In the first century, when a Christian met someone they thought might also be a believer, they would draw half of a fish symbol in the sand. If the other person completed the symbol that was an affirmation, but if they stared with a puzzled look on their face they were not. When someone claims to be a Christian in this day, it’s not symbols we should look for, but fruit – the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Fruit of love, Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control are evidence of Christ’s presence in us. We should look for compassion and holiness and devotion to the Lord.
And if I claim to be a Christian, I should look at myself and see if this is true of me. Not just outwardly, but inwardly. Because I can put on a good face, behave well, and be at church every Sunday –and be far from God. Billy Graham said, “ A Christian is more than a person who is living a system of ethics. A Christian is more than a person living a good moral life. A Christian is a person in whom Christ dwells.”
My granddaughter Joy (and her parents) live with us and it shows. Her scissors, books, and papers from “Honey School” are here on my desk. There are scraps on the floor where she was cutting paper last night. Two of her dresses are hanging up in here and a pair of her socks sits next to her backpack. There’s a basket filled with her books and art supplies behind me. Her cups and snacks fill two cabinets in the kitchen. Her blanket awaits naptime on my bed. The bathroom houses her bath toys and dirty clothes basket. She has a pair of her shoes in the cubby of my shoe rack. Her swingset sits in the backyard. The patio is covered with chalk art. Both of our vehicles have car seats and blankets. I won’t describe the chaos in the living room where she plays. Her pictures are on my phone, my laptop, my refrigerator, and my walls. She dwells in this house and the proof is everywhere. There’s not a single space where her presence is not felt. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Being a Christian is a total take-over. There should not be any part of our lives where Christ’s presence is not felt. He should be heard when we speak. He should be seen when we enter a room. His love should spill out of us. His grace should be our perfume. He should rule our minds and hearts. As Paul said, “Christ . . . is your life” (Col 3:4). Beloved, does He dwell in you?