Lady Liberty

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.

Tony

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3 thoughts on “Lady Liberty

  1. Great Blog Bro!

    I think most Christians are able to recognize other believers, maybe not right away but I am sure if they talk to one for a couple of minutes or observe them they should be able to know if they are in the presence of a Child of Christ. As far as our battle with our sinful nature goes, it’s a tough walk, especially since we were born with a nature for sinning. For most of us our sinful nature or the “Flesh” has been controlling us all of our lives. The “flesh” along with “The World” are obstacles we face in our daily walk. It’s only by Gods grace; mercy and the Holy Spirit that we are able pick ourselves up after we stumble and keep going. I feel the more we grow in Christ the better prepared we are to fight the battle with what could be called the axis of Sin (The Flesh, The World and the Enemy). Being a Soldier one of my favorite scriptures on the battles we face is Ephesians 6:13-17
    “13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
    Doing this along with getting in the Word and Prayer will help us overcome any situation. I love the orchard analogy , I see the fruits of the spirit all the time in my Brothers and Sisters. It’s very inspiring. Love ya my Brother

  2. Nice analogy. I think the process of bearing fruit often occurs at a rate which is too slow for our impatient human nature to even notice and it is only in retrospective that we get a glimpse. This may be by design for if we were to bear fruit and have immediate knowledge of it we would be tempted with pride. Also, as we grow our measurement criteria moves with us, in other words, if somebody I’m helping to grow is growing at the same rate that I am growing I will be blind to their progress as I’m always the same measure ahead of them in my own growth (just as my teacher is always ahead of me by the same amount). We tend to cut our ties to those who refuse to grow because they appear to be going backwards because we are becoming more sensitive to sin. Meanwhile, the absolute standard we have in Jesus is always so far away that we don’t feel we are getting any closer. It’s like driving toward a large mountain on the plains of the western US, even though you’ve gone hundreds of miles it still looks like it’s the same distance.

    I heard a pastor comment last night on how most Bible commentaries don’t go very deep and when he reads them he feels like he could have written them. Earlier in his walk he probably felt differently about the same commentaries but now his growth has brought him to the same plane as the commentary and it’s time for him to think and pray about writing his own commentary.

    One thing I do know is that people take notice when you consistently do what is right even if they don’t understand the reason you do it.

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