You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16 NLT
I remember the day she accepted Christ as her Savior, but now she was gone.
Mary* was a teenager who came from a shallow religious family. Her mother was the only spiritual light in her life. Mary followed in her mother’s footsteps for a number of years. She married a wonderful Christian man, and they had two children together. Yet for some unknown reason, Mary decided to walk away from them all—God included. Twelve years have passed, and she still hasn’t returned. Oh she might take her grandchildren to church, but she continues to live a lifestyle that’s radically different from a dedicated believer.
Mary’s not the only person I’ve known who demonstrated no visible signs of their declared identity with Christ. I have family members who’ve done the same. When warning his followers about false teachers, Jesus said they could be identified by their fruits. Believers can as well.
Persistent sin prevents others from perceiving my true identity, keeping me far away from the one I claim to love. Sin creates static between me and God—not the unintentional sins I quickly confess but rather those I repeatedly revel in. Unbelievers won’t see any difference between themselves and me, and Satan will use my persistent sin to make me question my salvation as well.
Deep hurts can also keep me away from God’s desired lifestyle for me. I’ve known many professing believers who haven’t darkened church doors for decades because a church member said or did something unsavory to them. Satan can easily convince me the church is hypocritical.
Others choose to walk away—and stay away, because Satan convinces them that the church is full of hypocrites and religion was something they choose when they were an innocent, naïve child. Now that they’ve matured, they know better.
If you’re one of those who have walked away, it’s never too late to return.
Prayer: God of love and mercy, draw unto Yourself those who have strayed from Your fold.
*Name changed to protect individual’s privacy.
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