Lord, teach me to keep my eyes fixed upon you;
to know and understand Your truth.
Help me remain connected to you!
Focus of the month: “You have heard it said…”
Living in the midwest, I have seen my fair share of corn fields and soybean fields. I love freshly plowed ground awaiting planting. I’m not a farmer but I imagine the work it takes to obtain an ample harvest is harder than it appears from my vantage point. The condition of the soil matters, the outside temperature matters and the amount of water the crop receives matters. To reap a bountiful harvest, the proper care and keeping must be part of the farmer’s daily work. No short-cuts allowed. Just as a farmer prepares the foundation for a harvest of good crops, God prepared a foundation for us so that our lives may be fruitful; reaping a harvest of blessing.
That foundation is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus says,
“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.” (Matthew 7:15-17)
A “false prophet”, or “false teacher”, as you may have heard, will attempt to deceive those who have put their trust in God. We must care about this and understand what Jesus is saying to us. It will deeply affect the way we see God, the way we respond to God’s Word and how we have relationships with others. How will we know if we encounter one?
Any teacher who mishandles God’s Word for the purpose of deceiving others or who falsely claims to speak with divine inspiration is considered a false teacher or prophet. So what about bible study teachers, pastors, ministry leaders? Can we be trusted? Let me clarify a bit. We are human and we will fail at completely understanding God’s Word. When our motive in teaching is to bring honor to God and proclaim the TRUE gospel of Jesus Christ, then we can be trusted. If we err we are grateful for and humbly receive correction. On the other hand, if our purpose is to deceive others, to alter His Word for our benefit, or to falsely represent the gospel of Christ we are a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The best way to guard yourself is to know the Truth. Be a woman who seeks God daily, who reads the Bible, who studies and seeks to understand God’s Word for herself. If we know the Truth we can more readily identify false doctrine. When we do not immerse ourselves in the Word of God, we become vulnerable to the attacks of vicious wolves waiting to destroy our faith.
John 15:4 reads,
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” For our lives to be fruitful, we must remain in Him. Let us stay connected to Him, obeying Him, trusting Him…believing Him. I want to be a good worker, one who is not ashamed. I want to correctly explain the word of Truth. I hold onto this Truth from the Apostle Paul, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
For the soil of our lives to be fruitful, the condition of our heart matters, what we choose to set our minds on matters, and the amount of time we spend with God matters. Learn the Truth…it will protect you from the wolves.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Matthew 7:15-20; John 15:4; 2 Timothy 2:15; Galatians 6:9