The fruit of the plant will show how healthy it is. The fruit is used to produce more and it is good food. Jesus speaks of fruit in his parables to describe our faith to teach us about discernment. A good tree bears good fruit but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
We are saved by grace. It is what Christ did for us that saves us. How do we know we are saved? By our fruit. By our actions. By our words. The same is true of our teachers and leaders. When you hear them speak and watch their actions, do they follow what scripture says? Of course we all make mistakes, we all sin. But that fruit that they continually produce will tell us a lot.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
We must be in the Word so that we can discern if what a leader says is true. Often times false teachers will say what their audience wants to hear. But, they (we) need to be speaking the truth, even if it is hard or convicting.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Teachers of the word need to always speak the truth and always teach from God’s word. All of us should share the gospel with others. One day we will all give an account with what God has given us. Jesus did not pull any punches. He had some harsh words for the religious leaders of his day. They were in it for their own glory. But Jesus sees the hearts of men. And he saw their fruit and it was not good.
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
So what fruit are we to look for in ourselves and in our leaders? First, be sure the church you are a part of teaches the truth, follows God’s word, and shows love to all. Make sure they don’t sugar coat or skip over the hard lessons. Also, be in prayer. Pray for our leaders. Pray that God gives us wisdom and understanding and always give thanks to God for all that He has done for us. And know what the word says and live by it. Every day.
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
These are the fruits that God wants to grow in you. Follow these and you will do well. May God bless you and keep you. May His Spirit be upon you.