Beware of False Prophets!
This is Day 22 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.
"And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray." Matthew 24:11.
Jesus warns us often of false prophets. He tells us to beware of them, for they will come in "sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15). In fact, many come not only in sheep's clothing but in shepherd's clothing. There might be nothing worse in this world than one who pretends to be a man of God but is really a child of the devil. Jesus encountered these wicked men a lot in His ministry, and so do we.
Jesus takes the threat of false prophets to his flock very seriously. That is why He warns us about them time and again. He even tells us how to spot them. "You will know them by their fruits," He says. "Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit." (Matthew 7:16, 17).
What is bad fruit? Well, unrepentant sin, obviously. But that is not always so easily noticed. Sin can be hidden from men, though not from God. If the person is more concerned with his own power, station and influence than with spreading the gospel he is bearing bad fruit. If he cares more for the glory of man than the glory of God, if he cares more about riches and opulence than helping those in need, he is bearing bad fruit. False prophets are more worldly than Godly, and it is often hard for them to hide that fact, try as they might.
But unfortunately, false prophets are not always easy to spot. Sometimes they can be quite slick. Jesus tells us we must be as shrewd as serpents so that we are not fooled. But oftentimes we willingly fool ourselves. We willfully ignore the obvious signs of the bad fruit because we have been seduced by the lies, charisma, wealth, or status of the false prophet. Then the bad fruit becomes our responsibility, too. Then we become false prophets ourselves, and every innocent person who is hurt or turned from God or to sin as a result becomes our responsibility too, and the bad reputation poured out on Christ as a result will be judged against us as well.
Today's prayer: Lord, please do not let Your children be fooled by false prophets. Please let us see them for the wolves they are and reject the bad fruit they present to us. And have mercy on those of us who are fooled by these devils. Amen
R.C. VanLandingham lives in Florida with his wife and kids. He is the author of several books including the Christian fantasy books Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity, Peter Puckett & the Enchanted Chalice, and Magdalene Hope & the Elves of Evermore.