Matthew 7:16 – You will know them by their fruits.

The context of Jesus’ teaching is “be aware of false prophets, who come in sheep’s clothing.” They look and sound good on the outside, but inwardly are “ravenous wolves.” We are to be fruit-checkers. If a person claims to be an authority on some subject, it is important to examine what has been produced in their life. Words are cheap, but godly fruit comes with a price tag. Any prophetic voice that has not been through the fire is suspect. Anyone who claims to be an apostle and has not known rejection is not being truthful. Growth, most of the time, is frustrating and painful. Paul instructs, “Know those who labor among you” (1 Thessalonians 5:12). In the context of Matthew 7:15-23, Jesus uses the understanding that a tree can be either good or bad. The proof is in the fruit it produces.

Jesus likens Himself to a vine in John 15. He makes it clear that this vine is fruit bearing. The Holy Spirit has made us a part of that vine as branches which are to bear fruit. If the branch bears good fruit it is pruned so it might bear more good fruit. If the fruit is bad or the branch is fruitless, it is removed. If the branch is no longer receiving the life of the tree it shrivels up and dies. Jesus declares, “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Our life is derived from Him. He is the vine and we are the branches. The Holy Spirit made the connection and the Holy Spirit supplies the life that flows from the vine to the branches. It is the Holy Spirit who anoints us to be fruitful.

I want the fruit of my life to be known as “good.” I want that fruit to be a product of the vine, the Lord Jesus Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you fruitful for Jesus’ sake and in Jesus’ name.