“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:8-11
The further I’ve gotten into seminary, the more that I’ve read, the more that I’ve just sat and critically thought, the more I realize that if I were measured against Jesus’ example and teachings, it would be awfully difficult to discern that I was a Christian.
Think about it. To borrow Millard Erickson’s example, “to be a worthy member of a group named after a particular leader one must adhere to the teachings of that leader.” If someone is a Marxist, they accept the teachings of Karl Marx, if someone is a Platonist, they accept Plato’s teaching.
Obviously it’s folly to compare Christ to Karl Marx or Plato; they may have created a set of beliefs that people ascribe to, sure, but their beliefs exist on a much lower plane than Christ’s. Marx and Plato made the forming of minds their endeavor, with the ultimate goal being that those reformed minds changing society. The absolute goal was contained to earth. Christ reforms minds not simply in the hope that they reform society but that they simply KNOW. They know Him. They know God, their creator. Christ’s message is not meant to be contained on earth, it’s meant to be felt reverberating throughout both heaven and hell.
Why is it so easy to click “Christian” on our facebooks, and wear a shirt with a verse on it, or have a cross necklace or tattoo, yet so difficult to actually make it our number one priority to live according to the Word? Why is it so easy to read the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and then go see “The Hangover II”?
Many of us would claim to have hearts and minds reformed by Christ, but if they’ve been reformed, we must then ask ourselves honestly…where is our fruit? If we abide by Christ’s commandments, we abide in His love. Do we have joy? Do we have fruit?
It’s important to ask ourselves these questions, not to discourage us, but to spur us on to be faithful, because God has been SO faithful, so patient, so gracious with us.