Today’s Scripture: For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Matthew¬†7:2

There was once a very famous tight-rope walker who walked across tight-ropes without any protection. His day began just like any other, but this time the big top had a little bit of fog creep in during the morning hours, and the rope had a little moisture on it. The crowd was cheering and excited as he climbed up the ladder. To his dismay, he took his first step discovering that the rope had been moistened. But the show had to go on, and the suspense grew. Every step was more treacherous than the one before. The crowd had hushed, and as he got near the end, suddenly his foot slipped and he caught himself with the other foot. Finally, he made his last step. But, as he climbed down the tower, he heard a deafening roar. The circus lion in one leap gulped him down. The ring master ran up and yelled at the lion. “Why would you do such a terrible thing!” he exclaimed. Looking rather sheepish, the lion replied, “Well, this morning I was hungry so I ate a clown and he tasted funny. Since then, I have been looking for a more balanced meal.”

Did that story go like you thought it would? Probably not, but it will help keep the concept of balance fresh in your mind for a little while. This life is about balance because we do often walk on a tightrope in our personal lives. However, we sometimes forget our own fragile position on that tightrope and decide to make it even more difficult by becoming a fruit inspector. We attempt to determine another’s salvation by how much fruit they are bearing, yet we neglect to keep four very important points in mind.

1. Self-inspection is critical before we are critical. The first thing we should do is judge ourselves. The arrogant fruit inspector overlooks things in his own life.

2. The absence of obvious fruit does not mean that it is not there. Beware of premature judgment. Even Abraham, David, and Peter had times when they were not producing fruit.

3. The appearance of fruit is not proof of salvation. Some very good people trust in their works to get them to Heaven and are unsaved. When works and righteousness become the objects of assurance, we have taken our eyes off of Christ.

4. The fruit is not a result of faith but of faithfulness-two very different things. The fruit comes from staying close to the Lord.

Let us never use fruit as a judge of another person’s salvation for the perilous tightrope of a fruit inspector is a dangerous place to be.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.