How do you know there’s been an elephant in your fridge? Remember that one? The answer is: “There are footprints in the butter.” All they’re really saying is, “There is evidence.” How do police solve crimes? Evidence. How do I know if someone is a South African citizen? He has his SA ID document as evidence. How do I know if someone is a Christian? He says so? That seems to be the common consensus. If I say anything about someone not acting like he’s a Christian I hear, “but you can’t say he’s not a Christian. He says he is so he must be.” It seems like evidence is need for just about anything except for your faith. I just don’t understand how there is apparently no criteria to measure whether someone is a follower of Jesus or not. Or is there?
Matthew 7:15-20, “Constantly be on your guard against phony prophets. They come disguised as lambs, appearing to be genuine, but on the inside they are like wild, ravenous wolves! You can spot them by their actions, for the fruits of their character will be obvious. You won’t find sweet grapes hanging on a thorn bush, and you’ll never pick good fruit from a tumbleweed. So if the tree is good, it will produce good fruit; but if the tree is bad, it will bear only rotten fruit and it deserves to be cut down and burned. Look at the obvious fruit of their lives and ministries, and then you’ll know whether they are true or false.”
This is quite clear. Look for the fruit. It speaks here of false prophets, but I don’t think it just applies to prophets or the five-fold ministry for that matter. It certainly applies to each and every person who calls himself a Christian. What are the fruit?
Galatians 5:19-23, The cravings of the self-life are obvious: Sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior.
Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their “freedom” for these things will not inherit the kingdom realm of God!
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:
joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.
Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.
That is the fruit. If you look at my life and there is no love, joy or peace can I call myself a Christian? Will I have any credibility? What about patience and self-control, or gentleness? As far as I’m concerned gentleness is a fruit that is overlooked most of the time. It is also often mistaken for weakness. What is more heart-warming than being with a person who is gentle of spirit? It makes you feel safe and accepted.
Matthew 11:29, Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.
Jesus is gentle and humble. But people in today’s society think that the way to get ahead in life is by being controlling and harsh. By looking out for their own interests above all else. Being gentle does not mean you have to let people walk all over you and it definitely doesn’t mean you are weak. Gentleness is like dew on dry grass, like a butterfly touching down on a flower, like a bird slowly gliding on an air current. Gentle has power.
We don’t need to judge others, but we do need to ask ourselves daily whether we live up to these criteria. Does the Spirit of God dwell inside of us and are we bearing appropriate fruit? If we are doubtful of the answer we need to ask ourselves some very serious questions and decide what to do about it. Remember, God is waiting for us to start speaking to Him. It’s easy and He is gentle and He loves us.