When we all get to Heaven, I may come and visit on your porch for a thousand years or so…
    May you be blessed abundantly!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      Isn’t it grand how God works, Susan? Blessings on your new place of service…and see you on the porch!

  6. Ginny Campbell April 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    If only we knew the fruits of our witness. If only WE could “save lives”. Many years of praying for dear ones and no response that we see of their interest in relating to the Lord in a personal way…brings frustration. My trust in the Lord and His ability to reach these people must increase. I pray that will happen.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

      Praying with you on that, Ginny. When I think of the years upon years my best friend from high school prayed for me to embrace God’s grace…oh my. She was SO patient! I keep that in mind whenever I get frustrated, and remind myself that God’s timing on these things really can be trusted.

  7. Elaine Steil April 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Your writing and I am sure you have heard this many times, is encouraging. Right now with Spring in the air and new growth it is lovely to read words of love, inspiration and of course truth. Thank you Liz, for always for being a bright spot every Wed.

  8. jaime April 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    God has given us each gifts. We should use these to glorify Him. Liz you have a gift with words and you use it to make us laugh, make us think, make us look more deeply into His word, and look more deeply into ourselves. My husband, who is a great artist, among other things, and uses his gift for VBS scenery, once told me my gift is patience. Along with that is listening. Day to day life with a four year old puts some serious restraint on how much time I have for anything and any one else. In order to use what God gave me, and not just in dealing with my son, I need to be more available to friends neighbors, whoever needs an ear or a shoulder. This also goes back to a few weeks ago about confidences and gossip. If I am to listen and be patient I must also be trustworthy. Lord please help me patiently listen and help others work through things while sharing your light.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 3, 2014 at 9:37 am #

      Patience? A listening ear? Those are beautiful gifts indeed, Jaime. (I confess, I don’t have either one!) Thanks for allowing us the privilege of listening as you pray.

  9. Marte April 2, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    Dear Liz, your beautiful column brought tears and joy….it has been a long winter for me, my first heavy snow year back east with in NY with my husband, we both got bronchitis, he had pneumonia too, and is still going thru tests to find reason for tiredness. We are in our season of being apart and I am back in NV doing paperwork and more downsizing. My trip back home allowed me the privilege of visiting four corners of our country and being planted, blooming and spreading joy and lovely scents with folks I met at each spot – NY, FL, TX & NV.

    I appreciate your delight in The Lord and sharing with us from your sowing and harvest times. You have gathered a bountiful basket of both Scriptures and blossoms, both feeding our souls and sights. Thank you.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 3, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      You really HAVE visited four corners of the U.S., Marte. Can only imagine how the illness and separation have worn you down. I hope spring will bring a fresh measure of energy and joy to your many tasks.

  10. Marte April 2, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    Working on all 9 fruits! A little pruning here, gulp some fertilizer there, some nipping and deep watering! Thanks for helping us by being one of our Shepherdess & Gardneress

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 3, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      Ooh, a shepherdess, like Rachel? Thanks, sister!

  11. Irena April 3, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    Thank you for your words. I get discouraged sometimes as my children are not interested in knowing God, yet they were baptised, confirmed, first Holy Eucharist, but once they got to be teenagers, they did not go to church except the oldest. The three others are not. They are all in their mid to late thirties now, and it’s sad that only my daughter’s children have been baptised and confirmed, but my sons’ children have not. When I mention it to their spouses, they just say I am bible bashing, it’s all old fashioned etc., even how can there be a God when little children are abused sexually and God does nothing. Forgive me for being long winded. God bless you all.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 3, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      You have many sisters here who share your heartache, Irena. It’s clear how much you love your children and grandchildren. Love, prayer, and patience are the keys that will unlock hardened hearts. Will they come to church with you on Easter, perhaps? It’s a beautiful day for reminding those who’ve drifted away that God is real, God is moving, and God is waiting to open their eyes afresh.

  12. Linda April 3, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Your beautiful post this morning has lifted my spirit, as we come to (what we hope is the end of a loooooong winter here in Ontario, and a difficult season in my own life too. But God is faithful, always and forever, and always completes what he starts, so as I wait (and wait) for family members to turn to Him, I rest in the truth that He know what he is doing, and His word never returns void. Going off to work now, to encourage moms in my local community. May He bring forth good fruit in each of our lives !

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 3, 2014 at 9:53 am #

      Linda, your words remind me of these lovely verses…
      See! The winter is past;
      the rains are over and gone.
      Flowers appear on the earth;
      the season of singing has come,
      the cooing of doves
      is heard in our land. (Song of Songs 2:11-12)

  13. Jackie April 3, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    What a refreshing and encouraging message! Loved the beautiful photos that were inserted.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 4, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      When it comes to gardening, bulbs are about all I can handle. That, and a simple point-and-shoot camera. Thanks for the kind words, Jackie.

  14. Jeanine Erasmus April 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    Thank you so much for your weekly inspiration! It’s something I look forward to in anticipation as the words encourage and inspire me to live life to the fullest with God at my side. He is truly blessing my family and myself and I give all the glory to Him. I had the pleasure of meeting you last year in Camberley, UK and I really enjoyed your visit. God bless you as you continue inspiring women all over the world. Thank you ! X x

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 4, 2014 at 8:33 am #

      How I loved our evening in Camberley, Jeanine! I can still see those colorful buntings and all your smiling faces. A wonderful memory. Thanks for following my weekly posts!

  15. Linda H April 4, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    After many times of being discouraged about where I am living, your post reminded me that I have been “transplanted” here for God’s purpose. The pain I have felt is a pruning to clear away the old fruit of decay to bring forth a fresh growth!! I never thought like that until today. God needs me to be fresh and ready to be wise and share His love. Thank you Liz for your gift and the fresh new eyes I have today on situations here that have brought me down. God’s purpose in everything. Open mouth, Praise God!!!!♥♥♥

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 4, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      Linda, I love that you remembered one of our takeaways from The Women of Christmas: “Open mouth, praise God!” Most of all, I rejoice in knowing how God is at work in your life. Hooray for fresh fruit!

  16. Cynthia Stevenson April 4, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    This proverbs was so refreshing today. The flowers were beautiful! I felt uplifted to start my day.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 6, 2014 at 9:59 am #

      Flowers are definitely my love language, Cynthia!
      “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Luke 12:27

  17. chris April 5, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    Like Carolyn, I’ve had to seek God for forgiveness this spring.
    It has reminded me how important it is to be in the Lord because our
    actions guide or mislead others to Christ. Also, I forgot how much happier
    I am when I do not judge others and remember that we are all sinners walking
    arm in arm with Christ washed in the same blood he shed for us all.
    Love to all in Christ, Chris

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 6, 2014 at 9:57 am #

      Freedom from judging others is freedom indeed, Chris.

  18. Jan Muske April 7, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    After I recently met you (and what a pleasure it was) I discovered your blog. I love this theme of the Proverbs. I have gone back to the first post and am taking your challenge of committing these to memory. Thank you so much for your insight from God’s Word. Each proverb shared so far is such an inspiration.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

      So glad you found your way to my blog, Jan. Proud of you for committing each verse to memory too! We’ll look forward to hearing from you here.

  19. Regina April 8, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    Relentless optimism. That’s been my motto and my mantra this past year. It’s been a doozy for sure, and I’ve been honored to be the cheerleader of my family. Something Liz said in her post really resonated with me. “God calls us not only to bloom where we’re planted, but also to bloom where we’ve been transplanted for the sake of others.”

    That’s something I think I was doing pretty well through the summer, and even the fall…but then winter hit. Somewhere in the midst of the short days, cold weather, being cooped up in the house, and weathering the emotional chaos of the season, my optimism lost it’s edge. It was still there, but maybe more weary than relentless.

    But I feel that changing. And not just because of the weather. I can feel the seeds of joy and kindness growing once again, bringing with them a renewed sense of purpose in the role I’ve been called to serve.

    Bloom where I’m transplanted. I’m definitely going to take that thought to heart.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs April 9, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

      So glad that phrase encouraged you, Regina. Something about spring, about Easter, about more sunlight definitely improves our outlook. But most of all, God’s loving-kindness lifts our spirits and carries us through. In case no one has mentioned it lately, your family is blessed to have you!