“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.  Matthew 7:15-20


In her hit song “Anti-Hero”, Taylor Swift sings the following lyrics. “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me. At tea time, everybody agrees.” Her intention is probably to be a bit facetious while also articulating the fear of being accused of wrongdoing. Regardless of her intent, this lyric is a line I often think as I evaluate my own heart. There are times when I ask myself, ”Am I part of the problems I see, or am I part of the solution?”

When we read texts like Matthew 7:15-20, it can be easy to assume we are watching out for someone else. That admonition is a significant part of this text, but it may be wise to stop and ask ourselves, “Are we false prophets?” You may not think of yourself as a prophet or teacher, but the things you believe and the way you live is a message to all who interact with your life. If false teaching is taking place throughout our lives, we might join Taylor by saying, “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.” 

The real question is, how do we know? How do we know if our lives are portraying truth wrongly? The answer is given to us in this passage. We can only look at the fruit of our lives. Are we learning to live according to Jesus’ teachings? Are we living according to the sermon on the Mount? This is easier said than done, and it is a lifetime endeavor. My invitation for us is to let passages like this cause some introspection. 

With all this said, I also want to remind you that one of the teachings of the scriptures is that there is forgiveness for our mistakes. Today’s devotional is not meant to cause shame or condemnation. It is simply a diagnostic tool for our hearts. If we feel condemnation, that, too, is a falsehood. The way of Jesus teaches forgiveness for sin and an invitation to true living. So let’s evaluate our own fruit: is it truely lifegiving fruit or are we the problem?


by Aaron Bjorklund


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