It’s what’s on the inside that counts. That’s what we’ve always heard. But what happens when the inside doesn’t produce anything on the outside?
I read an article last night that really put an imprint on my brain. It talked about complacency and how easy it is to be in that spot. The example he gave was of a cars salesman. This car salesman was from a long line of car salesman. His dad was one, as well as his grandfather. He found it easy to talk the talk. It was easy to spout off numbers and to wheel and deal. But in the end, he couldn’t sell a car. His talk was good, but his walk was not.
The author proceeded to liken that to our Christian walk. What he said really hit home. His ending statement was “You can be a car salesman all your life, but if you don’t sell any cars, you are not REALLY a car SALESMAN.”
I started thinking about all the things we can be complacent in. Church in general can be a place of complacency. Some people stay at a church because it’s their family church, not because they are being fed. Others may stay at a church because they like that they don’t HAVE to do anything. Some stay because it’s all they’ve ever known even though they leave feeling unfulfilled, unhappy, the same as when they got there, or even worse – depressed. The truth is, we should be at a church that meets our needs. One that pushes us, protects us, leads us, and uses us. Jesus did that to his disciples everyday. His disciples were being trained to go out into the world! Jesus wasn’t going to be there forever, he knew it, they knew it, and he wanted them to be prepared.
He spoke of trees and vines and of their fruits. He spoke of how a tree is judged by it’s fruit. A maple tree can be called an apple tree, until it is seen to not produce apples. The same way you can mistake an orange tree for an apple tree until the blossoms turn into actual fruit. Just because you can spout our Bible verses, doesn’t make you a preacher. Just because you sing, doesn’t make you a worshiper.Just because you have a lot of book knowledge, doesn’t make you a teacher. It is the fruits of your labor that prove what you are.
This applies to everyday life as well. In your job, in your home life, in your family. What are your fruits in these aspects? Are you progressing in your job? Is your marriage joyful and loving? Do others see God in it? Are your kids growing and flourishing? When people see you they may see someone put together – good job, beautiful/handsome spouse, well behaved children . . . But, when they get to REALLY know you, what do they see? Do they see a hard worker who seeks to know more about their company? Do they see a spouse who steps in when it’s messy, or who gives something up for the other, or who finds simple ways to say and show their love? Do they see children who are grounded in the word, who KNOW who God is and who exude that?
Not everyone is perfect, I know. I am the furtherest from perfect as anyone I know. I slip up. I have days that I just want to stay in bed. I have days when I don’t feel like praying. I struggle with my own personal issues. BUT, I do not stay there. I have to move on. Covering it up and pretending it’s not there or that it will just go away will not work.
We did a skit one year about being a car. The ending statement was “just because you’re in a garage, doesn’t mean you are a car.” How true is that? We can walk around and tell ourselves we are one thing, yet we act like another. This just enables our complacency! Why change? Why say you’re wrong? Why cause a “stir”? Instead we sit and keep pretending and living a lie.
My challenge to you is to examine your life. Every aspect. Examine your church life, your family life, your spiritual life. Ask God if you are complacent. Ask him to reveal to you any complacency and be WILLING to change. He will rock your world!
Matthew 7:16(NIV) By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Matthew 7:15 (The Message) Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
Matt 12:33(NIV) “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matt. 12:33(The Message)“If you grow a healthy tree, you’ll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you’ll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree.34-37“You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”