“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 (ESV)
Knowing the word, and looking good on the outside, such as being a nice, popular leader doesn’t mean that person knows God personally and/or intimately, or is walking in obedience. We must inspect the fruit. It’s not unloving to inspect the fruit of someone’s life, especially of those who speak the word of God, through the grid of the word. Not everything that glitters is gold! A not every motivating sermon is true, nor is every prophetic word that tickles the ears actually from God!
We’re told not just to know the word, but we must be doers of the word! Knowledge, even the ability to deliver polished and stirring sermons, doesn’t necessarily mean they personally know and are in alignment with God! The only way to know what’s in a man is to inspect the fruit of their life! The fruit of someone’s ministry may be glittery, while the true fruit from walking in an abiding relationship with Jesus is missing! So please inspect the fruit!
To help you know what to look for… fruit looks like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Evaluating someone by their fruit includes being an inspector of our own lives. What’s coming out of our mouth, what’s the attitude toward others who are not like you, or don’t like you? Do you look down upon anyone? Do you hold any grudges? Are you accountable to anyone? Do you carry offense or bitterness? Does your life display joy, peace, patience, etc.?
Ask the Father to prune and remove the stuff that hinders the true godly fruit (John 15:1-7). Ask the Lord to grant you discernment into the people who you feed from (i.e. podcast, sermons, prophetic words, etc.). Ask God to release a deeper level of discernment across our city, to know the true from false, even the good from the best! Ask God to tend His orchard in Athens that He might bear fruit, good fruit and abundant fruit!