But not all honey here is created equal. Many people add corn syrup to stretch the honey. You could buy a bottle of, what the people call, "pure honey" only to get it home and have it taste like carmel colored sugar.
So how can you know you're buying the real deal? There are several ways to tell. First, you have to know what real honey looks like. You have to know it's thinkness, how it moves in the bottle, and the natural color of it. You can't tell the real from the fake if you haven't ever had the real thing to begin with. With a sharp eye, you can quickly tell if the bottle they are holding before you is real or not. The fake stuff is much thinner, and moves quicker in the bottle, and has a lighter color. It also doesn't have the tell tale crystalization around the edges. But what about people who only use a little corn syrup to stretch it? Some times you just have to taste it. You can tell immediately from the taste if it is real or not. Of course then you get smart and learn who sells the real stuff and only buy from them, week after week.
So what does this have to do with the price of bananas? It's the same in the church. In Matthew 7: 15-20 Jesus warns us about the real deal versus people who appear to be the real deal but have corn syrup added to their doctrine. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
Jesus again warns us in Matthew 24 to watch out for false prophets and people claiming to come in the name of the Lord, or even that they are the Lord! As a church we should constantly be on the look out for people who claim to be the real deal, but have allowed other influences to tait the truth. 2 Peter 2: 1-3 also warns against this: "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."
The best way to tell separate the honey from the syrup is to know the honey. By studying the Word for ourselves, we know for ourselves what it says. Passages become familiar to us. We learn to "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him" (Psalm 34:8). That way, when we are interacting with people, teachers, pastors, preachers, we can we can immediately tell whether they are speaking the truth or truth mixed with syrup. We can also take what they're saying, absorb it, digest it, and compare it with what we know to be true. As we learn to compare what others say to the Word, when something someone is telling us just isn't right, it will start to leave a funny taste in the mouth.
"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.