[Jesus continued:] "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions."
— Matthew 7:15-20 NLT
Disciples are not to be judgmental people. This does not mean, however, that they are to be undiscerning. There is a principle designed into the fabric of our universe: Fruit is consistent with the type of tree producing it. If we want to know about the character of people, look at the consistent fruit of their lives! Jesus is concerned about a very present danger of false teachers deceiving his disciples and leading them to disaster. He gives one simple, powerful, and accurate test to use to detect false teachers: Check their fruit! What kind of character is present in their lives? If it is not godly character, then they're not to be trusted. Look at the fruit of their lives. Watch what they do. We also need to continually be aware that people are watching us and the fruit we produce to see if it is consistent with our profession to be followers of Jesus.
Tender Shepherd, I know it hurts you to see us led astray by false shepherds. I ask you, O Lord my true Shepherd, please bear your fruit in me. In addition, I pray that you protect your flock from the wolves. Give me wisdom and insight not to follow a false shepherd or to be led astray by false teachers. I want to follow only you! In the name of the Lamb who was slain, I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Matthew 3:8
- Galatians 5:22-23
- John 15:5-8
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Sunday, March 28, 2021
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.