[Jesus said,] â€œWatch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. 16 You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thornbushes.17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burned.20 You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds.â€ Â Â Matthew 7:15-20 (CEV)
A prophet is someone that I believe speaks for God. When I think of watching out for a false prophet my eyes are usually looking around at those who are standing before an assembly and preaching or teaching. But today as I was reading this chapter, I tracked back to the beginning of it and looked again at the analogy of looking for the plank in my own eye before the speck of sawdust in another’s eye. Am I listening to a false prophet inside my own head?
All day and every day, there are words that play in my mind like a never-ending music player. What plays can be as irritating as the words to a commercial jingle or as restful and uplifting as the melody of my favorite song. Politicians and ministers are taught in public speaking classes to repeat a concept at least three times in speech so that it sticks in the minds of the listener. What is sticking in my mind?
Criticism. To those of us who are over the age of 30, it comes as no surprise that numerous studies verify that most people have a â€œdisconnectâ€ between what they evaluate in others and what they see in themselves. Ask any woman if she is pleased with her weight or a man if he is satisfied with his physical fitness and 9 of 10 will say â€œno.â€ And yet when asked to evaluate others, we extend a generous leeway.
It can begin at an early age as parents seek to encourage their children to strive to excel. While the concept is not without merit, a child may not hear a balance of approval for achievements. Each child is unique and requires different mixtures of parental feedback. There isn’t a one size that will fit all!
Condemnation. Criticism from an authority brings feelings of worthlessness and that I will never be able to recover and overcome my mistakes and failures. Do you remember the first time that you realized what sin was in your life? What did you think that God was going to do to you about this sin? Did you have a concept of grace? Of forgiveness? Did you think that redemption was possible?
Judgment. Up until a few years ago, I saw God the Father as a powerful Being on a huge throne who watched me with His hand on a far-reaching stick, just waiting for me to mess up so that He could whack me! God’s judgment was a swift and harsh reality.
My brothers and sisters, it is so important that we are a part of a fellowship of Jesus’ Disciples that is not a huge impersonal group of hundreds, if not thousands, who meet once a week and sing songs together. We need a group that offers us accountability and spiritual input that is grown from personal prayer and study time. False prophets can be found inside our own minds as Scriptures are twisted from tools of God to train, discipline, correct and rebuke (2 Timothy 3:16) and instead become tools of the Enemy to condemn and lead us to throw ourselves off a cliff (Matthew 4:5-7).
Jesus could have come and done the will of the Father all by Himself. Instead Jesus came and showed us what fellowship was all about; how His Body works together. He told us to break bread together and remember Him together. The Enemy loves to see Believers walking alone through this life. He trembles when we meet and move together. When two or three gather in the name of Jesus, He is there (Mathew 18:20).
I Will Carry You written and sung by Michael W. Smith