In Matthew 13:23 Jesus says, “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” In John 15:8 he says, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so will you be my disciples.”
As I was listening to Carlos and Sandy Rios last Sunday night I was reminded of these passages. Carolos told how he came to Christ and told how the Lord began to work in his life. As I was listening to their testimonies I began to think that what they are describing is really, from the biblical point of view, the normal Christian life.
I was particularly reminded of the impact the Lord wants us to make in the lives of other people. When Carols and Sandy began to show the pictures of all the people they have led to Christ and brought into the body of Christ, that thought was only strengthened.
The normal Christian life is about the influence of Christ on two levels. These can be distilled into two chapters of every Christian’s life. The first chapter of a Christian’s life begins when one meets Jesus and is saved.
When a person is saved, there is a period of time when that person has to get to know Jesus. They begin to understand who He is through Bible study, prayer, worship and fellowship. For each person this chapter will last different amounts of time. But for a truly saved person, this chapter bears some very specific fruit.
The fruit that a person bears in this period of their walk with God will, at its most basic level, involve at least three things. First, there is the fruit of righteousness. As person gets to know Jesus, they want to leave their sin behind. As a person grows spiritually, they begin to have a hunger for righteousness. Second, there is the fruit of praise. As a person grows in Christ, they have a desire to want to praise and worship their Savior. Third, there is the fruit of love. As they learn to walk with God in Christ, a person begins to love God and love people more and more.
The second chapter of the Christians life begins at the moment they realize that they are satisfied in Christ and madly in love with God. It is at this point when two things happen. First, that person can say with complete conviction and joy, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel,” and as a result, that person will make the decision to follow Christ anywhere He leads.
When that happens, a person’s life necessarily changes. That person is now seeking to do the will of God wherever he/she is. The result is that he/she is no longer living for themselves, but for Christ who died and rose for them.
It is in that chapter of a Christian’s life when a different kind of fruit is born. While still producing the fruit of the first chapter of their life, that person is now seeing fruit begin to develop in the lives of the people he/she is influencing for Christ.
When Sandy and Carols where sharing the pictures of all people they have and are influencing for Christ, I was reminded that in the end, the only thing that really matters are people. Christ died for people; and in heaven we will be with people made perfect through the blood Christ.
The normal Christian life is ultimately about bearing fruit; fruit that is seen in our personal life as we walk with Christ and fruit that is seen in the lives of others as we influence them for Christ.
Are you living the normal Christian life?