Love, Good Deeds, and Apple Trees

One of the ways we show that we are living for God through Christ is by spurring one another toward love and good deeds. Love and deeds are inseparably connected. They are connected in the same way that faith and works are connected. The point of faith is to produce works. James says in James 2:17-18 (NIV) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. It would be just as true to say: In the same way, love by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have love; I have deeds.” Show me your love without deeds, and I will show you my love by my deeds.

Works aren’t faith, they aren’t the cause of faith, they are caused by faith, they are the fruit, the proof of faith. Likewise good deeds are not love, they aren’t the cause of love, they are caused by love, they are the fruit, the proof of love as well as the proof of faith.

This relationship between love and good deeds is important to get right. If you think that love is only about what you feel and not what you do and what you commit to, you are missing the point that the feeling, the affection of love sees its fulfillment in action. An apple tree that never produces apples is not fulfilling its purpose. And just as the health and quality of the tree is seen in the fruit it produces, the health and quality of the love that we feel is shown in the fruit of its actions.

On the other hand, sometimes people go too far in the other direction and want to say that love is not a feeling at all, but an action or decision. Love is seen and proved genuine by action, true; but the actions are not properly love itself any more than an apple is an apple tree. Love is described in 1 Corinthians 13 as the presence and absence of certain feelings: love does not envy, it is not easily angered, it rejoices in the truth but not in evil. Love is an emotion. A strong emotion. It is the heart’s attraction to something we find beautiful be it a physical beauty, moral beauty, or intellectual, social, or spiritual beauty. So when we say we love God, we are not just agreeing that God is beautiful or that He is worthy of love, we are saying that we find him beautiful, that we are attracted to His beauty and see His worth. Love is a feeling, an affection.

Our affections are what motivate us to act one way or the other. They determine the will, the choices we make. Doesn’t that make sense? What we love, what we find lovely and beautiful and worthwhile sets in place what we see as good and want to get more of and what we want to keep, and conversely it determines what we hate, what we find ugly and evil and what want less of and what we want to avoid. So the feeling of love moves the will to act accordingly: to enjoy what is loved, to gain what is loved, to protect what is loved, to serve what we love, to sacrifice for what we love. Love is proved, shown, and demonstrated by action, but it isn’t the action itself any more than an action could be equated with faith.

The only way to show that love is in your heart is to act it out. Jesus said just as you know a tree by its fruit, you can what is in a person’s heart by its fruit, the actions the heart produces (Luke 6:43-45). In the same way you will know love by its fruit. To encourage love in a person is to entice them to good deeds because you can’t have one without the other.


  1. The Lakota say: Your honor is defined by your words, deeds and actions.

    Honor is your life, how people see you as good/bad/just/ect..
    Your words are obviously what you say, your deeds are what you’ve done and your action is what you do. Living your words, support the deeds and prove your honor. When words and action are not in line people can see through your deeds for what they are.

    This is true in everything we do. As a Christian you are judged by others by what you say, how you’ve lived and most importantly how you live today. Very nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

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