The Fruit of Discernment

I am not sure if you pay attention to Christian Twitter at all, but if you do, then like me you have noticed an increasing amount of discussion about Christian Nationalism. Christian Nationalism, as best I can tell, is the elevation of national interests to God’s interests. In other words, when America wins, God wins. Of course, “winning” is determined by one’s personal, political beliefs. For the conservative Republican Christian nationalist, God wins when conservative Republican interests are advanced. Vice verse for the progressive Democrat Christian nationalist. Of course, for some people, by their words and actions, one assumes they believe that God wins when Donald Trump wins.

Recently Beth Moore stirred up the hornet’s nest by confronting Christian Nationalism on Twitter. You can see her take on it here. Together for the Gospel also put out a couple of articles that you can read for yourself here and here.

My goal with this post is not to debate politics. Rather, I want to discuss discernment. As divided as the United States is right now, it is not surprising that Christians are divided as well. I see the rhetoric being used escalating exponentially. Some who wear the name Christian are openly calling for martial law or civil war. Some are professing their willingness to die, and I assume also kill, for their political beliefs, because when their political side wins, God wins.

So I find myself questioning, “I am going crazy?” With so many Christian brothers and sisters buying into these ideas, am I the one who is missing something? Am I the one who is resisting the will of God? Or is it them? Are they being deceived by a massive lie? How do we discern truth from error, especially when we feel we cannot trust anyone to tell us the truth?

Honestly, I lay awake at night wrestling with this. Every time I do, I keep coming back to the words of Jesus:

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:43-45 English Standard Version (Emphasis added)

According to King Jesus, we discern by analyzing the fruit of someone’s life, including the words he or she uses. I may not be in a place to see a person’s private life, but people with major platforms on tv, radio, and the internet, reveal who they are by their words. Is what they say resembling good fruit or bad fruit?

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:16-24 English Standard Version

I truly believe this is the filter we should use when trying to discern whether or not the person we are listening to is speaking from God or not. Are their words demonstrating and promoting the fruit of the Holy Spirit? You know, the third Person of the Holy Trinity. Or are their words demonstrating and promoting anger, division, strife, etc? I am not sure the loud, angry voices coming from our Christian brothers and sisters is what King Jesus wants.

“But Sam,” you say, “how can we not be angry? Look at what’s happening!” Sure, sure, maybe you have cause for anger. You know who also has plenty of cause for anger? King Jesus. You know who demonstrates love, mercy, and patience with rebellious sinners, addicts, and the like? King Jesus. In fact, the only people we see Jesus demonstrating real anger against are religious people who thought they knew what God wanted.

Remember, whichever sinful human being sits in the Oval Office, Jesus remains King, and He is the one to whom we must answer.

Published by Dr. Sam Draper

Sam has been with Greencastle Christian Church in Greencastle, Indiana since 2017. He is married to Jessie and they have one son, Joey. Sam completed his Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation in 2019. Sam’s favorite hobbies include biking, reading, playing board games, and eating Chipotle burritos.

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