Matthew 7:15-16 (NIV) 15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Jesus taught us to watch out for false prophets. Many people claim to have a message from God. Outwardly it is hard to spot them. The ‘sheep’s clothing’ often causes us to think they are one of God’s children. But the outside and the inside are totally different. For most people, the person who rants and raves and condemns everyone is easily spotted as being off track, but what about these that appear to be gentle and meek? How are we supposed to spot them?
One way to identify a plant is by the leaf, but even then it is easy to make a mistake. Many leaves are similar. The easiest way is to see the plant’s fruit. What does the plant produce? That tells you what kind of plant it is. What is the fruit of the life of the person you are wondering about? Is their home full of peace and love? Are their followers loving and kind? Does their teaching humble the listener or make them proud about having some secret wisdom? A false teacher can imitate the gifts of the Spirit, but they cannot for long imitate the fruit of the Spirit. Watch them when they are not in front of their audience. See them when they think no one else is watching, and you will soon know what kind of tree they are.
The same is true for us. Do you know what kind of tree you are? What would an unbiased observer of your life conclude? Would they say you are a grapevine or a thornbush, a fig tree or thistle? Sometimes we believe we are something we are not. Look at your fruit, and be honest with what your fruit really is. That is the first step toward the transformation that the life of Christ in you will produce.
Remember: Become His fruit and you will bear His fruit.
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