....every good tree bringeth forth good fruit;
but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18-A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
These words are a call to uncompromising self-evaluation. Fortunately, Christ provided us with a living demonstration of how a good tree thinks & comports. Granted, it’s not a standard that is achieved without a great deal of effort & years of incremental changes in the potter’s hands. Moreover, we freely acknowledge that man is unrelentingly fallible & can never aspire to the condition of sinlessness that Christ exemplified.
However, the pure in heart can make great behavioral strides with God’s help in the course of a Christian lifetime. I don’t believe God is looking for perfection in us as much as He is seeking a continual improvement pattern. What I’m going to do here is provide you with a simple checklist of the areas we can evaluate in ourselves that are clear indicators of whether we are seriously on the road to becoming more Christ-like or if at some point we just abandoned the hope.
Level of Faith
Willingness to be obedient
Do you tend to focus on thoughts of anger, fear, resentment,
un-forgiveness, carnality, covetousness, judgment, sarcasm, etc. or have you managed to quiet your mind away from these things? Are your days filled nurturing addictive, self-sabotaging habits or are you wholly focused on representing God’s love as a courageous ambassador? The following scriptures were designed to nudge us back into right perspective when we tend to fall short. You may want to memorize the ones that are most relevant to you:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 2:12
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2Timothy 1:7
Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Matthew 15:11
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: Colossians 3:2-5
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. James 1:26
….faith, if it hath not works, is dead….James 2:17