A friend of mine shared a quote with me: “Are you a Christian by title or conscience?” I don’t remember the author, but that has been needling me for the last week. I read an article this morning by Dr. Sleeth and it included Matthew 7:16:20- What good would an apple tree be if it never produced any apples? Likewise, our lives should produce meaningful fruit. It’s easy to look like a fruit tree, but Jesus said that we’d be known by the fruit we produce.
Am I Christian by title or conscience? Am I a fruit tree with or without fruit? My first reaction, even though I asked myself these questions, is that I can see people who are Christians by title or as fruitless trees. I point to “those” people who proclaim their Christianity far and wide yet, according to my great self, there is no fruit to back up their claim. “Look,” I shout! “They’re Christians by title. That’s it. Don’t look to them to learn about Christ!.” Well, don’t I feel better! But, the questions come back to me with persistence. This time, it’s not as if I’m asking myself, it’s as if I’m being asked. “ARE YOU a Christian by title or conscience? ARE YOU a fruitless fruit tree or tree laden with fruit?” Oh God, forgive me. For as much as I want to be more than a Christian by title, I’m not sure I am sure my actions don’t always project my conscience or grow fruit or perhaps worse I’m contradictory. One thing comes out of my mouth and I do something contradictory. And this is where I can stop myself from going down a rabbit hole of dark, negative thoughts and say “Thank God for grace!” I thank God for those gentle nudgings that remind me to look at myself to see where I have fallen short, repent and think about a better reaction/ response.
Are you a Christian by title or conscience? Are you a fruit tree bearing fruit? Take some time to really mull these questions over. You may not like the answers, but getting real and knowing where you stand today can you help you take steps to become the person you long to be.