Psalm of the Day: Psalm 78:1-14
Wisdom of the Day: Job 3:1-26
Scripture Reading: Luke 6:39-45
We learn from these verses that there is only one satisfactory test of a man's religious character. That test is his conduct and conversation.
The words of our Lord on this subject, are clear and unmistakable. He draws an illustration from a tree, and lays down the broad principle, "Every tree is known by its fruit." But our Lord does not stop here. He proceeds further to show that a man's conversation is one indication of his state of heart. "Of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks." Both of these sayings are deeply important. Both should be stored up among the leading maxims of our practical Christianity.
Let it be a settled principle in our religion, that when a man brings forth no fruits of the Spirit he does not have the Holy Spirit within him. Let us resist as a deadly error the common idea, that all baptized people are born again, and that all members of the Church, as a matter of course, have the Holy Spirit.
One simple question must be our rule: What fruit does a man bring forth? Does he repent? Does he believe with the heart on Jesus? Does he live a holy life? Does he overcome the world? Habits like these are what Scripture calls "fruit." When these "fruits" are lacking, it is profane to talk of a man having the Spirit of God within him.
Let it be a settled principle that when a man's general lifestyle is ungodly, his heart is graceless and unconverted. Let us not give way to the vulgar notion, that no one can know anything of the state of another's heart; and that although men are living wickedly they have good hearts at the bottom. Such notions are flatly contradictory to our Lord's teaching. Is the general tone of a man's communication carnal, worldly, godless, or profane?
Then let us understand that this is the state of his heart. When a man's tongue is extensively wrong it is absurd, no less than unscriptural, to say that his heart is right.
Let us close this passage with solemn self-inquiry, and use it for the trial of our own state before God. There is no evading the doctrine laid down by our Lord in this passage. Conduct is the grand test of character. Words are one great evidence of the condition of the heart.
Prayer for the Day: Dear Lord, help me to examine my fruit. Do my conduct and conversation reflect your holiness?
Action Plan: What fruits am I bringing forth in my life? Are they fruits of the Spirit? What kind of evidence do my words supply as to the state of my heart? Do I talk like one whose heart is "right in the sight of God?"
This devotional was taken from The Gospel of Luke by J.C. Ryle published in 1858
and adapted by Pastor Tim Lewis of New England Shores Baptist Church.