I was on a road trip with my family to Baltimore this past weekend and we stopped for the night in Bristol, Virginia. Being in Bristol always conjures up memories for me of the two years my family lived there and always reminds me of the good times I had in Jr. High. Bristol is kind of a symbol for me in that respect. While we were there we found this replica of the Statue of Liberty. It was adjacent to a tax preparation business and so we did what any road tripping family would do. We mugged for photographs with it.
The cool thing about the replica is that even though it was only a small representation of the splendor of the real deal it still evoked the same response in us that the original one does. Words like immigrants, Ellis Island, opportunity, and others filled my head there in the tax prep business parking lot. The other thing that came to mind is that as Christians one of our primary functions is to represent Christ to the world around us. The ideal being that the replica, us, should somehow remind those we come in contact with of the original, Jesus. I began to wonder how many people I come in contact with would ever know of my commitment to Jesus other than me telling them about it. That thought scares me a little. How will people know that I follow Christ? Two things come to mind in regards to this question.
First, Jesus says specifically in John 13:34-35, that the world will recognize His followers by the way they love one another.
Second, the Apostle Paul tells us that those who are in Christ have been given the Holy Spirit to dwell in and guide us in life (Romans 5:1-5, Act 2:33, Galatians 4:6). Additionally, Paul also tells us that this Spirit in us will produce the fruits of the Spirits which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus himself affirmed that it is the fruit of the person that identifies them (Matthew 7:15-18).
So what’s the take away? For me it is to check out how I am loving and what kind of fruit am I bearing. I really feel that in all of us who call on Jesus there is a constant battle that rages against our natural sin nature and the dwelling of the Spirit in us. I find that as seek God through His word and in prayer the Spirit is more apt to carry the day.
How about you guys? Do you think most people would know you are a Christian without you telling them, and how do you see the battle of the sinful nature versus the Spirit playing out in your walk? How’s you love and how’s your fruit? Maybe we could call churches orchards!
Peace and Grace.