Thursday Reflection – June 13, 2019
What kind of fruit are you bearing?
“You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16
It is easy to identify a tree by the fruit it produces. Yes, it is true that many can identify a tree without the fruit being present on the tree, but let’s seriously look at it. We know what tree it is, because either you or someone would have already identified the tree by the fruit it produce. Sometimes it is difficult to identify the tree, because it shares commonalities with other trees. For example the leaves on the tree might look the same even though they are different trees. They might have the appearance of being the same, but after the fruit begins to bear you then can tell the difference.
Jesus points out this similarity with false prophets. He says that they come in sheep clothing, pretending to be part of the flock, but in truth they are not part of the flock and you can tell by the fruit they produce. A good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree, says Jesus, cannot produce bad fruit and likewise a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. I want to highlight a few points from the text.
The false prophet comes in sheep clothing.
The sheep is considered to be one of Jesus’s followers. Someone who has totally given their life to Jesus and is willing to follow Jesus at all cost. I phrased the description of the sheep that way, because there is no conditionality when it comes to Jesus. It is not part in and part out. It is not doing the things of Jesus when we feel like. It is total submission to Jesus. The false prophet only give the impression that there is total submission to Jesus and so blends in with the flock. No one truly questions the false prophet, because by all indication the false prophet is seemingly doing the will of Jesus. The operative word is seemingly. This brings me to my other point.
The false prophet cannot hide from Jesus
There is a saying I often use at church, “You can trick me, but you can’t trick God.” Scripture reminds us in 1 Samuel 16:7b “For the Lord does not see man as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” We go by what we can see, but Jesus goes by the motives of the heart. So it is easy for us to be deceived, because we look at the outward appearance of people. So we become deceived by the pretense of others; someone who talks nice and seem to care. Someone who is always praising the Lord in church. Jesus know we can be easily deceived so he gave us a tool that will helps us identify false prophets. Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.”
What kind of fruit are you bearing?
All along we have been talking about fruit, but we have not identified the fruit that is good and the fruit that is bad. Galatians 5: 13-26 helps us in this regard. The good fruit is love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. This is the fruit we should be producing. Now the bad fruit is sexuality immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, and orgies. The false prophet, whilst dressed like a sheep, cannot hide his true colors forever. The false prophet must produce the fruit that are bad, we need to look out for them.
So for example the false prophet will seem like a caring and helpful person, but in truth only cares about himself and highlights all the help given to others. The false prophet will smile and pretend to be kind, but really is malicious and speak ill of people behind their back. The false prophet will pretend to be about God’s will, but really is only putting on a show to impress others. The false prophet is a hypocrite who does and say one thing, but in another setting does and say the complete opposite of what they said and did in the setting before. By their fruit you shall know them. I leave us with two questions for self-examination. What fruit are you producing and are you a false prophet?
Until next week blessings!