A lot of people claim to be Christians today.
It is not uncommon for a celebrity to tweet a scripture.
So, are these people Christians, and do they really love the Lord? I am in no position to answer that. Only God knows, and only they know. All I can do is evaluate spiritual fruit. Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20).
Jesus told us, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” This, of course, is the nonbeliever’s favorite verse to throw in the face of the Christian that dares to challenge them on choices they have made in light of Scripture. But what does it mean to “judge not”?
First, let me tell you what it does not mean. It does not mean that we can’t evaluate and look for the results of true faith in our life, as well as the lives of fellow believers. In fact, the Bible tells us that we as Christians should render judgments like that.
Paul wrote these words to the believers in Corinth: “Do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?” (1 Corinthians 6:2).
So, what does it mean then to “judge not”? The word judge, used by Jesus there in in Matthew 7, speaks of condemning. In other words, do not pass the final judgment. That is only for God to do.
Rather than passing final judgment on someone else, perhaps we should instead start with ourselves, asking ourselves the question, “Am I a Christian?”
The Bible says, “Check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren’t at all?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
1. A person who really is a Christian and loves the Lord will long for personal communion with God. When you love someone, you like to spend time with them. You enjoy their company, their companionship. When you hear of husbands and wives spending less and less time together and more with their friends, this is a danger signal. I have been married for 40 years but I like to hang out with my wife.
That’s how it was for Adam and the Lord every day in Eden. The Lord would show up and they would talk about the day together. It was sin that severed this beautiful fellowship and friendship. If you love God, you will long for communion and fellowship with Him. Psalm 63: “My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water . . . Your unfailing love is better than life itself . . . You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise You with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of You, meditating on You through the night.” If you really know the Lord, you will see prayer not as a mere duty, but a great privilege.
2. A person who loves the Lord will, in turn, love the things that He loves. We know what He loves by what He has declared to us in His Word. The psalmist declares, “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).
Do you love the Word of God?
Do you love His church?
Do you love lost people?
3. If you really love the Lord, you will love other Christians. Some will say “I love Jesus, I just don’t love Christians or the church.” Do you realize that is insulting to God? That would be like coming up to me and saying, “I love you, but I hate your wife!” That’s an insult.
Jesus loves the church, and if we love Him, we should too!
Now I know Christians are not always so loveable, but guess what? That includes you. Jesus calls us to love the unlovable. He said “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
When you know the Lord, you will long to spend time with other believers who will build you up spiritually.
4. A person who really loves God will hate the things He hates! Psalm 97:10, “You who love the Lord, hate evil! He protects the lives of His godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked.” God hates sin and we should do the same. The Bible tells us to “abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).
The only way we can determine what good and evil and right and wrong are, is by developing a biblical worldview. We cannot love something God says He hates. The problem is, we are often fascinated by evil. We are drawn to it—first as an observer, then as perhaps a participator. Don’t flirt with evil; run from it!
5. If you really love the Lord, you will long for Christ’s return. Paul rejoiced that “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but to all who love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Your very reaction to the imminent return of Jesus is a spiritual barometer to your relationship with God. If knowing Christ could return at any time brings joy to your life, that would indicate you are a real believer. If you dread the idea of Christ returning, that would indicate your life is not where it should be spiritually.
Ask yourself this question: Is there anything I am doing that I would be ashamed of if Christ were to return? If so, you should turn from that sin.
6. And lastly, if you love the Lord you will keep His commandments. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). Jesus also said, in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do the things which I say?”
People will say they love the Lord; then they will lie, steal, live immorally, get drunk, etc. That is a contradiction. If you really love the Lord you will want to do what He tells you to do.
So do you love the Lord? Is it evident in the things that you love, the things that you hate, the things that you long for, and the things that you do?