Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are actually vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. –Matthew 7:15-17
Walking through the neighborhood, I looked through a window and saw taped to the glass a “beware of the dog” sign. Lying right behind the sign with the warm sun hitting his belly was a medium-sized dog taking an afternoon snooze. There was nothing at all about this dog that looked worthy of a beware sign. In fact, a part of me was tempted to curl up next to the dog and take a nap myself.
God’s Word gives us warning signs as well. “Beware of False Prophets.” Even though those signs are posted in the pages of the Bible, sometimes we walk right past them and step into the danger zone because they look like sleeping dogs. Seeing what appears to be warm, cuddly, and harmless, it is tempting to walk straight into danger.
Just like Old Testament times when false prophets were common, we are not immune to schemes of the devil, a wolf often disguised as a sheep. What appears harmless is simply there to entice and draw us in. It can feel good and right, but then the snare of sin traps us and we suddenly realize we are in danger.
I think some of today’s false prophets take the form of peer pressure. Sometimes, they come in the form of friends or even strangers massaging our reasoning and telling us that our cheating is okay, the affair is justified, the lying is little, our overindulgence is fine…if we just do it once. Just one bite, just one taste, and no one has to know.
Beware of those who preach a path different than the one the Lord gave us to follow through the Bible. Here is how you can tell if they are false prophets or not…check their fruit. See how they act when no one is looking, and make sure they are reaping a good harvest. For if you see thorns, you have a thorn bush on your hand, not a fruit tree.
Heed God’s warning. False prophets could be leading down a path that looks good at first, but leads to a slippery slope that is hard to return from.
1. What are things in your life that look good and enticing, but get you into trouble?
2. How can you be prepared to identify false prophets in your life?
Matthew 24:10-13; Acts 28:31; Romans 16:17-19