Season 7 Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, Sweet Selah Moments Podcast

Episode 96 – Good Fruit Bad Fruit

Season 7 Sweet Selah Moments Podcast
Season 7 Sweet Selah Moments Podcast
Episode 96 - Good Fruit Bad Fruit

Episode 96 is all about discernment. Not everyone who “sounds” like a Christ follower actually is one. Jesus warns us of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and tells us to discern by looking at their fruit. Well, how do we do that? Nicole and Sharon wrestle with this dilemma, and chat about how to love those who don’t know Christ and to be aware that not all who claim His Name belong to Him. Join them as they open the Word and study it together. Let’s be good fruit-bearers!

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Read the transcript for Fruit Filled Living-Episode 96

Speaker 1 (00:01):

Welcome to a podcast designed to bring biblical encouragement to your weary soul. We are so glad you’re listening and we pray God blesses you and strengthens you in your walk with him. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is brought to you by the cooperative efforts of Sweet Selah Ministries and Word Radio. Sit back and enjoy.

Nicole (00:28):

Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. This is episode 96, Good Fruit, Bad Fruit. We’re going to be talking about the importance of discernment today. Not everyone who acts like a Christian is one. In fact, some use our faith to manipulate others. The fruit might look shiny on the outside, but it’s rotten to the core. Sharon, have you ever had an experience with rotten fruit?

Sharon (00:50):

I have. Oh my goodness. And you know, apples, we talked about that last week, apples are prime culprits. Sometimes they can look really nice on the outside, take a nice big juicy bite, and it’s brown. (Nicole: Ahh, or mushy and gritty) Or there’s even a worm. I haven’t seen a worm in years, but back in the day when you picked right from the tree. Yeah. That’s not fun.

Nicole (01:11):

They spray for that now so you don’t get worms as much.

Sharon (01:12):

Right, a little worm in your apple. That’s pretty disgusting.

Nicole (01:16):

Yeah. Bananas are kind of tricky too I feel like. (Sharon: Yes, they are.) They’re only fresh and good for like, I don’t even know, half a day.

Sharon (01:22):

They’re so, oh, yes.

Nicole (01:22):

They’re green, they’re green, and oh, I think it’s good. And then they’re mushy.

Sharon (01:25):

And then they’re mushy and they’re terrible.

Nicole (01:26):

Like banana.

Sharon (01:27):

And then they’ve got brownish in them. And then you either make banana bread or you throw them away and say, why, why did I buy this banana?

Nicole (01:34):

Clara will gag if she opens a banana and there’s like a mushy part at the bottom that got squished, she’ll be eating and she’ll go, mom, and start gagging? I’m like, quick, give it to me. Don’t look at it. So rotten fruit is really gross, especially when you’re expecting (Sharon: Yes) something delicious and juicy and sweet.

Sharon (01:48):

Something delicious. Exactly.

Nicole (01:49):

And it’s such a disappointment.

Sharon (01:51):

It is.

Nicole (01:52):

It’s like, ugh!

Sharon (01:52):

It is.

Nicole (01:52):

Like, you throw it away.

Sharon (01:52):

Oh my goodness. Wow. Well, you know, I’ve not only been fooled by fruit in the past, I have been fooled by people.

Nicole (02:00):

Oh, yeah.

Sharon (02:00):

Yeah. I can remember reading a book back when we were first married that had a ton of Bible verses in it, and starting to believe the author’s hypothesis, even though it was really different from Orthodox Christianity. (Nicole: Yeah) Because he was using Bible verses, you know? And he, I can’t remember the title now, it was when Ray and I were first married. Ray helped me see how the guy was manipulating the verses and how he was using stories to get me emotionally involved in his premise. (Nicole: Yes) Ray is such a straight shooter, Nicole.

Nicole (02:32):

He’s great.

Sharon (02:33):

You know, everybody else can jump on some bandwagon because of something or other. And Ray’s like, uh, no.

Nicole (02:38):

Actually that’s not right.

Sharon (02:40):

Yes, exactly. That’s it. He’s not easily bamboozled. (Nicole: Yeah) So he said, Sharon scripture has to be read in context. You can’t take a verse out of context and, you know, prove something by it. You have to see what the Bible says on all the verses on that topic. (Nicole: Yeah) Or you can get really waylaid. Um, so we gotta go to the Bible. We’ve gotta know it. We’ve gotta know it in context. We’ve gotta talk to pastors sometimes about it. (Nicole: Yes) I was deceived by this author because the very fact that he put a scripture verse out there, I immediately was like, oh, he loves the Bible. (Nicole: Right) He must be right.

Nicole (03:16):

Oh. That was so sneaky.

Sharon (03:16):

But he was really manipulating it.

Nicole (03:18):


Sharon (03:19):

So, yeah, yeah.

Nicole (03:20):

No, I had started a book too, um, a couple years back. Same thing. It was a well known Christian author. I was all excited to read it. And in getting through maybe three or four chapters, there was no scripture. And it was a lot of her ideas and her feelings on the things of God. (Sharon: Uhhuh) And it just didn’t set right with me. Like, this doesn’t feel right. (Sharon: Yes) It sounds great. Great stories.

Sharon (03:40):

Those stories.

Nicole (03:41):

These stories, you know, they get us. (Sharon: Yeah, yeah) And, you know, great results from doing this. I’m like, this, this isn’t right. I don’t…

Sharon (03:47):

This a more of a self-help book. Where is Jesus in this?

Nicole (03:49):

Right, exactly.

Sharon (03:50):

That kind of thing.

Nicole (03:51):

So, but I mean, everyone was reading it. Everyone was recommending it. (Sharon: Uhhuh) And she’s very well known. So it’s, you have to be so careful not to be led by the shiny outside, you know?

Sharon (03:59):

We do, Yes, yes. Watch that shiny outside.

Nicole (04:02):

Yes. Yes. And I think we’ve all known people too, that appear to be Christians, and then you see them (Sharon: Yes) later on and going, oh no, you weren’t.

Sharon (04:09):

Yes. This is so sad.

Nicole (04:10):

That breaks my heart.

Sharon (04:12):


Nicole (04:12):

You know, when you see even people prominently that are in high places in TV and, you know, famous preachers, whatever, even, even friends that we have and know and love, and we trust them and you,

Sharon (04:21):


Nicole (04:22):

You think you’re walking with the Lord with them.

Sharon (04:23):

And there’s this worm inside there. Yeah.

Nicole (04:25):

Yeah, that’s been nibbling away. So that’s really hard when, when you find out people that you know and love.

Sharon (04:29):

Yeah. So we’ve gotta be careful.

Nicole (04:31):


Sharon (04:32):

We really do.

Nicole (04:32):

Yep. And be wise and learn that discernment.

Sharon (04:34):


Nicole (04:36):

So, well today we’re gonna be reading kind of a disturbing passage of the Bible where Jesus talks about good fruit and bad fruit. Um, it’s found in Matthew 17, and I’ll start with verse 13, and we’ll alternate reading those verses.

Sharon (04:48):


Nicole (04:48):

So we’ll find out how to distinguish those good fruits from those bad fruits.

Sharon (04:52):

All right. Ready.

Nicole (04:53):

All right. So, “The Narrow Gate. You can enter God’s kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.”

Sharon (05:03):

“But the gateway to life is very narrow, and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

Nicole (05:10):

(Hmm) “The Tree and Its Fruits. Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really vicious wolves.”

Sharon (05:18):

“You can identify them by their fruit. That is by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?”

Nicole (05:26):

(I love that.) “A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.”

Sharon (05:31):

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.”

Nicole (05:36):

“So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

Sharon (05:41):

(Yes.) “Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”

Nicole (05:48):

“True Disciples. Not everyone who calls out to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”

Sharon (05:59):

“On judgment day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.”

Nicole (06:08):

“But I will reply. I never knew you get away from me. You who break God’s laws,”

Sharon (06:13):


Nicole (06:13):


Sharon (06:14):

(Wow.) “Building on a Solid Foundation. Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.”

Nicole (06:24):

“Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood waters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”

Sharon (06:32):

“But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish. Like a person who builds a house on sand.”

Nicole (06:39):

“When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Sharon (06:45):

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching.”

Nicole (06:50):

I bet.

Sharon (06:51):

Ooh, boy. Well, the scary part to me is when Jesus says, I never knew you to people who were performing miracles in his name. (Nicole: Yeah) Wowsers. So we’re gonna unpack that a little bit. (Nicole: Yeah) Because obviously the outward showings of doing the right things do not determine whether it’s good fruit or bad fruit.

Nicole (07:12):

Right. Absolutely. And we need to learn to discern that.

Sharon (07:15):

Yeah. Oh boy. So Nicole, why don’t you start off with the narrow gate section that we read, verses 13 and 14?

Nicole (07:23):

All right. “The Narrow Gate. You can enter God’s kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and it’s gate is wide for the many that choose that way.” That’s so sad. The many that choose that way.

Sharon (07:34):

I know, I don’t like that part

Nicole (07:36):

“But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” So why is the road to hell so wide Sharon?

Sharon (07:44):

I know.

Nicole (07:47):

Like why can’t the road to heaven be wide so everyone stumbles across it and goes? But this is tricky. So I think it all comes back to relying on God. If we try, we can’t save ourselves.

Sharon (07:58):

No. We cannot.

Nicole (07:59):

So the road to hell is wide because we just naturally go that way. Everyone’s going that way. It’s wide without rocks. You just amble down through and you’re there.

Sharon (08:06):


Nicole (08:06):

Like you don’t have to look for it.

Sharon (08:08):

Yep. Nope. Not at all.

Nicole (08:08):

It’s just where we’re going.

Sharon (08:09):

And it’s, it’s our natural bent to be sort of selfish, self-centered, catered to ourselves. Comfy. (Nicole: Yep) To want our own way, to hold on to hurts. (Nicole: Yeah) All of those things, sadly, because of our sin nature come easily to us.

Nicole (08:22):

They do.

Sharon (08:23):

It’s easier.

Nicole (08:25):

It is easier just to do what our flesh wants.

Sharon (08:26):

To just look out for ourselves. It is harder to live sacrificially.

Nicole (08:31):

It is.

Sharon (08:32):

Isn’t it?

Nicole (08:32):

And that’s why the path is narrow, because we really can’t find it on our own. We have to have Jesus come and grab our hand and go, it’s right here through these bushes (Sharon: It’s right here) come with me. And then we stumble along the way and we have Jesus walking with us along this narrow path.

Sharon (08:45):

Exactly. Yeah.

Nicole (08:46):

And we need him every step of the way to heaven.

Sharon (08:48):

We need him. It requires humility to take the narrow path.

Nicole (08:51):

Yes. Yeah.

Sharon (08:51):

It requires saying, I don’t know how to do this. I need your help. You know, this, this big wide road is strewn with people whose lives are wrecked. (Nicole: Yeah) You know, I don’t want that, but I don’t, I don’t know how to do this.

Nicole (09:05):


Sharon (09:05):

And so then we have to kneel. We have to be humble. We have to lay down our comforts and our rights. (Nicole: Yes) And take up the cross and follow him on the narrow road. (Nicole: Yeah) And then we find all the things we found last week on that road, love and joy and friendship in Christ. You know?

Nicole (09:21):

Pick those good fruits as you’re walking along the path.

Sharon (09:23):

Yes. Yes! So sacrificial love is best in the end.

Nicole (09:26):

Yes, It’s tough in the beginning, but,

Sharon (09:28):

It’s tough in the beginning. It’s tough til you see, you know, there’s something I pray for non-Christians a lot, people like in my life. Lord, help them to see that this quote, easy path, leads to destruction. That people that just indulge themselves get in trouble with that. (Nicole: Yes) You know? And that the narrow way is actually the wise way. (Nicole: Mm-hmm) So, yeah. Okay. All right. So now we’re gonna get to the hard part. The tree and its fruit. Yeah. And I’m gonna reread that section. Jesus is really warning us here. He says, “beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit. That is by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit. A bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.” Yes. Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, you can identify people by their actions. I was thinking about that, and I was thinking, you know, in my past, how has that happened for me? We had a pastor a long time ago in a church I will not name, who was a dynamic speaker. (Nicole: Yeah) He really was. But he came to visit me shortly, after I’d been in the hospital. And he came with the associate pastor and Nicole, he said some really inappropriate things.

Nicole (10:57):


Sharon (10:57):

He was joking about taking off his wedding ring on the plane if the stewardess was attractive.

Nicole (11:02):

Oh my goodness.

Sharon (11:03):

And the poor associate pastor actually blushed.

Nicole (11:06):


Sharon (11:07):

And I don’t, I, to this day, I don’t know why he was talking like that.

Nicole (11:11):


Sharon (11:12):

But it really soured me on him because what was coming out of his mouth was not godly.

Nicole (11:19):


Sharon (11:19):

It was very worldly. It was very fleshly.

Nicole (11:23):


Sharon (11:23):

And it made me extremely uncomfortable.

Nicole (11:25):


Sharon (11:26):

I was younger and prettier then.

Nicole (11:28):


Sharon (11:29):

It felt wrong.

Nicole (11:31):


Sharon (11:31):

It just felt wrong.

Nicole (11:32):

That’s, I’ve been talking to my girls about that, about the way they joke with each other and the things they say. Oh. But I was joking. But you still had that little thread of yuck, of ugliness in it.

Sharon (11:43):


Nicole (11:43):

It had to come from somewhere. And it came, it comes from our hearts. Those little, (Sharon: It comes from our hearts) the little slip up about the ring.

Sharon (11:48):

Out of the heart comes.

Nicole (11:49):

Yes. And it comes out when we’re not paying (attention), you know?

Sharon (11:51):


Nicole (11:52):

We have to make sure our, our hearts are where they should be in God.

Sharon (11:55):


Nicole (11:55):

Because eventually it’s going to come out if they’re not.

Sharon (11:58):


Nicole (11:58):

In jokes or in crude jokes, you know, any little slip up.

Sharon (12:01):

Little things.

Nicole (12:01):


Sharon (12:02):

Right. So, you know, it, it just, it didn’t sit well, but because I was younger, I didn’t say anything. I think now I’d say, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop. (Nicole: Yeah) That’s not appropriate.

Nicole (12:11):

I know, that’s so sad.

Sharon (12:13):

You’re actually making yourself sound bad.

Nicole (12:15):


Sharon (12:15):

You know, but I didn’t have, I didn’t feel I had the authority to say anything, you know, then. And then I had another incident, another pastor who was also, uh, the principal of a school that I taught at briefly until he fired me.

Nicole (12:28):

Oh no, Sharon, I didn’t know you got fired.

Sharon (12:30):

I did. He asked me to encourage the children by giving them all A’s the next quarter.

Nicole (12:38):


Sharon (12:38):

Yeah. He did.

Nicole (12:39):

Oh, no!

Sharon (12:40):

He did. And I’d already found out that they’d taken a lot of the money that the parents had given for workbooks. (Nicole: Right) And carpeted the church with it.

Nicole (12:48):

Oh, no.

Sharon (12:48):

Because I didn’t understand higher finance. But, you know, that’s what they told me. You don’t understand higher finance. I’m like, they’re not in the right workbooks. So when I said I can’t do that, that’s unethical. I need to say the truth (Nicole: Right) of where they are, he flew into a screaming rage.

Nicole (13:04):

Oh my goodness.

Sharon (13:05):

And he, he wouldn’t let me even go back in the classroom.

Nicole (13:07):

Oh no.

Sharon (13:07):

Yeah. And later I found out that he’d actually been kicked out of his denomination. He was—you know?

Nicole (13:12):

Oh my goodness.

Sharon (13:13):

But, out of his heart came the rage that I would question him on that. And Oh my goodness, I cried buckets. I’d never been fired in my life, you know?

Nicole (13:24):

And for doing the right thing too. That always hurts a little bit more.

Sharon (13:27):

It was so hard. So, so I think, I think what Jesus is saying is watch, watch for what comes out of the heart.

Nicole (13:35):


Sharon (13:35):

Don’t just look at the showiness on a Sunday morning or, um, you know, the good deeds that we can all do. I mean, Paul talks in first Corinthians 13, you know, if I give my body to, to the flames, and I, and I give all my clothing to the poor, but I have not love, I am nothing.

Nicole (13:54):


Sharon (13:55):

Do we see in people, you know, love and joy and peace and all the fruits of the Spirit, do we see humility?

Nicole (14:03):


Sharon (14:03):

And if not, the kind thing to do is to help them find it, not to just, you know,

Nicole (14:08):

You’re a bad fruit.

Sharon (14:10):

Right. Right. Right. But, um, but we do need to be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. And if we don’t stop them, they can injure and hurt innocent people.

Nicole (14:20):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (14:20):

Right. Jesus says, there’s gonna be some that are in a church, but are not believers that are there to deceive and to hurt. And we better watch.

Nicole (14:29):

And it’s hard because you look at them and you see the shiny outside.

Sharon (14:32):


Nicole (14:32):

You see the miracles. You see the Bible verses and the things that they appear.

Sharon (14:36):


Nicole (14:36):

But if you watch them carefully.

Sharon (14:38):


Nicole (14:38):

It’s going to come out if their heart is yucky.

Sharon (14:39):

It’s gonna come out, yeah.

Nicole (14:40):

It’s going to.

Sharon (14:41):

It is.

Nicole (14:41):

You just have to be really careful and watch and listen.

Sharon (14:43):

Yeah. Yeah. I remember, one more story. I remember working at a Christian radio station a long time ago and seeing a vicious fight between two of the managers there.

Nicole (14:54):

Oh my goodness.

Sharon (14:55):

And I was so depressed about it. (Nicole: Yeah) Because how could they be so mean? But here’s where the fruit is. (Nicole: Yeah) I came in the next morning, Nicole, they were both kneeling. They didn’t see me come in.

Nicole (15:05):


Sharon (15:06):

Confessing their sin.

Nicole (15:07):

Oh my goodness.

Sharon (15:08):

And making up with each other after praying. So, okay. So like all of us are gonna say stupid things. Right? I mean, if we’re, if we’re judging people by every word, we’re doomed.

Nicole (15:18):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (15:19):

But the difference with them was they were on their knees.

Nicole (15:22):


Sharon (15:22):

They didn’t let the anger stay and steep.

Nicole (15:25):


Sharon (15:26):

And they reconciled. It was beautiful.

Nicole (15:28):

Oh, that’s amazing.

Sharon (15:28):

Oh, it was beautiful. I went from feeling like disillusion to going, oh, no, no. That’s right. That’s good.

Nicole (15:34):

That’s Christianity. That’s our walk with God.

Sharon (15:35):

That’s Christianity. We fail but we humble ourself.

Nicole (15:35):

We fall. Yes.

Sharon (15:36):

It’s the prideful ones that always wanna look shiny.

Nicole (15:42):


Sharon (15:43):

That don’t say, yeah, I got some bruises here.

Nicole (15:45):


Sharon (15:45):

That are actually more dangerous.

Nicole (15:47):

It’s true. Yeah. Cause then that yuckiness festers. (Sharon: Right) We’ve gotta get it out. We gotta get the sin out of our hearts.

Sharon (15:52):


Nicole (15:52):

It’ll destroy us.

Sharon (15:53):


Nicole (15:54):

Ugh. Okay. True disciples,

Sharon (15:56):

Okay. So now let’s move on to true disciples.

Nicole (15:58):

True disciples. So how do we not be?

Sharon (16:00):

The last part was sad.

Nicole (16:01):

Right. How do we not be that, we don’t want to be vicious wolves.

Sharon (16:04):


Nicole (16:05):

So “True Disciples. Not everyone who calls out to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many who will say to me, Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name. But I will reply, I never knew you. Get away from me you who break God’s laws.” This section isn’t any easier.

Sharon (16:31):

Actually, it’s not. True disciples are not, um, what one might think. Right?

Nicole (16:38):

Right. It’s not always, like you said, it’s not always the shiny apples, but this is very sobering to think that we could go through life and fool ourselves and stand before God, someday and be like, Lord, I did all these wonderful things for you. And he could say to us, I don’t know you.

Sharon (16:53):


Nicole (16:54):

Get away from me. Like, that’s, that’s, that’s a very sobering thought. You think about, I think about celebrities and they get such crazy stalkers and followers and all that know all about them. And I love you and I know you and, and the person will look at them and go, I don’t, I don’t know you at all. Who are you? And why are you obsessed with me? Why do you wanna marry me? Like (Sharon: Yeah) I think sometimes we can do the same thing with Jesus. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) we can want to be part of that. Of that religion, of that uprightness and that righteousness that we are trying to do it on our own. And we could fool ourselves.

Sharon (17:22):

Yeah. We can, we can be like Christian clubbing, a Christian club.

Nicole (17:28):

Yes. Yes.

Sharon (17:28):

Oh, I wanna join the club. Oh.

Nicole (17:30):

A gold star member.

Sharon (17:31):

Right. When you join the club, you do these things.

Nicole (17:34):


Sharon (17:35):

Without ever knowing God. And you’re right, that was the key. I never knew you.

Nicole (17:40):


Sharon (17:41):

We, we don’t just, you know, elbow our way in and say, this is what I’m gonna do for you. (Nicole: Right) We need to be listening, obeying knowing him.

Nicole (17:50):

Get to know him.

Sharon (17:50):

Because he might ask us to sit back and be pruned.

Nicole (17:54):


Sharon (17:55):


Nicole (17:56):


Sharon (17:56):

All those flashy things might not be ours.

Nicole (17:59):

I wanna be the shiny apple on the outside and God’s like, actually you’re the little one way inside on the branches, keeping the other apples safe from falling off, or whatever.

Sharon (18:05):


Nicole (18:06):

We don’t know.

Sharon (18:07):

We don’t know.

Nicole (18:08):

And we have to know him. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) And know him as a relationship. He’s our friend. Sitting with him.

Sharon (18:12):

Yes. Yes.

Nicole (18:13):

Listening to him praying, talking to him. (Sharon: Uhhuh) It’s the only way.

Sharon (18:16):

It is.

Nicole (18:16):

That we won’t end up someday standing before him going, wait, you don’t know me? What did I miss?

Sharon (18:20):

Oh, wow. Yeah.

Nicole (18:22):

Very scary passage.

Sharon (18:23):

Yeah. We’ve gotta know him. And, and the other part is only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven. (Nicole: Yes) So God’s will is not just that we do flashy things for him.

Nicole (18:33):


Sharon (18:34):

Right? Because if it was, those people would be at the head of the list.

Nicole (18:37):

Oh, For sure. The pharisees,

Sharon (18:38):

God’s will is that we know him and love him.

Nicole (18:40):


Sharon (18:41):

That’s his, what’s the greatest commandment?

Nicole (18:44):

To love him. And to love others.

Sharon (18:45):

We love him.

Nicole (18:46):


Sharon (18:47):

So if we, this is what convicted me so long ago, when I was doing all the great things and was great in the Christian club. And, got sick and had that flu. (Nicole: Oh yeah) And was sitting by myself and God asked me, he said, Sharon, do you love me? (Nicole: Hmm) And I had nowhere to go and no busy things to keep me busy. And I had to answer that question.

Nicole (19:09):

That’s hard, isn’t it?

Sharon (19:10):

Yeah. Yeah. And I spent the afternoon just loving him. (Nicole: Mm-hmm) And that’s what he, he told me at the end, that’s what I want most. Stop it. Stop being so busy doing all these cool things.

Nicole (19:21):

Right. That you don’t sit and know me.

Sharon (19:23):

That you’re not spending time with me.

Nicole (19:24):


Sharon (19:25):

Goodness gracious. You know, fathers can do that sometimes. (Nicole: Mm-hmm) They can be so busy buying all the toys for the kids by getting promotion after promotion and you know, the bigger house and all this stuff. And the kids are like, but dad, could you spend some time with me?

Nicole (19:39):

I just want you, yeah.

Sharon (19:40):

I just want you. And God is saying to us, you are gonna bear fruit when you’re attached to me.

Nicole (19:48):


Sharon (19:48):

Right. So don’t worry about trying to do it on your own. You’re gonna fail.

Nicole (19:52):


Sharon (19:52):

Stay attached. Be with me. I just want you. So.

Nicole (19:56):

Hmm. I feel like when I was younger, we got really hung up on the will of God. What was God’s will for my life. (Sharon: Yeah. Yeah) And sometimes that’s such a daunting, oh no. I have to do all the good Christian things. (Sharon: Yes) That must be God’s will.

Sharon (20:09):

Yes, what is your will?

Nicole (20:09):

So what is your will God? What is my giant path? My big aha moment for you? I feel like that was a big thing for me in high school, like finding God’s will. (Sharon: Yeah). And then I had one teacher go, what is God’s will? It’s in the Bible. He’s not gonna give you a specific plan. Like you’re gonna be a great speaker and lead millions to Christ. (Sharon: Right. Yeah) There are those that God uses. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) But for us, what is God’s will? Love him and love others.

Sharon (20:32):


Nicole (20:32):

It’s so simple.

Sharon (20:33):


Nicole (20:33):

And we get so caught up that we, we get distracted (Sharon: Yes) from the main point. Love God, love others.

Sharon (20:37):

I’m thinking of Micah 6:8. Don’t quote me on that one. What does the Lord require of you? To (love justice) to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

Nicole (20:51):

It’s so much simpler than we make it.

Sharon (20:52):

Yes. We make it so complicated. And that humble thing I think is so important. We’ve talked about this in our team for Sweet Selah Ministries. We’ve got guiding principles for our ministry (Nicole: Yes) And one of them is we’re not going to strive to be big.

Nicole (21:06):


Sharon (21:08):

The goal is not to increase by so many followers every year. That is not where I feel God’s called us. It’s big or small, just your will, (Nicole: Your will) your will be done. There are many ministries that call people to spend time in the word. We are not the only one.

Nicole (21:21):


Sharon (21:22):

We only want the niche God gives us.

Nicole (21:24):


Sharon (21:24):

We don’t need the biggest niche.

Nicole (21:26):

It’s so true.

Sharon (21:27):

You know, so let’s stay small, let God be big. If we’re the little apple at the back of the tree (Nicole: Right) that’s fine.

Nicole (21:33):

Then it’s great cause he’s producing fruit and it all goes back to abiding and remaining in him.

Sharon (21:38):


Nicole (21:38):

Remaining attached to the vines so that we don’t get distracted by all the stuff.

Sharon (21:41):

All the shiny things.

Nicole (21:42):

All the shiny things, it’s so distracting.

Sharon (21:43):

Yeah. And you know it’s really hard to always be the shiny apple with no bruises because you have to, you have to fake it.

Nicole (21:50):

Yeah. Because it’s impossible.

Sharon (21:51):

It’s impossible. (Nicole: Yeah) And so it’s, it’s a strain on your system.

Nicole (21:56):

It’s a hollow feeling.

Sharon (21:57):

I might know that by personal experience. Yes.

Nicole (21:58):

Well, I was gonna say we’re both first born performers. So it does tend to, it’s a terrible way to live because you feel like you can’t make a mistake.

Sharon (22:05):


Nicole (22:05):

It’s exhausting.

Sharon (22:05):

And instead, you know, you need to say, I have some bruises. You need to be like those two managers at the Christian radio station saying, I absolutely lost it yesterday with you. Forgive me my brother. I am so sorry.

Nicole (22:19):

That’s such a beautiful picture.

Sharon (22:20):

I am bruised. You know, so let’s be bruised apples.

Nicole (22:23):

Yes. It’s much easier.

Sharon (22:26):

And also seasonally, we know that sometimes he’s gonna call us to do great things perhaps and you know, see miracles performed and other times he’s gonna call you as a mama of four kids to stay home and do their laundry.

Nicole (22:39):


Sharon (22:39):

With love instead of resentment.

Nicole (22:41):


Sharon (22:41):


Nicole (22:42):

Exactly. Yeah.

Sharon (22:43):

That’s where you bear fruit in the small, tiny, hidden places.

Nicole (22:46):

Mm-hmm. Well, and there’s seasons too. There’s seasons for fruit, there’s seasons for growing things. There’s seasons for us as well. We’re gonna have seasons of kind of more dormant or quiet internal growth where our, maybe our roots are growing deeper or that stem is beefing up or whatever.

Sharon (23:01):

Exactly. Exactly.

Nicole (23:01):

There’s so much In the growing process. Not just the beautiful flowers and the delicious fruit.

Sharon (23:05):

Exactly so, yeah. And then there’s winter where it looks like nothing’s happening. (Nicole: Right) Right?

Nicole (23:10):


Sharon (23:11):

There’s nothing happening. So our job is to stay close. Our job is to know him, to listen to his will as shown in the Bible, which is love others, put other people’s needs ahead of our own.

Nicole (23:24):

So simple, but not easy.

Sharon (23:26):

Sacrificial living. Be humble. Don’t mind when someone else gets the credit for what you did. (Nicole: Yeah) You know, all those hard things. That’s our job. And then from that, in God’s good time, there will be fruit.

Nicole (23:39):

Mm. So that’s good.

Sharon (23:41):

So okay, so that’s a true disciple one that knows they’re bruised. (Nicole: Yes) Okay. The last section is called Building on a Solid Foundation. And here we really continue with a true disciple cause they’ve gotta be the ones that build on the solid foundation.

Nicole (23:54):


Sharon (23:55):

So let me read, starting verse 24. “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise. Like a person who builds a house on solid rock, though the rain comes in torrents and the flood waters rise and the winds beat against that house. It won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish. Like a person who builds a house on sand, when the rains and floods come and the winds speed against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash. When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed.” They’re like, what?

Nicole (24:32):

I bet they were, it’s a lot. My goodness.

Sharon (24:35):

I love the fact that the rain sometimes comes in torrents. Well, I actually don’t love that. I love that Jesus acknowledges (Nicole: Yes) that there are times in our life when the rain comes in like torrents and the flood waters rise and the winds beat. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that in your own life, but sometimes trouble won’t stop coming.

Nicole (24:53):


Sharon (24:54):

You can have a year of trouble.

Nicole (24:55):


Sharon (24:56):

Where you’ve got several deaths maybe in the family and you’re sick and financially, or, it’s like, what, am I Job?

Nicole (25:02):

When the rain pours like, yes. It’s like yes. What did I do wrong? What is happening?

Sharon (25:06):

Yes. Oh my goodness.

Nicole (25:08):

Those are hard storms.

Sharon (25:09):

Those are hard and yet, here we have again, don’t let anybody fool ya. Christian life is not all cushy, lovey. Sometimes there’s torrents coming against you, but, but if we build on solid rock, we’ll stand in the midst.

Nicole (25:24):

What a promise that is.

Sharon (25:24):

Oh my goodness. And have we not seen that in some of the great saints of history? (Nicole: Wow) Elizabeth Elliot. Losing her husband, losing her second husband.

Nicole (25:30):

Yeah. Oh my goodness yeah. Yeah.

Sharon (25:35):

Never. Well maybe she did because she’s human, but she never left that rock.

Nicole (25:40):


Sharon (25:40):

You know, she might have, she might have wondered about him. But she stayed on that rock.

Nicole (25:42):

She might have trembled and shook but she didn’t collapse.

Sharon (25:46):

She did not collapse. She did not.

Nicole (25:48):

Because her foundation was on Jesus.

Sharon (25:49):

Her foundation was on Jesus. And here’s the two keys, anyone who listens to my teaching and follows. Okay.

Nicole (25:56):

So you can hear it, but—?

Sharon (25:58):

Yeah. Yeah. You gotta listen. Which means daily quiet time, which is one of the things we are always talking about because we’re good forgetters.

Nicole (26:06):

Oh my word. Yes.

Sharon (26:07):

We forget so fast.

Nicole (26:08):

Yeah, absolutely.

Sharon (26:09):

Yeah. So we’ve got to really be taking in the word of God every day. (Nicole: Mm-hmm) And then follow. That means confess sin quickly. Fight that bitterness. I can remember the battle I fought over bitterness when Ray was doing his PhD. It was a battle.

Nicole (26:25):


Sharon (26:26):

I was jealous of other wives who had husbands who were more attentive. (Nicole: Mm-hmm) I was sorry for myself cause he was so busy with a PhD he had no time. I decided my children would grow up to be criminals cause he wasn’t spending enough time with them. Right. ?? All the things. Oh for crying out loud. So, and all that did was make me a really not nice person to be around. And so I had to fight it. I had to obey, which meant love Ray with the little time I had with him, turn my bitter thoughts into prayers. Be happy for my neighbors and their lovely husbands.

Nicole (27:00):

That’s tough.

Sharon (27:01):

Right? Trust God that he was quite capable of raising my girls not to be criminals. Even if their father was busy? Right?

Nicole (27:09):

Thank you Lord for small mercies.

Sharon (27:11):

Oh man. But the following was hard. Because that highway to hell that is wide (Nicole: Yes) was calling me to just walk down it with all my self pity.

Nicole (27:22):

Oh, it’s so easy to go down that way too.

Sharon (27:23):

Oh yeah. Yeah. But it is so not worth it. So we have got to follow. We really do. We have to live, taking the Bible in context, like Ray said, you know, not just pulling out verses to please our little fancy, we need to obey it, not read it and talk about the hard things.

Nicole (27:40):

It’s so good. And again, he, he always gives us, I love this part, the promise he gives us after the command to obey, we’re not gonna collapse. (Sharon: Yes) That’s so nice that when you’re sitting, you know, we live up in a mountain a little bit, so when we have wind come through, it’s scary. It sounds like a train coming through. (Sharon: Wow) And the house will shake and my kids will cry and come sit and crawl into bed with me. I’m like, oh no, it’s a windstorm, but it is loud. (Sharon: Yes) But knowing like, okay, our house, I don’t think we’ll fall down. It feels pretty secure. But to have that confidence in Jesus.

Sharon (28:09):

It won’t fall down.

Nicole (28:09):

Okay. My life is falling apart right now. It’s been one thing after another. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) But I won’t collapse because I’m on Jesus, like he promised me I won’t, (Sharon: Yes) if I just stay rooted in him.

Sharon (28:20):

Rooted in him.

Nicole (28:21):

On the foundation.

Sharon (28:21):

Remaining in him.

Nicole (28:22):

Yeah. But there have been times we have had struggles and I wasn’t rooted, I wasn’t as firmly anchored on him. I hadn’t been in the word, I hadn’t been praying and it shook me badly.

Sharon (28:32):


Nicole (28:32):

And then I realized I don’t wanna go through another season of storms without being securely founded on him.

Sharon (28:39):

Right. Right.

Nicole (28:39):

So I did it with him once, I did it without him. I prefer with him. Cause troubles come whether you like it or not.

Sharon (28:45):

Do you know what? The torrents come on the good and the bad alike.

Nicole (28:49):

It’s true, yes.

Sharon (28:49):

Right? The Christian and the non-Christian, the ones that are walking with God and the ones that aren’t.

Nicole (28:54):


Sharon (28:54):

Rain is gonna come.

Nicole (28:55):

It’s going to come. Life is going to be tough. So how do you wanna face it?

Sharon (28:57):

So do you wanna build on sand or on a rock? (Nicole: Yeah) That’s right.

Nicole (29:00):

Rock sounds better.

Sharon (29:01):

Rock sounds much better. So, okay, so Nicole, what have we learned about bad fruit? What should we not do?

Nicole (29:08):

What do we not wanna be? So bad fruits. A bad tree can only produce bad fruits. So if we’re not abiding in Christ, if we’re not anchored to Christ, we’re gonna make bad fruit. We can’t make good fruit.

Sharon (29:18):

Nope. We can’t. Even if we sound good temporarily.

Nicole (29:21):


Sharon (29:22):

It’s gonna slip out.

Nicole (29:23):

If we are not, if we don’t have a salvation in Jesus, we’re not gonna be able to produce good fruit. So. (Sharon: Right) Very, very basic thing, if you don’t know Jesus, you can’t produce good fruit.

Sharon (29:33):

That’s right. That’s right.

Nicole (29:33):

So know Jesus cause he’s wonderful.

Sharon (29:35):

Yes. Yes. Yes. And the good fruit comes from listening to the word. Knowing God. God said, you never knew me. We need to know him. (Nicole: Yes) Following him and staying close.

Nicole (29:46):


Sharon (29:47):

That’s our, that’s our beautiful lesson. And as we go into the specific fruit of the Spirit, which we’re gonna do pretty soon, you know, love, joy, peace, patience, all of those cool things. This was our foundation. (Nicole: Mm-hmm) The foundation is Christ, the foundation is the remaining, the knowing who produces the fruit. So we don’t get stressed about having to produce it.

Nicole (30:06):


Sharon (30:06):

Our job is to love God and wanna be near him. (Nicole: Absolutely) And obey him, which is how we stay near him.

Nicole (30:14):

So that’s a good start.

Sharon (30:16):

Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, I thank you for hard passages of scripture that make me run back to you, Lord, that make me wanna know you better. Oh Father, help us not to be just shiny apples on the outside. Help us to be real. Help us to run to you often with confession. Help us to follow you Lord God, so that we are fruit bearers for your kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Speaker 2 (30:46):

Thanks for joining us this week. May we all ask for God’s help in discerning good fruit from bad. I really wanna help my children discern this as well so they aren’t deceived. The Bible is just full of treasures when we read it. We love studying it with you. Please write us and consider becoming one of our special podcast partners. You’ll get a monthly email with updates on our lives and prayer request for this ministry. We are able to reach people all over the world with this podcast, and it’s our hope that we actually bring hope each week with our offerings. Please consider partnering with us by going to and either sending us a note in the comments or donating or both. And join us next week for episode 97, Staying in Step with the Spirit. Have a great week.

Speaker 1 (31:31):

We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be Thank you for joining us. Thank you for joining for joining us.

You can download and print the transcript here.




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