How do you feel about television evangelist? I’ve heard everything from “they’re all quacks” to people sending them money to support their ministry. Some people say it is hard to know if they are the real deal or a phony. So what is a believer to do?
Job 34:4 says “Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.” The word discern in this verse means “judge as if in a legal case.” We are to weigh the facts and come to a sound decision on the validity of the person and their message. The process would be easier if you could ask questions and probe a little, but sometimes you don’t have that opportunity. Matthew 7:16 says “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”
One way we can discern if they are the real deal is by looking at their fruit. Are they yielding fruit that lines up with the Word of God? They can’t plant orange seeds and reap apples [Matthew 7:17-18]. If they are sowing truth, then they should be yielding fruit that lines up with the truth of God’s Word.
John 14:16-17a tells us the Lord sent us the Holy Spirit to be our counselor in this life. When we aren’t sure about the origin of the fruit we’re investigating, seek wisdom from the Counselor. He will guide us and direct us every step of the way.
Finally, by having knowledge and understanding of the Word of God we will know if something contradicts the Truth. Whenever I spoke with the students at Lovinggood FCA, I told them not to trust anything I said or anyone else for that matter. I strongly encouraged them to test everything they heard by lining it up with the Word of God. If it was a match, then it was a good word to hang onto, however, if it contradicted the Word of God, it was to be cast aside. Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– His good, pleasing and perfect will.” The more time we spend in the Word, the more our mind is renewed, enabling us to determine right from wrong.
There’s a lot of fruit thrown our way. Some of it is good and some of it is rotten. We need to be aware there are plenty of people who teach and preach in the name of Jesus, but their teaching and preaching does not line up with who He is or His message [Matthew 7:22-23]. The enemy has been a poser from the beginning of time and he is all about taking rotten fruit and trying to pass it off as good. Through discernment, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God, we will be able to spot rotten fruit from a mile away and turn from it. God is looking for excellent fruit tasters. He will provide all the training we need. Apply within!