15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
We will be known by our fruit. What exactly does that mean? How will we be known by man as being a true Christ Follower rather than a false prophet?
Does knowing scripture or attending church make us true Christ Followers? Can quoting scripture or leading worship make us a true Christ Follower? Does being at church every Sunday or every time the doors are open, make us a true Christ Follower?
Jesus said it best, "By their fruit you will recognize them." Simply put and easy to comprehend. No hidden meaning just simple truth.
In Galatians, our fruit is described as that of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control which is given to us by the Holy Spirit. When we receive Christ into our lives, The Holy Spirit takes residence within us and when we give Him control, He lives through us.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."
When we are living our lives with Christ on the throne, we radiate and reflect the fruit of God's spirit. His love, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness and His self-control flow through us. They are not things we do on our own but are instead a response of His living within us.
When we interact with people, what do they see? What fruit do they recognize, if any? Are you wearing "sheep's clothing" and pretending to be something that you are not. There are many imposters out there but they are easy to spot if you know what you are looking for. Galatians has that answer for you as well.
"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Just because someone can quote scripture or lead worship, does not make them true Christ Followers. Even the devil can quote scripture.
5 "Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
"'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone"
An imposter is easy to spot because the life they live is not one lived in the Spirit. When the fruit of the Spirit lives within us, we have a love that is full of joy, patience and kindness. We have a joy that is unspeakable no matter what our circumstances. We have a peace in our lives that passes all understanding and only comes from a walk with God. We have patience with those around us. Our kindness speaks of our disposition. Our goodness speaks of our words and actions. Our faithfulness, gentleness and self-control speak of who we are as people.
Those are things that God looks for in each one of us. Those are the things that set us apart from the rest of the world and the imposters. When God is in us, our character and conduct changes and we become a reflection of Him.