Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Kind of Fruit?




Scripture

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
(Matthew 7:15 NASB)
“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
(Matthew 7:16 NASB)
“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
(Matthew 7:17 NASB)
“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
(Matthew 7:18 NASB)
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
(Matthew 7:19 NASB)
“So then, you will know them by their fruits.
(Matthew 7:20 NASB)

 

Observation


In Jesus' day there were those who claimed to be prophets and who enjoyed a life of religious preaching. Sadly, their motivations were completely wrong and selfish. Jesus said to look at the fruit that they bore and this would reveal what kind of prophet that they were. Only good trees can bear good fruit. If there is no good fruit then they will be cut down and thrown into the fire. In other words, it will become obvious that the false prophets were just that -- false -- because there will be no real fruit of their labors.

 

Application


Recently I was flipping through our television channels on a Sunday night and came across the church service of a televangelist that used to be hugely popular. However, this modern-day prophet has become well known for his moral failings, as well as questionable financial dealings. What was odd during this service seemed to be the camera angles. There were no big shots of the whole sanctuary, but instead, strange views taken from between two or three people, or from behind and instrument. We began to realize that there were very few people in that service, but the cameramen were doing their best to make it look like the place was full. The reality is that there is little or no fruit of this man's labor. Yes, it looked like he was incredibly successful for a period of time but when the reality began to set in with his followers, they were disappointed and they began to leave in droves.

This scripture challenges me on a very personal level. Throughout my life I have had the joy and opportunity to be involved with many people who needed to know Jesus Christ. I have had the privilege of watching God perform miracles in peoples' lives and of seeing them grow up into mature followers of Jesus Christ. However, now, I find myself in a very different position and I am seriously praying about this point of bearing fruit. My job doesn't take me to the places and/or people that it has in the past and so I want to be a fruit-bearing Christian and I'm wrestling with what that looks like in my life today. I know that it begins with faithfulness and obedience to the Father in all things and that's where I have to begin each and every single day. I want to decrease so that He can increase -- so that people will see Christ in me -- and that people will be drawn to Him -- not to me. I want desperately to bear fruit for him. For that to happen I must, on a daily basis, humble myself before him to be used of him in any way, shape or manner that he desires. I am his instrument. I am his tree. I am available to be used by God. I want to bear his fruit -- not mine!

 

Prayer


Lord, may today and every day be a portion of the journey with you and may you lead me to fruit bearing that you desire today. Amen.

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