My family and I are just about as ready for spring as any family can get; yet the winter weather seems to persist. The weather is so out of character, that even the youngest members of the Harding family are taking notice. Last week, on a snowy “spring” day in late March, Zeke asked when it would be spring. I said, “Well, technically it is spring.” His response, (in an animated voice that betrayed his obvious frustration and bewilderment): “Spring is supposed to have warm air, and flowers and grass. Why can it be spring without any of those things?”
Of course I laughed and tried to explain, but his response has stuck with me. At first, I kept thinking about it just because it was pretty cute and funny. However, over the last week, that little exchange has gnawed at my mind, causing me to think about the depth of insight in that observation. I know – you think it’s a stretch, but stick with me for a minute. This is what I realized: even a five year old recognizes that it is ridiculous to claim that something is true when all rational and expected evidence is lacking.
This extends beyond the absurdity of a winter that seemingly spans a lifetime to our spiritual lives. We are living in a Christian culture that finds it acceptable to claim the name of Christ without any evidence to back up that claim. The Bible clearly articulates expected evidences of true faith. Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey His Word and His commands (John 14:21-23). He also said that we are identified as His disciples by our love for others (John 13:33-34), involvement in spreading the gospel, caring for those less fortunate and abiding in Christ. Many such evidences could be searched out in scripture, but the point is this: it is absurd to claim Christ without any evidence of true faith. Yes, we are saved by God’s gracious work in our hearts through faith, but that faith will produce evidence. True faith always produces evidence that is observable – to others and to God.
I wonder if God observes our churches with the same incredulity with which Zeke heard the declaration that it was spring. Perhaps God observes our behavior and says: “My people love each other and obey me and spread my Gospel. Why can they claim to be mine without any of those things?”