Friday, April 20, 2012
What kind of fruit?
Matt. 7:15 ¶ “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Matt. 7:16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?
Matt. 7:17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
Matt. 7:18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
Matt. 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Matt. 7:20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.
Jesus knew that there would always be those who would try to be a part of the movement but who really did not know him personally. He knew that there would be those who would preach with false motivation, and that at times it might be difficult to discern the truth. How were we to find that truth? By looking at the fruit in their lives. Do they bear fruit at all and if so, what does it look like? Ultimately, if they do not bear good fruit, they will be cut down and throw them into the fire.
There is much discussion these days about different doctrine and whether the "Truth" is being preached. At times people split hairs over some of these issues and the result is often quite destructive to the body of Christ. Christ had already warned us that these days would come and that there would be one way in which to determine whether they were truly with Christ or not -- and that was by their fruit.
What kind of fruit was Jesus talking about? He says "good" fruit! It seems that those who are true followers of Christ are producing spiritual fruit in their lives, including the fruit of the spirit. What is reflected in our very nature? Would someone describe us as reflecting Christ? Would they see his peace, love, patience, long-suffering, etc within our very nature? Also, are we bearing spiritual fruit in the form of spiritual children? Are there genuine followers of Christ in this world as the result of our lives? Have we made a difference? I believe that Jesus is saying that a true follower of Christ will not be judged on their words, but on their fruit.
This is a challenging portion of scripture. I think that for all of us it is often much easier to talk about our faith and the things that we believe than it is to get involved in our faith and in making a difference in the lives of others. I know that there are times when I am guilty of this. May we be challenged the next time we want to be critical of someone else to stop and look at the fruit of their lives. If they are producing good fruit, then we must be very cautious, and before we would criticism them -- stop and look at ourselves. What fruit have we produced this very day?
The Christian walk is one in which God is continuously transforming us into his image and likeness. We must walk daily in obedience and humility before him. Human battles and arguments are sometimes simply a cover for the fact that we are not producing fruit. May God help us -- and may the enemy not fool us into being divisive!
Lord, it is my heart's desire to be your servant and to bear fruit for you in my life. Please, help me to keep my eyes on you daily as your servant. Amen.