Mumford was a runner. She opened gates, climbed fences and ran into the countryside. One time she was found shivering in a ditch full of water and rescued. Shortly thereafter she escaped again. She was in an out of the local animal shelter more times than they could count. Then, we rescued her but before bringing her home, she was chipped. Granted, we live in a rural area and finding a wandering dog would be nearly impossible but if she got away and was found, they’d know who she is and where she came from. We had the Budster chipped as well. He’s on a leash when he goes outside but there were times when he was without that leash. Sometimes he behaved and one time he didn’t because something caught his eye or he got a scent of something and off he went. We caught him before he got out of sight and since then he’s been back on his leash. We are still glad we had him chipped. Our other dogs were not chipped because they came to us many years before chipping was popular and affordable. They never wander off so we have never worried about losing them. Everyone in the area knows who they are so if, by some odd circumstance, someone found them, we’d get a call and bring them home.
I am also chipped. I don’t have an identifying device under my skin but I can easily be identified wherever I go.
15 “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.
God checks our fruit. It’s a more accurate way of identifying us than a chip, tattoo, badge or a driver’s license. It’s more dependable and admissable than a confession. Verse 21 of the same chapter says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
Continuing on in that same chapter, we are told:
22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’
If someone called and told us that our dog was at their house and terrorizing their animals and children, we would know they are not telling the truth because we know our dogs and know that is not how our dogs behave. Anyone who knows our dogs would know better. If someone were to call my wife and tell her I was seen cavorting with another woman, she would know that person is lying because she knows me and knows how I behave. Anyone who knows me would know better.
You are getting to know me somewhat through my writings and you may have already drawn conclusions, some true and perhaps some false. By now you realize that I am somewhat of a gnarly tree but you can see my fruit. God knows me and God knows you. We are identified by more than a chip and more than our words. He and others can identify us by our fruit. Some trees stand tall and proud. They are beautiful and majestic but they have no fruit.
Read Matthew 7:19 again.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear.
Let me paraphrase verse 19. “You say you believe in God? Big fat hairy deal! So does the devil. What makes you any different?”
Fruit. You either have it or you don’t. If you don’t…