Bible Reference: Matthew 12:33-37
Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Bible Text: 33 A good tree produces only good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. 34 You are a bunch of evil snakes, so how can you say anything good? Your words show what is in your hearts. 35 Good people bring good things out of their hearts, but evil people bring evil things out of their hearts. 36 I promise you that on the Day of Judgment, everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken. 37 On that day they will be told that they are either innocent or guilty because of the things they have said.
OBSERVATION: It happens all too often. Our actions, and the foolishness coming from our lips, has such an impact on those that we associate with each day, that people are confused and uncertain about where we will spend eternity. For what they are seeing is the fruit of what has been produced from ones filled with love, blessings, and a Christ-like character, or they are hearing the same from you as any other non-believer. As we meditate on this today, let’s concentrate on what the world sees in us.
APPLICATION: I am intrigued by the different ways that people act, depending on the audience, and in some cases the location. Think about the church member who acts prim and proper while on church property, yet so different in another setting that their friends hardly recognize them. Far-fetched you might say? Recently I saw an individual who was advertising their faith through the words on the tee shirt they were wearing, yet their actions were those of an unbeliever. It was embarrassing to me, so I can’t imagine what it must have been to God, for He said in His Word that He wants us to be holy, just as He is holy. In fact, He is expecting us to imitate His Son, who came to earth and lived among mankind. Friends I believe that often we must remind ourselves that at one point in our lives we may have done certain actions, or spoken in certain ways, but now that we have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, and now that we know about what God expects from us through His written Word, we just don’t live like that anymore. Jesus basically told the Pharisees that what’s inside, is bound to be exposed through the things we say and in the ways that we act. Don’t you know that people we come into contact with are bound to be confused when we proclaim our faith in Christ, yet our actions reflect anything but the love of our Savior? Friends, living life according to God’s instructions in a world led and controlled by Satan, is almost impossible for us to do on our own. We need Jesus each and every day to guide our path and protect our thoughts and words, if we are going to be like Him. At the beginning of each day, consider asking for God’s guidance, direction and power to help you be more like Him during the day, while being so exposed to the things of this world. Then at the end of each day as you reflect on your day, be sure to analyze whether friends may have witnessed enough evidence to find you guilty of being a Christ follower. No one to fool in this evaluation, because God sees and knows all things and He could help you honestly evaluate, and help you rediscover His love and His power to help you live life pleasing to Him. To the unbeliever who would like to partake in this God-directed life, please read the information in my ‘Footnote’ for help in finding Jesus. Alternately, I would be thrilled to tell you more about my Savior, so feel free to contact me.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the freedoms that You give us. These often get us in trouble, because we often do our own thing instead of begging You for power, grace and mercy to live in a ‘foreign’ land as saints of Your awesome kingdom. We can only succeed in our Christian walk by depending heavily on You to guide us, protect us, and strengthen our will to be more inclined to Your ways. We need You each and every day to help us in this daunting task oh Lord. Please touch the lives of those who may not know you, yet they may stop by to read this devotional. Please draw them unto yourself. I ask all this in the strong and holy name of Jesus, AMEN!