Most people will say they love God, but their actions tell a different story.
In one of his lessons, Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:16-20). Those who only occasionally assemble to worship God have a hard time impressing upon their neighbors that God is important to them. Their fruits say something else.
Those who profess to be Christians but use vulgar language, lie, cheat and steal may deceive themselves, but God and anyone who is around them knows they are not really followers of Christ.
If a person truly loves God, then he or she should want to stay as close to him as possible. This can be done by spending time in God’s word. Many fail to study for themselves, choosing to listen occasionally to a few sermons. This is dangerous; each person needs to study the Bible to know what God wants them to do for their salvation. They need to know that they are doing spiritual things according to God’s way and not man’s way (Isaiah 55:8-9).
It is easy to listen to someone teaching or preaching and be lulled into thinking that what they are saying is true. What is needed is for all listeners to be like the Bereans and “search the Scriptures daily” to make sure the truth is being taught (Acts 17:11) and to follow the admonition that Paul gave Timothy to “study to show thyself approved unto God…”
Bible study should be a personal thing for all who seek to follow Christ. Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). A person must be aware of what the Bible teaches. Eternal destiny will not depend on how much one’s ancestors knew about the Bible or how much one’s spouse or preacher knows. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). How can a person think they are staying close to God if all their knowledge of him comes from hearsay and not facts? They will sing the song “Jesus Loves Me” with vigor, yet the song itself tells the person where to go to find out that Jesus loves them “for the Bible tells me so.”
God wants man to love and obey him, and each person should want to do just that. But it takes more than just wanting it — it takes action. We will continue these thoughts next week.