A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit?.
Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:18, 20
I know I’ve mentioned this saying before, but I was thinking of it this morning and decided it bears repeating. It is actually a question, and it goes something like this: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
In some places in the world, Christians face this challenge on a very real basis, sometimes every day; to date, we in America don’t, but that could change, my friends. And if it did, how would we fare? Would we proudly and courageously hold up our Christian books and awards and musical recordings to prove we are successful believers, or would we hide them under the proverbial bushel in an effort to save our cowardly but temporal lives? More importantly, if those books and awards and recordings were burned in a bonfire, what would we then show as proof that we are indeed Christians?
The scripture tells us that our “fruit” will affirm or deny our true standing with God. Though our books and awards and recordings may reflect the faith out of which they were produced, the lasting fruit of our relationship with Jesus is proved in the fire?when our human frailties are put to the test and we choose to cling to God?or not. None of us has the strength or power to come through the fire unscathed, anymore than Meshach, Shadrach, or Abed-Nego could have made it through the king’s fire without even the smell of fire clinging to them (see Daniel 3:1-30). It was the Fourth Man, the One “like the Son of God,” whose presence in that fire enabled them to make it through. No one, not even the king, questioned their faith after that.
That’s where lasting fruit is produced, dear ones, not in the easy or comfortable places, but in the fires of life, where we learn to walk in complete dependence on the Fourth Man, the One who is truly the Son of God, who walks through the fire with us and even carries when necessary. But the decision to walk with Him in the fire is often made in the easy and comfortable places of life. If we are blessed to be in one of those places today, may we make that decision to walk with Him this year? whether in the easy place or in the fires — and to know that He alone will bring us through with lasting fruit that will prove us to be Christians.