The English language is filled with sheep imagery. If you can’t sleep, we try “counting sheep.” If you’re accused of something, you try to look “as innocent as a lamb.” Saying you’ll be there “in two shakes of a lamb’s tail” means you’ll be there quickly. And we all know it’s not a good thing to be the “black sheep of the family.”
One such example, taken from the Bible, is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” This phrase refers to someone pretending to be harmless or part of a group in order to prey upon that group. Their disguise and wicked intentions pose a serious danger. Jesus taught that false prophets are wolves in sheep’s clothing (v. 15). They’re the opposite of what they say they are, and they mislead people by claiming to speak the word of the Lord when they do not.
Jesus gives another example, using fruit as an illustration. True prophets are known by their fruit. Good trees will bear good fruit and vice versa (vv. 16–20). This is not just a probability but guaranteed by nature, although it does take discernment and wisdom to evaluate fruit accurately.
This principle also applies to the issue of true versus false disciples (vv. 21–23). A verbal confession by itself is not enough, nor are even apparent miracles. “Only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” is the real deal. Obedience is an indicator of true faith (see James 2:14–17). The fakers are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Finally, we see the comparison to two houses built by wise and foolish builders (vv. 24–27). While on the outside both houses looked good, the storm revealed the very different quality of their foundations. One would last. The other would be destroyed.
>> On what foundation are you building the “house” of your life? Be honest. Your activities and use of time and money show your priorities. What do they reveal about your end goals in life?
Holy Spirit, today we pray for Your conviction. Show us any way we habitually disobey or dishonor You. Grant us sincere repentance and bless us with good fruit.