There are people who claim to be good Christians who Jesus would not recognize at all. Sometimes it’s a case of mistaken identity. Sometimes it’s a change of heart.
I recently read a joke on the internet that goes something like this:
“A policeman was behind another car in stopped traffic. The driver in the vehicle ahead of him was observed honking the horn, shouting profanities, making obscene gestures, and threatening others aggressively. The policeman arrested the driver and took him to jail for vehicle theft. After confirming that the vehicle actually belonged to the angry man he had arrested, the policeman released him with this apology: “I’m sorry, Sir, but on your vehicle were two bumper stickers: ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ and ‘I Walk with Christ.’ After witnessing your behavior, I assumed your vehicle had been stolen.”
Sadly, there are times when my words and behavior might lead people to believe I have been mistakenly identified as a Christian. More often than not, it’s what I fail to do that sometimes makes me unrecognizable as a child of God. Unrecognizable, that is, to all except God and Jesus — who never give up on me.
Inaction is my enemy. Inaction is born of God’s enemy. When I don’t act to give of myself to my potential, I’m not the version of myself that God intends me to be. Nor am I a version of myself that I like. I’m like a fruit tree that doesn’t bear fruit when people are starving: I may be pretty to look at and provide shade from the sun, but I’m lacking in the one thing that would truly make a difference to their salvation — nourishment.
One morning God’s only Son, Jesus, was leaving Bethany with His twelve disciples. Jesus was very hungry and needed nourishment:
“A little way off he noticed a fig tree in full leaf, so he went over to see if he could find any figs on it. But no, there were only leaves, for it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, ‘You shall never bear fruit again!’ and the disciples heard him say it.” (Mark 11:12-14) “Next morning, as the disciples passed the fig tree he had cursed, they saw that it was withered from the roots! Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, ‘Look, Teacher! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” (Mark 11:20-21)
It’s not enough to say we are Christian. Anyone can do that. For Jesus to recognize us as His followers, I believe we must act on it. It is easy to hear His words and do nothing if we don’t engage Him. It is impossible to understand them without change. If we desire to follow Jesus, we should act to serve God; we should embrace the love He has for us — and the love we should have for each other. We should give of ourselves to the best of our physical and spiritual capabilities. For a Christian who doesn’t act on the Word of God when He understands it does not serve Him. And a Christian who does not serve God is not really a Christian at all.