True and False Prophets: Matthew 7:15-20, Luke 6:43-45
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One Reply to “True and False Prophets”
When I read, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit” I reflect on my life, the mistakes I’ve made and wonder how I was able to have bad years. It must be true that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, but perhaps it can have some bad seasons where the fruit is sparse or even not worth eating. That’s worth thinking about for a minute.
This is quickly followed by, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Ouch! Hang on, I was just about to _____ (fill in the blank). As a parent I’ve heard that a million times. As an adult, I’ve said that ?? times, certainly thought it often enough. Our sinful nature, not something to be proud about at all.
In Luke 13:3-8, Jesus tells us to repent or perish followed by a parable about a man with a fig tree that wasn’t producing fruit. The man in the story loved the tree and begged for another year before cutting it down. We don’t know the rest of the story because it’s not important to the teaching–what is important is that Jesus is willing to fight for us, to give us one more chance, but at some point we must realize that bearing good fruit is our purpose in life. We must bear good fruit.
Luke’s version adds, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” What a sobering thought. Our good intentions are always revealed by our deliberate actions or obvious inactions. We have a choice to do something right as well as the freedom to do nothing, both are actions that reveal our hearts.
Now the title of this post is true and false prophets so we must digress a moment and hear what is being said in context. Many will come and claim to be prophets, to have knowledge and wisdom far beyond our own. They will look legitimate, sound great and teach with zeal, but many will be wolves in sheepskin. We need to be cautious about accepting everything we hear. That’s not news for this skeptical age, this time of internet access where just about anything can be supported or disputed by someone’s random post.
The test comes with time in the equation mixed with really getting to know people. Both of these components are not savoir faire in today’s microwave culture, but the rich joy that comes with patiently listening and developing friendships is worth the delayed gratitude. Oh how I wish we could just slow down and enjoy time together. Then we could see the fruit. Maybe not so much this year, but the next or the year after. Some fruit takes a while to be revealed.
Lord, once again I pray for discernment, for the ability to see true and false prophets and to stay far from those who would mislead others, even call them out if it is your will. Guide my actions and inactions, make them both useful to building up your kingdom.