Scripture Reading — Matthew 7:15-23
"A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." Matthew 7:18 —
How can you know you are a Christian, a citizen of God's kingdom? Well, says Jesus, just as trees are recognized by the fruit they bear, so the people of God are recognized by their living for God.
There's a moving story in Isaiah in which God speaks of himself as the owner of a vineyard. God had done everything possible to make sure his vineyard bore good fruit. And yet, says God, "When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?" (Isaiah 5:4).
This is a serious question. Being a Christian involves more than saying you are a Christian.
"Not everyone who says to me, ?Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." To be sure, on this side of heaven we will never be perfect, but there needs to be evidence of maturing and growing in the likeness of Christ. There should not only be talk about God but also a walk with God. As an old hymn says, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey." Through the power of God's Holy Spirit we can begin to obey and live for God each day.
Are you bearing fruit that shows you are a citizen of God's kingdom? "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
Lord, by the power of your Spirit in us, guide us to live for you, showing that we are followers of Jesus Christ. May we bear good fruit that points others to you. Amen.