Daily Dose, Aug. 1

 

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (Matthew 7:15)

Being healthy has almost become a form of religion in the U.S. Imagine that you have decided that you want to jump on the bandwagon and get into shape, so you head over to the local gym to find a personal trainer to help you along the way. Now imagine that when you arrive, you are given the option of one of two personal trainers: one whose body exhibits the habits of exercise and healthy eating, and one whose body does not. All things being equal, who would you choose? Well, obviously it is the person whose body evinces a life of discipline.

The spiritual life also requires training to be healthy. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns us about those who, by their words, seem to be the real deal, but whose actions belie their speech. The litmus test for discerning whom to take spiritual advice from, Jesus tells us, is to look at the life of the person who is offering it. If that person’s life produces good fruit, i.e., if that person is loving, joyous, irenic, faithful, self-controlled — there is your indicator of a “true prophet.” — Wes Maston, Director of Discipleship