– George Macdonald
We Reap What We Sow
I can say one thing and do another, but the fact is, God cannot be mocked. Whatever I sow, that’s what I’m going to reap (Gal. 6:7). If I am sowing only to the flesh, that’s what I’ll reap. What Job said about “those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it” (Job 4:8) applies to me, too. I might say I believe one thing, but what I do is really the way in which I believe. I am no different than you in that you probably battle with self-desires, self-wills, and self-consuming passions every day. This is why Paul said, “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:28). Job’s question makes us all think: “Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man” (Job 13:9)?
Our Words Reveal Our Heart
Jesus said, “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (Matt. 15:18). Paul wrote Ephesians 4:29 for a very good reason: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” In addressing the religious leaders’ rules about what defiles a person, Jesus said, “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them” (Matt. 15:11). You can say you’re a believer, just as I can, but our words can betray us and show that our hearts are not right with God.
The Children of God Don’t Hate
The Apostle John wrote that “if anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). It is by our love for one another that Jesus said “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Talk is cheap; loving those who hate us is not. But we are commanded to pray for our enemies and love those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). If we hate others, if we don’t love one another, and if we don’t pray for and love our enemies, we are living differently from what we publically proclaim we believe. The only thing we should hate is our sin.
We cannot see what’s in a person’s heart, but if someone claims to be a believer and there is no fruit, then their might not be any root. If we produce only fruits of the flesh, “works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Gal. 5:19-21), then we need a fruit inspector because we should be bearing fruit such as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23a).
I hope this helped you to see that a person’s real belief is that which they live by. As for me, it was very convicting, and I know I fall so far short (Rom. 3:23), but there is always hope for the child of God, for we cannot ever out-sin the Savior’s forgiveness.