Today’s Reading Matthew 7:13-21
One of the murals on the walls at the US Navy BUDS classrooms reads “The only easy day was yesterday”. Meaning that what you did today is NOTHING compared to what you are going to do tomorrow. They have the mindset that the body is capable of doing much more than what the mind tells it can. A SEAL team member chooses to go through the toughest situations so that he can be the best and able to save lives in challenging situations. This is the key to developing a strong minded and effective soldier. You would not want a person who chooses the easy way out. He would be ineffective and too self-absorbed. Imagine yourself involved in a situation where you needed rescuing. Would you choose a person who has not experienced hardship firsthand and only read it in a book? Or would you choose a person who willingly took the time to go through worst-case scenarios and hardships just to gain the experience?
Jesus taught that the easy way is not the good way. It leads to destruction and that MANY go through it. The Way to life is “narrow” and few people find it. Why can’t they find it? The next few verses tells us. False prophets lead people astray. They do it by preaching in Jesus’ name but adding to the Gospel. They preach a message that makes you “feel” good inside and even tell the congregation that you will be happy and prosperous if you have enough faith. How do you get faith? Send me a small monetary gift and we will pray that God will answer your prayer! (sorry couldn’t help that). This is an example of the wide and easy gate that Jesus was referring to.
These false teachers are sometimes hard to spot because they guise themselves as genuine Men of God! (7:15) They do it so well that many have deceived themselves! (7:22) So how do we know that they are false teachers? Here is what Jesus says:
You’ll know them by their fruit (7:16)
a. An apple tree produces apples. It can not produce an orange. So if they are evil then their deeds are going to show them as evil.
b. A thorn-bush cannot produce any good fruit. Remember what the fruits of the Spirit are? Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In general, the false teacher will not have any of these “fruits of the Spirit”. You might remember watching the news or read an article on a popular televangelist that is arrested for indecency or tax-fraud. These ARE false prophets.
As for the Christian, we are to stay focused on the narrow road. If we are then it is hard to meander off and get distracted with worldly desires. Jesus said that we will face persecution for His name. But the path WILL lead to life. The only easy day here on earth was yesterday but it is good to know that we have the Holy Spirit as our Guide, Jesus as our Savoir, and the Promises of the Father.