A few weeks ago I cleared off my treadmill that I keep in our basement storage room. I took off the boxes of Easter eggs, the camping gear and the gigantic stuffed rabbit (a story for another day). I blew off the dust as best I could and started it up to make sure it still worked. Yep, it was ready for action! I would be fit and trim in no time, I was sure of it.
So, have I lost weight? Taken inches off my waist? Am I down a couple jean sizes? Well, um, let me see, ah… no, no and no. Hard to believe yes, the simple act of preparing my treadmill was not enough to scare the fat cells right off of me (even when I ran it really fast to blow the dust away). What gives?
Can’t I just have the appearance of fitness? Can’t I just make my treadmill look well used and walk around in sporty clothes? I could add some free weights and resistance bands to the scene. I could talk as if I actually exercise.
Oh the lengths we will go to attempt to keep up appearances. Yet the evidence of how we truly live is as plain as day. I could do any or all of the above, but if I never put the effort into getting fit or make regular use of that treadmill I will remain the same. No true change can be faked. If I am out of shape now, I will remain out of shape until I do something about it. Ouch, man the truth hurts sometimes!
Just as I won’t be mistaken for a fitness buff, someone faking the Christian walk will not be mistaken for a true follower of Christ. You can call yourself a Christian, carry a Bible, attend services, celebrate holidays, and decorate yourself with religious knickknacks but you are fooling no one. If your daily actions and what comes out of your mouth does not line up with the Word of God you are an obvious imposter.
The Bible tells us that a tree is recognized by its fruit. “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit.” – Luke 6:43-44. You know what type of tree it is by what it produces. A peach tree does not produce coconuts.
What fruit does a Christian tree produce? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23. Good works are also produced, springing forth from the faith in Christ that resides in us (see James 2:14-26).
Jesus goes on to say in Luke 6:45, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Whatever is inside is destined to come out and it is evidence of what your heart is full of.
Remember this works from the inside out; you do not work to be joyful in order to change your heart. True joy can only flow out of a changed heart.
What do you hear and see coming out of the hearts of those around you? Is it proper for us to evaluate others like this? If we love them it is (2 Timothy 3:16). If I see one of my children producing thorns in their life or hear evil coming out of their mouth, I need to correct them and deal with this heart issue. If I see a friend who says she is a Christian but acts in a way completely opposite of the Word of God; I need to confront her with grace because I care about her.
What is coming out of your own heart? Does it show that you have been filling up on God or the trash of the World? It is very easy to get filled up with garbage; it is what most people do all day long.
A heart full of godliness does not happen by osmosis. You have to intentionally consume and study God’s Word. Do the hard work it takes, Ladies! Don’t just blow the dust off your Bibles like I did my treadmill. Make use of it to change your heart and your eternal physical condition.
I enCOURAGE you to check what fruit you are producing today and remember to continually fill up on the only true source of good for your heart, the Word of God.