Have you ever had one of those conversations with a fellow believer about someone else’s salvation?
“Are they a Christian?” we ask.
And then we will say things like “Well, he goes to church” or “She said a prayer when she was a young girl.”
And then it will be followed by a “But he has never really shown any fruit” or “Her life has never really changed at all.
Can I just say: I never want to be that person. I never want people to wonder whether or not I am a true believer. I never want anyone to say they never saw any fruit in my life. I will never be perfect this side of heaven–a sad, but altogether true, fact–but I want to be moving the right direction and I want it to be obvious to all people I meet– and perhaps even more obvious to the people I live with (that know me best)– that I am, first and foremost, a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me about an exercise a special speaker had with a group of Christian youth. This speaker had brought up one of their teachers and asked the students to present evidence that would indicate that this teacher was godly. The students, and even some adults, were able to present lots of fruit that showed that this teacher was following Jesus whole-heartedly.
And so we have to ask ourselves–does the fruit that is evident in my life show people that I am saved? Or does it cause people to wonder if I am saved?
And, look, let’s get beyond the basics that so many of us Christians are so good at– going to church faithfully and owning a Bible or two. Let’s dig deeper.
Using Galatians 5:19-23 as our guide, here are a couple of questions to determine how much fruit is on our life’s tree–
~How often do you get angry–really angry?
~Are you completely honest on your tax return or with your boss at work?
~Do you regularly fill your mind with thoughts of fornication, adultery, violence, and bad language through the TV shows and movies you watch, the music you listen to, and the games you play, even though God expressly forbids these things and calls them sin?
~Do you relish talking about others?
~Are you depressed or sad all the time?
~Is self-control evident in how you deal with finances, eating, and how you spend your time?
~Do you enjoy a good party and see no harm in getting drunk once in awhile?
~Do you think a little witchcraft never hurt anyone and have no problem bringing something that deals with the supernatural into your home– considering it all just good fun?
~Are you faithful to your spouse, not only in the typical sense, but also in what you say about him or her to others?
~Are you so focused on your own ambitions that people know they’d better stay out of your way? Whether it’s as small as picking a restaurant or as big as choosing a career– does your family feel like you always have to win? Do you ever concede your own personal preference just for the sake of others?
~Do you worry about the future so much that it steals joy from the present moment? Do you struggle with anxiety?
These are all really difficult questions, aren’t they? And, quite naturally, our first inclination is to think about someone else who seems to have no fruit instead of taking a long, hard look at ourselves. But let’s stop looking around for just a moment and bring it back to ourselves. This post is not about judging the salvation of somebody else. We can never know that. That is for God alone to judge.
And let’s remember: We will never be perfect. So let’s just clear that up once and for all. So if any of these things are struggles in your life it doesn’t mean that you aren’t saved. We all have struggles with sin. Not one of us is exempt.
This is about looking honestly at ourselves.
Let’s think for just a moment about our own life. What is the overall pattern of our life? If we were to go on trial for Christianity, would we be convicted? Would others be able to present enough evidence to show that we are a true believer in Jesus Christ? Would our own family be willing to give testimony for this?
Remember, it’s not about perfection. It’s about direction.*
What is your direction this morning? Does anything need to change? Recognizing that you are headed the wrong direction is the first step to change. And, as my friend, Trent, testified in his testimony (read it here)–if there no fruit whatsoever, it means there is probably no salvation, either.
And, once again, we go back to the Word of God, don’t we? Studying it, knowing it, and using it as our guide for life. If we are just hearing it and not doing it, we are going to miss out on a lot of blessings (James 1:23-25). And people are going to wonder: Is that person even saved?
Let’s make sure that is never a question that people ask about us! Let’s be so loaded down with good fruit that it is clear to everyone around us that we are living our lives wholly for Jesus!
*I think this may be my all-time favorite quote by John MacArthur. I need to give credit where credit is due!
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