Matthew 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?"
Truth is the golden nugget buried under lies and half-truths that are piled up and crisscrossed over and under each other like an old ugly ball of yarn scraps. Over time, as the older threads begin to rot and disintegrate, new lies are tied onto the tail ends and then added to the depth of deception that keeps the golden truth from shining out. But just because the truth is concealed doesn’t stop it from being. It’s there even if you can’t see it. Truth is enduringly real; lies are counterfeit and thus inherently temporary. Truth is the never changing solid; lies are the shape-shifting transparent shadows.
In this world, and until God says, “Enough!” and Jesus returns to wrap it up, we have no choice but to live in a realm where there is antithesis to everything. Where there is light, there is dark, where there is good there is evil, where there is real, there is also imitation.
How does one determine what is real and what is fake? If we lean on Matthew 7:16 as our go-by, we are told that we should be able to look to the fruits. Certainly this is solid advise and can be applied to more than just spiritual topics. Who can argue that politics and apostate religion aren’t intrinsically lie-based? Regardless of beautiful, inspiring rhetoric, there always comes a day when lies and promises spoken so eloquently by politicians and preachers can be measured by their fruit/results/outcome/consequences. The truth finally comes to light eventually.
That’s not the problem.
What if for lack of interest in having discernment, lack of even caring what good fruit is and isn’t, we embrace the beautiful lies at face value, and are then blocked from and unable to test whether or not fruit is real or just good-looking reproduction?
I fear the stumbling block in this age is not so much that we are gullible and easily lead astray by wolves in sheep’s clothing, which has ever been so, but that we have been carefully reprogrammed to abandon discernment and therefore are blinded to the real deal. When given the choice, we eagerly go for the “perfect” fruit, which appeals to our shallow self-righteous “enlightened” propensity to align with what looks right, feels good and faultless by today’s standards. Unfortunately, today’s standards have nothing in semblance to God’s standards and there are many who are tightly, hopelessly entangled in the deceptions and yet haven’t a clue of their dire circumstances.
Humility, for example, has been drastically redefined so that the original intent of this Godly attribute of character is deeply hidden from view. It is a simple truth obfuscated by perfect-looking lies. Nowadays one merely has to appear appropriately self-effacing and pious to be deemed humble, which is by definition, false humility. The real fruit of genuine humility seems to have been kicked aside and isn’t on anyone’s radar anymore. Another way to put it: no one wants to know the truth anymore about anything. Modern society prefers glittery illusion. We want to be entertained, not educated. Now we look no farther or deeper than the appearance of humility therefore merely how someone appears to be is justified as all the fruit we require. And we happily settle for this imitation; delighted and satisfied with our delusions.
Meanwhile the wolves and psychopaths gleefully prosper from our ignorance.
We do not consider and indeed reject how easy it is to pretend, to play-act, feigning self-denial and picture perfect righteousness, all the while and underneath, pushing a dark agenda that is self-based, self-promoting and self-righteous. I fear this is way worse than a ravening wolf in a sheepskin leading others away from the truth. At some point, since the sheep not only aren’t looking for anything more than what they see on the surface, they are more than just sheered, they are more quickly, easily brought to slaughter.
We are at a critical stage now, where even when the sheep are presented with the truth and the rotten or lack of fruit revealed, another diabolical twist in the lie of false humility kicks in to seal their fate. They succumb to the pious lie that sheep, i.e. Christians, must not stand up for truth because it isn’t...well...you know...it isn’t humble.
Charles Spurgeon said: “Very likely the most humble man in the world won’t bend to anybody. John Knox was a truly humble man, yet if you had seen him march before Queen Mary with the Bible in his hand, to reprove her, you would have rashly said, “What a proud man!” Cringing men that bow before everybody, are truly proud men; but humble men are those who think of themselves so little, they do not think it worth while to stoop to serve themselves. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were humble men, for they did not think their lives were worth enough to save them by a sin. Daniel was a humble man; he did not think his place, his station, his whole self, worth enough to save them by leaving off prayer. Humility is a thing which must be genuine; the imitation of it is the nearest thing in the world to pride.”
And CS Lewis put it like this: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less”.
If we could stop obsessing over image and turn our focus 180˚ on God’s kingdom and glory, we might be able to regain our discernment and perhaps salvage more remnant. If not, then we pray the days will be shortened less everyone be destroyed.
Philippians 2:3-5 "(3) Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (4) do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (5) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,"
1 Timothy 6:3 "If any man teacheth a different doctrine, and consenteth not to sound words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; (6:4) he is puffed up, knowing nothing, but doting about questionings and disputes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, (6:5) wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, supposing that godliness is a way of gain."