When I was a new Christian, I was consumed with “Jesus paraphernalia.” Not that they’re necessarily bad to own, but religious icons don’t add anything to your spirituality. One of my favorite symbols was a finger pointing up with the phrase, “One Way” below it. I had lots of “One Way” stuff: stickers on my school books, pencils, t-shirts, metal buttons, etc.
There were at least two problems with me proclaiming my faith by carrying all that stuff around: I was too immature and I was self-righteous. I hadn’t developed any real “fruits of the spirit;” no self-control, no gentleness, no goodness, etc. While I said I believed in Jesus, I hadn’t learned to follow him faithfully. Inside the walls of my church I could be “good.” But once I stepped across the threshold back into the world, I quickly digressed into a life of compromise.
One day I showed up for band practice wearing one of my favorite t-shirts with the finger on it. While we were taking a break from rehearsal, one of the other drummers said to me, “You know you’d be a really cool dude if you’d lose that front.” I didn’t know what he was talking about. He pointed to my shirt and said, “That front you’re wearing. You don’t believe it, so why do you wear it?” ……………..ouch.
That was a life-changing moment for me. After thinking about it, I realized I was a storefront façade; a pretty place to window shop with empty shelves inside. His words cut deep and made me take a hard look inside; I wanted to change.
I didn’t make a 180 degree turn overnight, but little by little I began to experience God’s grace in a new way. I realized that I could never be good enough to completely satisfy the demands of the God’s Law. But I didn’t have to; Jesus did it for me. Understanding this gave me the freedom to live for Christ because I wanted to, not because I had to.
God’s love for us is not based on our performance. However, Jesus did say that you can tell a tree by its fruit; the evidence of a saved heart is the love you exhibit towards others. We shouldn’t be a façade! There should be something of value inside, some substance to our faith.