Jesus warned us of false prophets. He said “by their fruits you will know them” (c.f. Matthew 7:20).
I believe most of us Christians have got it MIXED UP between “the fruits” and “the works/gifts” of the Holy Spirit. And we mostly assess the authenticity of a spiritual leader by looking at the works/gifts of the Holy Spirit through their ministry.
For example, we look at the number of followers, or the extend of charitable giving or the many signs and wonders demonstrated etc.. All these are not wrong, but that was not what Jesus taught His disciples to look out for. He told them (and is also telling us today) to assess and identify by their fruits, NOT works or gifts.
Don’t forget that Jesus also said that not everyone who calls Him Lord or prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name and done many many wonders in His name will enter His kingdom. In fact, He will declare, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (c.f. Matthew 7:21-23)
The enemy is very cunning and has infiltrated into our Christian camps. Paul says the devil masquerades as an angel of light. Which means he knows how to blend in and fake it.
Hence we need to be alert and pray. Being close to Jesus and knowing the truth is our weapon to discern and engage the lies to corrupt our lives towards allowing His kingdom to manifest on earth.
Therefore, let us not be confused. Look for the FRUITS of the Holy Spirit to assess one’s authenticity of a spiritual leader. Jesus also said, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” (c.f. Matthew 7:15). The fruits refer to GODLY CHARACTER.
How is he/she walking in integrity especially in managing finances?
Is he/she anchored and teaching sound and balanced theology?
How is he/her demonstrating humility and love by being a servant leader, even when receiving criticism or feedback?
Is he/she reflecting holiness and purity through their lifestyle?
By the world’s standard, we pay attention to a person’s or organisation’s reputation or accomplishments. But with God’s standard, we are more concern on the character. And that should also be what we ought to be personally pursuing for ourselves- godly character towards fruitfulness.