One of my guilty pleasures is reading and watching crime dramas. In them, the police are always emphasizing the need to show means, motive, and opportunity to prove guilt. That made me wonder; if Christianity were a crime, would I be a suspect? Could anyone prove that I’ve got the means, motive, and opportunity?
A cursory search of my home would reveal numerous copies of the Bible, devotionals, and study guides. There would probably be a few church bulletins lying around, as well. That pretty well shows that I’ve had the means and opportunity to worship Christ. But does studying the Bible and going to church prove that I’m a Christian?
What is a Christian, anyway? By definition, a Christian is a follower of Christ. A lover of Christ. Jesus himself said, “If you love me you will obey my commands” John 14
Have I been observed obeying the Lord’s commands?
He gave His disciples this command:
“… make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”– Matthew 28: 19-20
When asked which of His instructions was most important, this was His response:
29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:28-31
Are there witnesses to me obeying either the Great Commission or the greatest Commandments? I’ve certainly had the means and many opportunities to do so, although I haven’t taken advantage of as many as I should. There should be records of my giving to missions and a few people might have observed me worshiping God and doing good deeds a time or two for my neighbors.
All that remains to prove is my motivation and that goes back to “If you love Me…“
Motives are the hardest to prove. I might read the Bible or go to church to impress my friends. I may even do my good works out of pride or an attempt to buy my salvation. The only One who knows my heart is the True Judge.
We speak as Christians of being convicted. When we stand before His throne, will we be found guilty of truly loving Jesus? God only knows.