Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in to the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.
Jesus here teaches that the fruit we produce is indicative of our heart. What we bring forth is a tell. If our life work, time, and focus has largely been to produce outcomes for ourselves then we have a selfish heart. If we seek the spotlight, need attention, look for credit, then we do not have a disciple’s heart but rather the heart of a wolf. This principle extends much farther than prophets, preachers, and pastors. It is a litmus test for everyone. Many of us try to disguise who we really are but the tell is always there. What kind of fruit is being born out of my life? Is it bitter, lustful, vengeful, unforgiving, hateful, contentious, or rotten? If Jesus comes to pick fruit from my tree what will he see?
Lord change me at the root. I want to produce love, compassion, passion for you, and your people. Lord put righteous desires in my heart. Fill me with the goodness of your Holy Spirit. Make me a tree of life to all those who need to be nourished by the fruit from my tree.
Questions for Meditation
What kind a fruit have I produced in the past two years?
Do people associate these words with me (joy, peace, love, compassion, Christlike, merciful)?
Do people associate these words with me (contentious, hypocrite, stubborn, mean, selfish, angry, bitter)?
Now Pray in your own words that God would change you into a tree that produces good fruit!