How to Examine Spiritual Fruit

As professing Christians, one of the first questions we need to ask ourselves is if we are a healthy tree or a diseased tree (Matthew 7:18), and the way to do that is to look at the fruit we bear. However, we must scrutinize the fruit because some fruit can look good outside but be rotten inside.

Simply because we say, “Lord, Lord,” in response to Jesus does not mean our fruit is good. Many will say, “Lord, Lord,” and point to their fruit as evidence. They will speak about the prophecies and mighty works they did in the name of Jesus, and he will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23).

There is a standard we must use to examine our fruit. It is our obedience to the word of God. This standard is why when Jesus rejects the false converts, he calls them “workers of lawlessness.” To Jesus, the law and the word of God are identical. Determination of whether or not our fruit is good hinges on our obedience to Scripture. Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).

We can say and do all kinds of things in the name of Jesus, but if we do not follow his word, it will all be diseased fruit. If this is us, there are serious consequences that lie ahead. Jesus tells us, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 7:19). He also tells us if we do not build our house on the rock of his word, when the rain comes, our house will fall, and great will be the fall of it (Matthew 7:27).

On the contrary, if Jesus knows us, and we root ourselves in his word, not only will our tree produce good fruit, but our Master will trim and prune us so we will produce even more fruit (John 15:2). We will also stand when the rain, floods, and wind blow against us (Matthew 7:25). Most importantly, on the day of judgment, we will be embraced by our Savior and welcomed into glory.

If we want to know if our fruit is healthy or diseased, we need to ask ourselves, “What place does the word of God have in our lives?” Do we recognize its authority as the words of Jesus himself and obey it, or do we treat it as simply the words of another errant scribe and mold it to our desires? How we answer that question will have eternal consequences.

-D. Eaton

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