It’s easy to say that you’re a Christian. You may even be able to prove it by attending church, talking about your faith, and reciting scripture. You look good, really good. Or you may look like you’re striving, struggling, and though you’re not perfect, you’re not dead in your faith.
Attending a Christian school like mine, I encounter these kinds of people every day. Everyone is supposedly a Christian, having been raised in a Christian household, attend church meetings regularly, and go on conferences/retreats. Some exhibit a remarkable stash of verses in their memory. However, it’s much harder to find those who are truly believers; those who seek to pursue the Lord and doing His will. These believers will show some fruit, probably not too visible, but people can still recognize it.
What fruit am I talking about? Are not their church-going, spiritual-high-times, and Bible-memorizing habits enough to prove their faith in Christ? After all, they seem pretty faithful to me.
Sadly, that is not the case. Faith takes so much more than habits. Faith requires surrender, obedience, and submission. It looks up to God and follows the straight and narrow path towards Him. It takes up His yoke, His burden, His commission. The difference between the nominal Christians and the truly faithful ones is the fact that inward character is visible in the faithful Christians. Their moral standards, their convictions, and their dedication to the Lord are expressed through humble service, their refusal to use profanity, their grace-filled conversations, and their efforts to read the Bible so that they may know God more and more are evident. You may not notice them going about these activities, but when you talk to them, you can see that they’re different. They refuse to give in, because they already gave themselves up. They refuse to speak a certain way because they’re too busy proclaiming Christ in their everyday language.
Such fruit does not come without toil and effort. It requires prayer, perseverance, regular Bible study, and the strength and conviction to say “no”. I have no doubt that these few faithful Christians spend time regularly with God. They commune with Him, discussing issues in their lives and assessing their progress. They reflect on what they’re doing for God, and as a result, their lives exhibit far more character and faith than the nominal Christians.
It convicts me and encourages me at times whenever I talk with a faithful Christian. Through the smallest conversation I can identify areas where I’ve been slipping in my convictions. What I once regarded as wrong I’m doing almost regularly. Therefore, it’s good to have these Christians around impersonally holding you accountable. Because without their fruit, how would you realize you’re not living up to God’s standard like you should?
Producing outward fruit is so crucial to the daily Christian life. It not only develops your relationship with God, it encourages everyone around you. Sure, you may be a faithful Christ-follower inside, in your personal life, but if you act differently in public than you do in private, what’s the use? It only serves to stain your message if you ever decide to let out what faith you have inside. Fruit is made to be enjoyed, and if people can enjoy your fruit — your love, kindness, purity, etc. — then that’s all the more reason to keep producing. God is more than happy to see His little trees blossom because they submit to His care 🙂