As we begin the new year, Converge churches and missionaries from around the globe will embark on 21 Days of Prayer. Join us on this prayer journey by reading the daily entries on Converge’s blog, or by downloading your free 21 Days of Prayer: Upside-down Kingdom guide (English/Spanish). In addition, you can share daily posts from our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds. Thank you for joining us as we open 2022 in prayer together.
Day 19: True and false prophets
15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Immediately after warning of the wide and narrow paths, Jesus gives a follow-up warning. “Watch out for false prophets.” Just because something is spiritual or sounds spiritual, doesn’t make it holy. The enemy masquerades as an angel of light. Deception is his native language, and he has been speaking it for millennia, making him quite good at it.
So, how can we discern carriers of truth and lies? Jesus immediately answers this question with a great litmus test: Look at the fruit. I have found this test useful in discerning truth in teachings as well as in teachers.
Paul gives a great pair of contrasting lists in his letter to the Galatians. One expresses the fruit of evil flesh, the other the fruit of the Spirit. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:19-23a).
If you want to know the root, look at the fruit. With any teaching or teacher, what is being produced? If it is producing anything other than the fruit of the Spirit or, at worst, is producing the fruit of the flesh, beware!
Father, give me wisdom to discern truth from lies. Reveal in me any thought, belief or action that is rooted in a lie. If there are any false teachers or teachings I have grabbed hold of, help me to release their teaching and replace it with the Truth. Amen.
Continue your prayer journey throughout the year with Converge. Download the 2022 Converge Prayer Calendar to join us as we pray for missionaries, church planters, chaplains and district and national staff members.
You can also join a global prayer network and meet virtually with others to pray for the missionaries, people and specific needs of one of Converge International Ministries’ global initiatives.
Excerpt from 21 Days of Prayer: Upside-Down Kingdom written by Robert Watson and Justin Martz.
Converge is a movement of churches working together to help people meet, know and follow Jesus. We do this by starting and strengthening churches together worldwide.