Christian. The word literally means, “little Christ.” How do you know if someone is a Christian? How do you know if YOU are a Christian? This can be a touchy issue and I’ve been pondering it a lot recently. So, I decided to dig into Scripture.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:17, 20, “So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” And in John 13:34-35 Jesus says, “You also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” James, the half brother of Jesus writes in James 2:14, 17, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James continues on and touches on that works do not earn your faith, they merely display that your faith exists. In verses 18-20, James writes, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!”
WHEW!!!!! Overwhelmed yet? I apologize. The Bible just always says it better than I can! So to summarize….
Fruit. You can know that you or someone else is a Christian by fruit produced. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Those are good fruits- evidence that yes, that person has Christ in their life!
Love. By loving others, we will show our faith in the Lord. You may be thinking, huh? Well, God has loved us so much, forgiven us, and showered us in His grace…. We are called to pour that out onto others. Hence, we’ll be recognized by our love for one another.
Faith and works. This is always a messy topic of discussion I feel like. But the point of “faith without works is dead” is well made by James. If a person’s faith in the Lord is active and true, it will be seen in their works. The phrase “actions speak louder than words” rings true here. Jesus wants us to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. And James goes on to explain that believing in God is not enough, because even the demons believe in Him… they just choose not to obey and follow Him.
Will you choose to produce good fruit? Will your love display that you have a relationship with God? Will your faith produce works? Will you choose to take a step beyond simply believing and choose to follow and obey the Lord? It's not too late to choose.