There is no denying that the coming of Christ has had a significant impact on our world. Without Jesus’ birth, the world that we know wouldn’t exist.
There would be no Catholics, no Protestants, no Christmas celebrations. The American dollar would not say “In God we trust.” Actually, the United States of America as we know it today (which was founded on Christian values) would not even exist. But, ignoring the cultural and social impact of Christianity for a moment, we can ask the pertinent question: What has Christianity actually accomplished? Like really?
Has Christianity solved world hunger? Hardly. Gun violence? I don’t think so. Has it brought world peace? Not by a long shot… Is there a result?
“He who abides in me bears much fruit”
Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. … By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:5,8.
Here we see that there is a result that comes from living a Christian life. This result doesn’t come in the form of immediate world peace or the cessation of all of life’s problems here and now. Jesus tells us that His true disciples will bear fruit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24. The fruit that Jesus was talking about was fruit of the Spirit: they are Christ’s virtues and a result of being obedient to God’s Word and His will in our lives.
A new nature
When you choose to give up your own will (your own lusts and desires) in order to do God’s will then you “crucify your flesh,” as the Bible puts it. You consciously give up or deny your own sinful lusts, desires and tendencies, which only lead us to unrest and unhappiness, in order to please God with your life. And the result of doing God’s will in all of the situations of life is that you receive a new mind. You are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and bear fruit for Him. (Romans 12:2, Romans 8:29)
Basically, this means that if you are faithful to do God’s will time and time again, you come into unity with His will and nature, and His virtues replace your own naturally sinful tendencies. Where there was once unrest in your heart, you come to peace. Where you once were unkind, you learn to be kind. Where there once was a human limit to your goodness and love, you can now show infinite goodness and love toward the others. And the list goes on and on.
You shall know them by their fruits
In Matthew 7:15-18 Jesus tells us, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”
There are many people today who claim to be Christians, but who do not follow Christ in truth. This can make it confusing sometimes whom to trust or believe and Christianity as a whole seems to be lacking in many areas. But, the truth is that true Christianity, following Jesus and giving up our own will in every situation, does produce a result. And Jesus tells us that we shall be able to recognize true Christians by this result.
So, the question is: What does your faith produce? Is the fruit of the Spirit coming forth in your life?
James exhorts us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” (James 1:22) When you are a doer of the word, following Jesus in all points, then it will also be natural for you to bear good fruit and make progress in your Christian life. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control will be the result of your faith. And that is the result of Christianity!