Daily Scripture Reading – Hebrews 12
Verse of the Day – Matthew 7:21
Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
I want us to think about fruit – both good and bad. If we went on a shopping trip to the grocery store and saw a piece of rotten, moldy, stinky fruit on the shelf, would we all be fighting over who could buy it? NO! Then why do we pay any attention at all to spiritual teachers and leaders whose lives produce only selfish, evil fruit? It is more harmful for us to partake of spiritual bad fruit that it is to eat an old apple or pear!
While we are thinking about fruit – let’s take a test about good and bad fruit. There are three things we need to know about fruit at the store before we will buy it and I think all three have spiritual application.
1. Is it fresh? That may very well be the first question we ask about fruit we are going to buy. If it isn’t fresh, but is instead old and nasty – are we really going to consider buying it? We want fresh fruit! No one advertises just “fruit” – it is all “fresh fruit” – and think about it, would you want to advertise if your fruit was old and mashy? Spiritual application: is the fruit in our lives or the lives of those who lead us fresh? Is in recently grown and produced? Or are we living on the victories of weeks, months or years ago? Real, good, and righteous fruit needs to be produced in our lives DAILY! We cannot ride the wave of the past and hope that we can just coast now in our spiritual lives. It must be fresh. If the fruit in a leaders life is not fresh, soon his ministry will grow stale as well! Know them by their fresh (or not so fresh) fruit.
2. Is it healthy? I cannot tell you all the ways shoppers have developed to ensure that the fruit they buy is really fresh and healthy. They thump, squeeze, sniff, and stare at the fruit to make sure it is healthy. I mean, after all – is there anyone reading this who would eat any kind of food at all without first being reasonably sure that it is “good” instead of rotten or poisonous? Is the fruit fresh and healthy? Spiritual application: are we growing daily and producing good fruit? The fruit we produce tells us about the condition of our lives. The false teachers will produce bad fruit because they are serving themselves and not God. Their bad fruit will eventually show and it won’t be healthy. Do you support a ministry or a church that is not spiritually healthy?
3. Is it ripe? Is the fruit you are buying ready to eat or do you need to wait a while and let it ripen? Some fruits are better bought green and allowed to ripen – but others need to be ripe and enjoyable now. Would any of us buy a fruit that we were told would take a few YEARS to ripen? Spiritual application: Are we and the ones who teach us mature? Are they ripe? Is the fruit good today, right now? If we are immature, we cannot expect that it will take God years to grow us up – that is often used as an excuse for sin in a young believers life. The lack of depth and maturity in today’s church is astonishing! Look at the fruit – is it mature and ready for use NOW? We also cannot think that we will be mature LATER. Maybe in a few years we will commit to spiritual growth!? I don’t think so. Do it NOW.
So we need to examine those who teach the Word of God. We may not agree on every point they teach, but we should agree on most. And if something is taught contrary to God’s Word someone needs to tell the teacher so they can correct the error. If they are unwilling, look for bad, immature, unhealthy, old, stale fruit.
Today – in our desire to follow Him and fellowship with Him, let us strive to examine the fruit in our lives and in the lives of those around us. For us, the fruit must be fresh, healthy, and mature! Otherwise we are a novice and a baby Christian and we need to learn to eat meat and grow out of the milk stage of the Word. If you have been a Christian for years your life and fruit should show it!
Know them by their fruit! What does your fruit say about you?