This morning I was reading Matthew 7:15-20 about good trees being only able to bear good fruit and bad trees only being able to bear bad fruit. It is by this fruit that we should know a false prophet.
I found this very difficult before, because there were some people I thought were very fruitful and later discovered they were people I would put in the category of false prophet. This left me confused. I think there may be others out there who may be confused as well so I am writing this for anyone else like me.
I would see a large church and think -wow, they’re fruitful! I mean they clearly are having a large impact for the kingdom so they must be good right? If size were the indicator of fruit, look how many followers the Unification church has, or other cults. People can be mislead. Maybe that’s why there are many warnings about being mislead in the Bible. I have seen leaders justify themselves based on their numbers alone. Just because you have followers doesn’t mean your on the right path – maybe your just leading a lot of people to the wrong place.
See we mistakenly define success by the numbers. It is certainly an easy measurement and clearly you want to bring as many people to Jesus as you can, but as Christians we’re missing what success really is. It’s not actually about the numbers for us because salvation is not our job – it’s Gods. Our job is to love people like He does, the rest is up to them and God.
Success is doing our job and love is not measured in numbers. Some people are more difficult to love than others so you can’t say one person is more loving because they handed out 1,000 Bibles or sandwiches to the homeless verses someone who had tea with their grumpy, embittered neighbour. Both actions are loving, period = success.
A healthy church should grow in numbers (and then get smaller because they are planting other churches) but as outlined above the numbers are not the success, the fruit is:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Be careful not to jump to conclusions because someone can appear to have this fruit but only be going through the motions. It takes time to see if the fruit is just an appearance or comes from deep roots within.