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Join us as we explore what Scripture says about money, our words, conflict, judgement, and hell.
Devotion by Sharon Osborne
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. -Matthew 7:20
In the seasons after we moved into our house, we had fun watching the plants emerge in our garden. Everything that grew that year had been planted by the previous owners and each new flower was a beautiful surprise. We enjoyed learning the names of the flowers and plants and I was delighted to find some of my favorites already established in my garden.
What we weren’t too sure about were the thorny brambles that grew along the fence in our backyard, where our kids play. We had an idea of what they were but couldn’t be positive by just looking at the plant. We were ready to tear them out…until we thought perhaps we should give them time to see what these plants actually were. We had a sweet reward several weeks later when black raspberries ripened.
As I was picking some of our black raspberries recently, I thought about Jesus’s words, “You will know them by their fruit.” (Matthew 7:20, paraphrased)
Jesus is warning his followers to beware of false prophets, but we can extend this thought. We are often quick to judge others by the way they look or dress. When someone doesn’t meet our expectations of a believer, we often pass them off as unqualified to speak on spiritual matters. We also tend to judge those who do not yet know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and we decide whether they deserve to hear the Good News based on how they look.
Jesus encourages us to look beyond appearances and consider a person’s fruit…the results of their thoughts and actions. He warns us to not be swayed by a beautiful or flashy appearance to follow someone who doesn’t proclaim the true Gospel. We also shouldn’t avoid a truly anointed man or woman of God because their appearance doesn’t fit our expectation. And when the opportunity presents itself to share the love of God with another, we cannot judge how they will receive it; we simply must be obedient to share.
A plant will either produce sweet fruit that is good to eat, or it will produce bitter even poisonous fruit. A beautiful bush may produce poison, but a thorny branch could give a sweet reward. Just as we were able to reap a sweet harvest when we waited to see what our thorny branches bore, don’t be so quick to discard someone because of their rough exterior; consider instead the fruit of their words and actions.