This is what God gave me today in His word:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 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. (Matthew 7:15-17)
Now looking out for false prophets, teachers, and the like is necessary; we should be making sure that everyone we hear preach, or teach in some manner, has good fruit. i.e. That their family isn’t in disarray, that they aren’t in disarray (in sin), etc.. But have we ever looked at our own fruit before?
What are our own lives like? What are the sin struggles in our lives? More importantly though, are we asking God for His strength to overcome, or are we trying to overcome by our own strength? Anyone can play “pick apart the pastor”, but the struggle is in realizing, and being able to admit to ourselves, that something is a sin, and that we must rely on God to help us overcome it. This verse says it better than I do:
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5)
We are to examine ourselves, to make sure that we aren’t lip-worshipers only, but are actually living as a Christian should – uprightly. Paul, in the above verse, also tells us why we are to examine ourselves: he poses the question, “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you”. We are to live upright, and holy lives, because Jesus lives in us. Romans (chapter) six tells us that our old nature has been crucified, and Jesus has come to fill the void. Thus, we should no longer want to sin, but rather, we should want to serve and bring glory to God. (Our flesh, however, still wants to sin).
The whole point of even putting ourselves to this test of fruit, is to see if we’re living the life of one saved by the death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus, or the life of one still living in sin. All Christians, at some point, will give into the flesh. So, even if we do for a time fall to sin, all true Christians will eventually “bounce back”. That being said though, we aren’t to put ourselves in the path of train! We shouldn’t put ourselves in positions where an opportunity to sin might present itself. In fact, putting ourselves into situations where we could sin is in of itself “bad fruit”. Instead of doing that, we are to put ourselves in situations where we might have a chance to do whatever God wants us to do.
The point being this: we are to examine our fruit. Are we in slavery to sin, or are we free in Christ? Are we trying to give glory to God, or trying to do the bidding of Satan? Bondage to sin is nothing to mess around with it, it is very serious. In order to have a will to break free, much less the means to do so, we need Christ’s help; in fact, we need Jesus to do it through us, because in of ourselves have no power to resist or fight back. Which is why we must make sure we aren’t simply those who profess to be in Christ, but aren’t. Otherwise we will never break free from sin – it will continually have a death grip on us. And if we do find ourselves to be lip-worshipers only, we should ask God to forgive us, and to free us.
You are Loved!