Monthly Archives: February 2014

HOW TO KNOW A CHRISTIAN WHEN YOU SEE ONE

“The fruit of the Spirit is . . .” (Galatians 5:22).

“How can you tell when someone’s a real Christian?” the young boy asked his mother. “Well Son, we can’t go around judging people,” she said, “but we can be fruit inspectors.” She went on to explain how different trees bear different fruit—peach trees produce peaches, apple trees produce applies, and lemon trees produce lemons. If we want to know what kind of tree a tree is, we can find out by looking at the fruit it bears.

The Bible tells us that the same thing is true of people. People who are Christians bear Christian fruit. The fruits are listed in the book of Galatians. Not surprisingly, the first fruit mentioned is love, and it is no accident that it is first. Love is what it is all about. God set the example for us. He loved the world (all of us) so much that he gave his son for us. Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life for us. We are taught that the greatest of all commandments are these two: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” (Matthew 22:37, 39) and “Love your neighbor (anyone and everyone) as yourself.” If we do those two things, everything else will take care of itself.

Real love shows. If we are wondering if someone is a Christian, we need to look at his or her love fruit. While we are at it, let’s take a good look at our own. How are we showing God’s love?

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com

ON DEFEATING DISCOURAGEMENT

Psalms 23:1-3

Do you ever feel discouraged? Welcome to the human race. All of us feel discouraged at one time or another. It doesn’t matter what type person we are, weak or strong, poor or rich, educated or uneducated, non-religious or religious. We all get discouraged.

Some are discouraged because they wandered away from God. Like Ruth, they can say, “I wandered away full, but he has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21). Some are discouraged because they are tired, some because of criticism, some because they feel unappreciated, some because they feel all alone, and some because they have lost loved ones. To feel discouragement occasionally with reason is normal. To live in discouragement is sick and not pleasing God.

Those of us who are Christians have invisible means of support and encouragement. We can read God’s word, believe what it says, and act upon it. Psalms 23:1-3 tells us “The Lord is my shepherd,” which means he watches over us. We are like fearful babies tossing and turning in our cribs all the while our loving parents are only a few feet away. He loves us, protects us, and even lays down his life for us. He will lead us to better places.

“I shall not want” simply means that he will provide for all our needs. Not all our whims, wants, or desires, but all that we truly need.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures near still waters.” These are places of plenty and free from danger where we can rest. Jesus often took his disciples apart for rest and renewal.

“He restores my soul” means he will lift me up, strengthen me, and put me back where I was. He alone can, and will do this.

Remember, “. . . weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com

 

My Friend Jesus—Part III

 

“You are my friend if you do what I command” (John 15:16).

Not long ago, I ran into a Christian friend I hadn’t seen in six months. I knew he had been off work for several weeks. When I asked him how he had been doing, there was a great out-pouring of information and pain that lasted over an hour. He had several physical disorders, back trouble, and ulcers among them. However, the thing that hurt him the most was his family’s condition. His children had strayed far from God and their sinful lifestyles were bothering him terribly, and tearing his home apart. He explained how they had gone to church and Sunday School since they were small, and he couldn’t understand where he and his wife had gone wrong in raising them.

I listened and tried to reassure him as best I could, though the best thing I assured him of was that I would pray for him. Someone has said, “God had one son who was without sin, but he has never had any without trouble.” Trouble comes to us all. It is no respecter of persons. However, the old hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” tells us how best to deal with it. It tells us never let our troubles discourage us, but take them to the Lord in prayer. If we want to avoid despair and discouragement, we must take our troubles to God.

We must learn to lean on Jesus. God’s word tells us “Cast all your cares upon the Lord because He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7).

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com