"Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Matthew 7:17
You have heard the idiom before that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck. This is a test by which we confirm the truth about something. If it meets all the criteria than it is true.
It is the same with Christianity. In order for someone to be "judged" as a Christian they have to meet the same criteria-- every part has to line up. For example, I meet people daily who profess to be Christians but you have to wonder.
Jesus said you would know them by the fruit they bare. He said there would come wolves that were dressed like sheep. He also said that not everyone who says, Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven. So what is the confirmation test? The first criteria is whether or not they are "born again". A duck can only be classified as a duck if it is "born" a duck. Jesus said that we must be born again.
Do they look like a Christian? What does a Christian look like? They look like love.
Does it sound like a Christian? What does a Christian sound like? They speak the truth, they don't tell lies, they don't gossip, they speak blessings and not cursing, they have praise in their mouths instead of criticism and bitterness.
They act like a Christian. What does a Christian act like? They act like Jesus. They are kind, not easily provoked, have the peace of God residing in their lives, their lights are shining, they love their neighbor as themselves, they are hiding the word of God in their hearts so they won't sin, they are living sacrifices, they are not covetous, they are living righteous and holy lives, they are children of God so they are imitating Him, and so on.
When we talk about the characteristics that define and prove that we are truly Christians, we have to say that Christians are not perfect-- we are striving to be-- but we do make mistakes. Do our mistakes mean that we aren't what we profess? Not necessarily. We all have moments of weakness where we may give into temptations. But the proof is in the lifestyle. A duck has a lifestyle that distinguishes them from the rest of the wildlife community and classifies them as a duck. That distinction for Christians is the fact that we walk in love at all times-- good times, bad times, even when accusations come, etc. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35) And that we do not sin. What is meant by that is that sin is no longer our lifestyle. It is no longer something we do because it is our nature to do so. We have been changed. We are being transformed by the power of God. So if we are continuing to practice sin and it comes natural for us, then we may "sound" like a Christian-- know how to talk the talk; we may "act" like a Christian-- read the Bible, pray; we may "walk" like a Christian-- sing in the choir and go to church. But if the fruit is not there, we are nothing more than impostures. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." (1 John 3:9)
Have a great day. Are you meeting the criteria that proves you are who you say you are and what you profess to be?
For further reading:
John 7:24; 3:3,7
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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell
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