Every television viewing night is filled with dramas and real life accounts of crime investigations and court trials to determine if someone is guilty or innocent of a crime. Investigators will painstakingly study crime scenes for the least bit of information that might be helpful in a case. Judges and juries consider evidence presented before them to see if the facts support a guilty or innocent judgment. Sometimes the evidence overwhelmingly supports a judgment whereas judges must dismiss some cases due to insufficient evidence supporting a charge.
Many years ago, I saw a poster that said, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” This is a sobering thought for anyone to consider for we will all stand before God on the Day of Judgment to give an account of our lives, Romans 14:12. It is better to judge ourselves now and make necessary changes to our lives than for God to condemn us as unprepared on Judgment Day.
If investigators were to interview your family, co-workers, friends, and neighbors, what type of assessment would they make? Would they describe you as a loving, caring, and honest individual with strong moral values who serves others and honors God? Would they recount instances where you have helped and comforted others, lived by godly principles and taught them to others, and would not compromise your convictions for any reason?
Would they laugh at your claim to be a child of God and recount many instances of an uncontrolled temper, foul language, dirty jokes, lying, and other improper behavior? During Jesus’ trial when Peter was accused of being a disciple, he cursed and swore to prove that he did not follow Jesus, Matthew 26:74. Peter apparently convinced the crowd with his behavior. What has your behavior taught others about your allegiance?
Would they be surprised at your claim to be a Christian since you never indicated your allegiance one way or another? I remember seeing a cartoon several years ago where a college girl was talking to her mother before leaving for school. Her mother was concerned for her daughter’s reputation but the daughter comforted her with the words, “Don’t worry mother. I won’t let anyone know I’m a Christian.”
Would the testimony of your family and acquaintances cause you to be condemned as a Christian? Would you be free since your behavior is obviously not Christian? Would the judge drop the charges since there was insufficient evidence to determine the truth?
What if, like the many television reality shows, you had cameras and microphones in your house. Would the investigation yield information to commend or condemn you?
Would the investigation find you taking time to study God’s word and praying fervently (Daniel 6:10-12)? Would the investigators see you treating your spouse (or parents) with love, dignity, and respect? Would they see you rearing your children according to godly principles, taking time to teach them the importance of serving God and instilling the love of God in their hearts (Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:6-9)? Would they find your temper in control, your language edifying, and the mind of Christ in which you esteem and serve others (Philippians 2:1-4)?
Would they find you demeaning your spouse and children? Would they see a Bible that remains closed between church services and days passing without prayer? Would they find you watching offensive programming on the television or viewing pornographic material on the Internet? Would they hear vulgar or hateful language spew from your mouth directed at your spouse, children, or parents? Would they witness mental or physical abuse? Would they see someone who is only concerned for material things and has no concern for the work of the Lord?
What would the jury decide after seeing the evidence from your home surveillance? Would they determine that you are indeed a Christian for your most private and public moments betray your heart? Would they conclude that you do make some errors but you quickly try to rectify them and you pray to God for forgiveness so you must certainly be a Christian?
Would the jury decide that you are not a Christian because, although you claim to be a Christian, your speech and actions betray your heart? On the other hand, would the judge drop the charges because your home life does not support or dispute your accusation as a Christian?
You will be on trial one day. You will have to answer for every idle word spoken and every action taken in the presence of a judge who has perfect knowledge. Will the assessment be that you were a Christian, you sinned at times but you sought forgiveness from God and walked in the light? Will God condemn you because you knew what to do but did not do it? Judge yourself now before it is too late.