Do you produce good fruits? If so, are they sweet and nutritious, or are they shining on the outside but wormy on the inside?

Good fruits? Well, I'm talking about the good works you do. But how can good works be wormy? "Good" works are wormy and rotten when they are done with the wrong motive. They are truly good and nutritious when they are done with the right motive.

Jesus Christ said, "Every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Therefore by their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7:17-18, 20, WEB)

We know someone only by judging the works they do, good or bad. However, judging one's fruit can be tricky business, as some fruits may appear good outside, but are truly wormy and rotten inside. Such "good" works are done with the wrong motives. So we're to be aware of those who come to us "in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15)

When we perform good deeds, our motive--the reason why we perform them--is more important than the works themselves. Good works done with the wrong motive may receive the praise of man, but will not receive the most valued praise: that of Yahweh God our Creator.

Charitable giving, praying, and fasting all are good works, but can be done with the wrong motives, thus making them fruitless in God's sight. What can be some of the wrong motives behind these three good works that people do? Let's see what Jesus taught:

Charitable Giving

Jesus said, "Be careful that you don't do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don't sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you do merciful deeds, don't let your left hand know what your right hand does, so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." (Matthew 6:1-4)

When we give alms to the poor, we should not make a show to others of how charitable we have been. Certainly, when we spread word of the great deeds we've done, we will receive praise from our friends and family, and even from the media, but that's all the praise we'll ever receive.

Our motive for feeding the hungry and clothing the naked should be our love for them. Our motive should not be the wish to receive attention from others. Even if we give all our goods to feed the poor, but don't have love, it profits us nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3).


Jesus said, "When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. In praying, don't use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. Therefore don't be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him." (Matthew 6:5-8)

When we pray, we should not do so for the sake of making ourselves look good in the sight of man. It is not wrong to pray in public; however, if your motive for praying publicly is to get glory from others, then your prayers would mean nothing to the One whose judgment is most important, and whose answer you most depend upon.

Our motive for praying should be expressing our deepest, sincerest feelings to our Heavenly Father. For this reason, we should not use memorized words or repetitions in our prayers. Would you greet your earthly parent each day, mechanically using memorized words? If not, then why would you pray using meaningless chants to the Parent of all parents?

Even though we can say as much as we desire to our Father in our prayers, we should not deliberately make our prayers lengthy to manipulate God, thinking that the more words we use, the more likely He will answer us. Our almighty God knows exactly what we need even before we ask Him, so it's needless for us to pray long prayers to get His attention.


Jesus said, "Moreover when you fast, don't be like the hypocrites, with sad faces. For they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen by men to be fasting. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; so that you are not seen by men to be fasting, but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:16-18)

When we fast, we should not go around flaunting the fact that we are fasting, nor should we deliberately make ourselves reflect that we are fasting. The purpose of fasting is to discipline our physical bodies and draw closer to our Father in heaven, not to draw attention to ourselves and receive comments like, "You sure are pious or religious!" Fasting done with the wrong motive will not achieve God's will in our lives.

As you can see, our "good" works are not good in God's sight and will therefore not receive His approval when we do them with the wrong motives. All such fruits are wormy and rotten, and "every tree that doesn't bring forth good fruit [will be] cut down, and cast into the fire." (Matthew 3:10)

When you give to the poor, pray to God, and fast, what are your motives behind your actions? Do you seek glory from man, or approval from our Heavenly Father? Do you value the joy that good works bring to your spirit, or do you yearn for external rewards?

My friends, don't "lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don't break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Shirley Cheng (b. 1983) is a blind and physically disabled award-winning author with twenty-seven book awards, proclaimer of Yahweh God's good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, Bible teacher, founder of Ministry, summa cum laude graduate with Doctor of Divinity, motivational speaker, poet; and author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah?"), contributor to twenty-five, and an editor of one. Shirley has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Something you don't understand? Do you need a bit of guidance in developing a relationship with Yahweh (Jehovah)? Then Shirley would like to help you! Please contact her via her site at and she would be more than glad to do her best to answer your questions! Never hesitate to ask questions, for no question about the Bible is ever too small or stupid.