My friend Elizabeth was cooking and pulled a can of green beans out of her cupboard. When she opened it she found a surprise. The outside didn’t match the inside.
Matthew 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
When I saw the picture I had two instant thoughts. “Man! I hope she had another can or she’s going to have to figure out what to do last minute to make the meal all come together.” The second thought was, “This is why people are so freaked out by us who follow Christ. We put on this label but when they get close to us they realize who we say we are isn’t always the case.”
The Lord quickly showed me the thoughts were along the same vein. Just as Elizabeth had opened the can to find a surprise, she also had to figure out what she was going to do with the contents and how she would improvise with what she had on hand. She also will never again assume that just because a can is labeled a certain way that the contents will necessarily match up. Everyone who sees this picture also experiences to an extent what Elizabeth experienced. It sounds dramatic but it really isn’t. Think about it.
How many people have you met who have a negative story about their encounter with a follower of Christ? How many have met a green bean label only to find the contents to be a little fruity? If those of us who follow Christ have too many stories to count then so does the world. And we wonder why they are put off?
At this point in the story, many will say, yes but we are only human. They are right to an extent. We are only human but are we human living to the best of our ability or are we human living below the standard Jesus laid before us all while making excuses?
Romans 2:17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth– 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
I heard a woman on Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s show call in about an affair she had been having. Dr. Laura asked her why she didn’t leave her husband and the woman said that it was because her lover could not care for her financially as well as her husband could and because she was a Christian. Dr. Laura went nuts! She told her not to bring Jesus into this. The woman clearly was Mislabeled Christianity.
Acts3:6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.
What are we giving the world? When they get close enough to look inside of our lives do they see the rotting stench of a pretend life or do they see authentic Christianity? Do we bible thumpers who say we want everyone to get their hearts right before the Lord and have everlasting life set the example by excusing why we sleep around, lie, cheat, steal, connive just as the world does?
Let’s make sure we are who our label shows us to be!