“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV)
What does good fruit look like? I’m not sure what you mean by good fruit. That is why we are going to have this conversation. You know that I have said, “apart from me you can do nothing” and that if you want to bear fruit for me you must abide in me. Yes, I member those statements quite well. Have you ever wondered about those statements? How so? Have you ever thought that you have done some good things when you weren’t abiding in me. Yes, I have had that exact thought. I know your thoughts, my asking you about them should not surprise you. Will those good things you have done, without abiding in me, last for all eternity? At the end of time, will those good efforts of yours have made an eternal difference? No, they will amount to nothing, in light of all eternity. So, they are not real and true examples of bearing eternally good fruit are they? No, they are not. You will need to ask yourself a question. What’s that? If your good efforts will not last for all eternity are they really good at all? It is my plan that you will bear fruit that will last for all eternity. If your good efforts have kept you from doing my will, are they truly good? No, they are not.
You have also done something things that you regret. You have gone and done things that were not pleasing to me. You have done some things that were sinful. What can you call these things that you have done? I can call them bad fruit. Bad fruit will always reveal a life that is not being lived for you. That’s true. What can I call things that appear to be good fruit but really are not of any lasting or eternal value? You tell me. I could call them false fruit. Yes, you could. What type of fruit is most dangerous to you? Both are dangerous. Both are to be avoided. That’s true. But, false fruit that is of no lasting and eternal value seems most dangerous to me. How so? I could waste my entire life doing what will have been of no lasting and eternal value by doing simply what seemed to be good to me. That would be tragic. Yes, it would.
How do you want to be recognized? I want to be recognized as one of your followers. I want to be recognized as someone who is bearing an abundance of fruit for your kingdom and bringing glory to your name. One day, I want to be able to look back, with you, over my life to see all the fruit that you have enabled me to bear. That is my prayer. That is my hope. That is my desire. This is what I am asking from you. That is what you will have from me. I have been and will be hearing and answering this prayer of yours. Thank you, Lord.
Lord, help me to be on guard against what is true and false and good and bad fruit. Use your word and your Holy Spirit to teach and me what is of you and what is not. May I and your people bear abundant fruit for your kingdom and bring glory to your name. Amen
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