Christians - You Will Know them by Their Fruit
There is a lot of talk about fruit in the Bible. God uses fruit imagery to help us understand His word. This section of the Bible is specifically about being able to spot false prophets.
You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Matthew 7: 16-20
The truth is we have an enemy out there and he is sneaky and deceptive. Sometimes it is very easy to see evil for what it is but so often it trickles its way in, seemingly innocent at first but eventually it is destructive. So the first question to ask ourselves, is what fruit do we see?
The Bible says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Not fear because God is some terrifying being but fear rightly puts us in our place and God in His. He is our creator and sustainer. He is sovereign over all. When we understand and accept that, a healthy fear develops and this is the beginning of wisdom.
As we grow in our knowledge of the Lord, and God gives us wisdom, we also develop the ability to see good and bad fruit as it talks about in Matthew. When we are following a Pastor, what fruit do we see? When we are deciding whether or not to support a ministry or missionary, a good place to start is what fruit do we see? We should also regularly be assessing our own lives. What kind of fruit is being produced in our own lives? We will know whether we are being nourished from our source by the fruit we bear.
Are grapes gathered from thornbushes? No, they are gathered from branches of vines and a healthy vine will give us an abundance of grapes. Sometimes we can see fruit but if it is not of the right tree
John 15 1-7 says
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
The health of each branch that will therefore produce fruit solely relies on the source. The main vine. Jesus is our true vine. We must stay attached to our source. Jesus. In order to produce good fruit.
Healthy trees produce good fruit. Diseased trees or people overcome by evil will not produce good fruit. But bad fruit. Evil will multiply. An unhealthy tree will never be able to produce good fruit. It will always be affected by sin and darkness. We know how it ends. If we are not attached to our source and abiding there then we know how it ends. There are only two choices for eternity.
Fruit comes from the Spirit
Galatians 5: 22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Our fruit comes from the Holy Spirit – these 9 attributes are what will be seen and developed in believers as we abide and walk with the Lord. Our fruit does not mean our works. We are not loved by God by the good things we do. But our works should flow from our faith. What we believe about God, if we love God we will love others and these 9 attributes will be seen. When we practice our spiritual disciplines, when we are in prayer, when we are studying God’s word, when we are seeking to live like Jesus, the fruits of the spirit will be evident. This does not mean we will act perfectly loving, kindly, patiently, faithfully, gently all the time. It does not mean we won’t lose our peace, or our self control, or our goodness from time to time. We are sinners in need of a savior. All of these things can only be accomplished in His strength, not in our own. We are bound to mess up, but the difference is our heart posture. Do we see when our fleshly desire to lash out in anger or lack of self control rages and seek to turn to God and repent? Are we reorienting to a position of abiding in Jesus. Or are we living in our flesh. This is going to determine what our fruit looks like.
The fruit reveals the tree
Unless we are fruit tree experts I would be confident to say that without seeing the fruit it is hard to determine what kind of tree it is. Without seeing the apples, or the avocados it’s hard to tell the type of tree it is. The fruit revels the type of tree. Our fruit reveals our source. Are we good trees? True believers? Are we bad trees? Unbelievers?
Revealing our fruit is not to prove something to others. Our desire should be to please God, not because we have to but because we want to. Ask Him to search and know your hearts and to align your desires with His. Our fruit should reveal to others our source. Seeing apples reveals its source. An apple tree.
When I became saved it was because I saw something different in believers lives. God uses that to draw me to Him. I saw all these fruits in others that I didn’t have. Their fruit, or the light of Jesus drew me in. I wanted what they had and they had Jesus. Fruit represents an outward manifestation of our faith. Seeing fruit is how we know someones faith is genuine.
A Call to Discernment.
The biggest takeaway we have from these verses is the call to be discerning. We cannot be lukewarm, lazy Christians and have real discernment. To know real discernment is to be constantly obedient in the same direction and that direction is up. That direction is Christ.
Even with anything I ever share here, please check it against scripture. It’s part of the reason I have taken a step back from having guests on the show because the more I got to know someone online the more I see their fruit. It’s not likely that I will agree with every one of my guest’s opinions and beliefs but I would hope that the majority align. I have many people asking me to be a guest on this podcast but when I do some research I can see the reason behind it is simply for exposure for them and that their goal of encouraging Christian women is not a focus goal. That is my goal with this podcat that you would have a place to come and be encouraged as you seek to walk closely with Christ in your roles as wives and mothers.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” is what it tells us in John 13:35 – it is not an accident that love is the first fruit spoken of in the fruit of the Spirit scripture I shared earlier.
Sometimes someone’s true fruit can be hard to discern but I encourage you to look for the love. Who and what do they love and who loves them? What works do they do that is motivated by Christ’s love.
We will end with that this week, it’s just a short and sweet podcast episode to encourage you to be discerning, look for the fruit, test everything against scriputre, be constant in prayer and follow the Love. God is Love. and therefore the boundaries he gives us within the Bible are love, not what culture as a whole decides is love. God’s love is the only truth there is.