In the military, it is said that there are three types of people in the world. There are sheep. There are wolves. And then there are sheepdogs. Sheepdogs protect the sheep from the wolves. Jesus said this:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-20 ESV)
Did you know that most fruit trees take between seven to ten years to bear fruit? It often takes time to see the fruit of a minister or ministry. But when things have gone along for seven to ten years and good fruit is hard to find, its time to get real honest about the situation.
The fruit of a leader who is actually a wolf becomes clear to anyone who will look for it. But, make no mistake, you will have to look, because wolves are sneaky and cagey unless they are in attack mode. They’re deceivers by nature, and therefore the fruit of their ministry is the propagation of deception in the name of God. They’ll have plenty of truth to share, they’ll be full of the gospel and even full of wisdom. But inwardly their motive is to ensure you realize your own need for them, to keep you as a dependent, and to strengthen their own power. They work hard to maintain appearances and to shut down or subdue anyone they perceive is discerning or called to leadership.
But a sheepdog is one who thinks about the safety of others above their own lives. They are ones who give and serve for a greater cause—without a personal agenda. Sheepdogs have nothing to hide. They’re always vigilant, even when they’re misunderstood. They have a hard time hiding their true nature, and typically don’t see a need to do so. They work hard for others, often far beyond the point of appreciation. They provide a safe place for others to feel encouraged and to thrive.
It is very rare for anyone to say they’re wolves! It’s time to check our own motives and look at the effect or fruit of our own lives and ministries. It is time to check for integrity in our own hearts.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for eighteen years, and is the proud father of two boys.