When was the last time you had any business dealings with someone who you knew went to church on Sunday, yet dealt with you in a shady manner? These are the kind of people who have two sets of standards, one for themselves and another for anyone else. They judge people way more harshly than they judge themselves. In fact, they think they’re perfectly alright and see no reason not to separate their business life from their church life.
It doesn’t matter what comes out of a person’s mouth, his actions will display his true character. There are so many people who tell you what they think you want to hear but then act in a way that totally contradicts the words they say. Have you met someone like that? When we minister in the biking community, or in any other setting where non-believers congregate, our words better match our walk, or our actions. If they don’t, the term hypocrite will fill the air around us.
Jesus warns us again that judgment needs to be based on fruit. In Matthew 7 verses 15-20, He says, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”
The fruit, or actions, that a person displays will show clearly what is in their heart. If nothing that honors Christ comes from that person, then you know that Christ is not their number one priority. A man, who swindles another in a business transaction, has not taken Christ into his consideration at all. His belief system is self-serving, not Christ serving. Jesus says that this person, this tree, needs to be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
The actions of a person who has Christ sitting at the center of his life, will point others toward Christ. They will treat people as Christ wanted them to be treated while the actions of one who is self-serving will draw people away from Jesus. Out of a grateful hear, we are to be fruitful, magnifying the love that Jesus had for all, loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Do you know someone whose walk does not match his talk? He spouts and guffaws and carry’s on but then helps himself to a candy bar as he walks past the checkout counter of the local convenience store. He says he loves the Lord but as soon as he becomes passionate about an issue, his language reflects the gutter instead of the Christ he says he serves. Take heed that no one has cause to question your talk because your actions don’t bear witness favorably.
For further study: Matt 25:24-30; Luke 6:43-45; Col. 1:9-11; John 15:5; Rev 14:13