How do we know what kind of tree is in front of us?

         Why do we care?

         Substitute person for tree and ask the same questions.

         In our haste to obey the command “Do not judge” we sometimes commit a fatal error of ignoring or skimming over the teaching on how to tell a tree by its fruit.

         The teachings can both be found in Matthew – chapter 7. Jesus clearly intended to teach us not to judge others because we will be judged in the same way. So instead of criticizing the people around me – I need to show mercy … the same way I want to be shown mercy. Jesus also points out the need to remove the obstructions in my own life to allow true vision instead of worrying about the minor issues in the vision of others.

         Equally clearly in verse 6, Jesus expects us to know the difference between giving the sacred and valuable to dogs or pigs. It could be dangerous.

Keeping those in mind, today’s concern is the teaching in verses 15 – 23:


Underneath some seemingly mild people who profess Jesus lurk ferocious wolves.  Do we really want ferocious wolves as spiritual mentors?

         Jesus knows them instantly even as they call Him “Lord, Lord”. His response?

         “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

         How do we know what kind of tree/prophet is in front of us? We become fruit inspectors.

         Why do we care about the type of tree/prophet  in front of us? We can’t get good nourishment from bad fruit.

         Jesus never intended us to go through life making judgments about people … for lots of reasons. We can’t see their heart, we don’t have all the information, and the bottom line is – it’s not our place. That belongs to Him.

         But we are to be “fruit inspectors”. Just as fruit grows and ripens over time until it is good to eat, so grow the people who would nourish us spiritually.


         It has always been about the relationship.


A good tree planted in rich soil, exposed to lots of sun, absorbing the rain, allowing that relationship to grow daily produces abundant fruit in season.

A person rooted in Jesus, exposed to the Son, absorbing Living Water, allowing that relationship to grow daily produces abundant fruit in season.

Watch out for false prophets! Before someone influences us in our spiritual walk, we need to be fruit inspectors. Don’t look for grapes where thornbushes grow. Don’t bother trying to find figs in thistles.  

Worried about your own fruit today? Check that your roots are firmly in Jesus, expose your heart to the Son, drink Living Water … go grow!