When I was a kid, I remember every year loving all the Bradford Pear trees. I would tell my mom how beautiful they were, and she would always comment on how they are pretty, but they are invasive…and they stink. Then one day I would notice a nasty smell and say, “What is that terrible smell?!” She would reply, “It’s those Bradford Pear trees you love.”
It was then that I began to realize that just because something is pleasing to the eyes, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.
Now, when spring comes, I notice those pretty trees…but I’ve also noticed how very bad they are for our land. They seem to pop up everywhere, almost like rabbits they multiply…and boy do they stink.
This is a really good reminder for us on a spiritual level. Just because something looks pretty…doesn’t mean it’s going to be profitable or good for you. The world gives us many strong examples of this…but let’s be honest, so does the church. Just because a church has a flashy building, the best lighting and sound and a charismatic pastoral staff, doesn’t mean it’s healthy or good for you.
The recent revelations about several big churches lately, have reinforced that.
It’s the fruit we are to observe. Does it stink? Is it shiny on the outside but rotten within? When you get closer to the leaders of the church, do you notice something is missing?
Never ignore that discernment. Instead, lean into it and ask God about it. He will let you know if it’s true or not. Don’t go off the word or recommendation of others, ask God.
Countless times, I have seen ministries that gave me a real check in my spirit…but under the advisement of others and also out of feeling like I might be judgmental…I proceeded with interactions with them…and Every. Single. Time. I regretted it.
It’s ok to listen to that still small voice even when it is different than what everyone else says. Not everyone has discernment. It’s ok if you are the only notices something is off.
The moral of the story today is, stay aware. Let God speak to you and when He shows you something, believe Him. Man, I wish I would’ve always done so.
Right now, I’m living out several unnecessary pains because I allowed myself to come under things that I knew from the start were not all they appeared to be. I’ve asked God to forgive me and now I’m even more determined to take heed. It’s never to late to begin again.
Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard; He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For You, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance. Psalm 66:8-12
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45