If you have been on an international flight, you know just how brutal sitting in the same chair for hours on end can really be. A flight upwards of 15 hours can cause some loss of sanity (“am I gong to be in this metal box forever?!”), and there is one thing I have found in my traveling to be a stabilizing, reality check: the electronic flight map. When you are able to see on an updating, on-screen globe exactly where your plane is, your irrational thoughts telling you that you must have 30 hours left are quickly brought to reality that you only have an hour left.
Just like that electronic map gives you tracks your trip and gives you reality of your travel situation, it’s a good idea as Christians to track where you are in your faith to realize your spiritual situation. Whether you’re doing well or come to realize you’re not doing so well, we should track our faith so we’re not fooled to thinking we’re spiritually good when we may be struggling and in spiritual danger of backsliding or drifting away. So, how can you know where you are in your relationship with Jesus? What benchmark can you look at that shows where your faith is located?
In Luke 6, Jesus teaches a botany lesson and shares how healthy trees produce tasty fruit, and how unhealthy trees will produce bad fruit. Of course, this is an analogy - the trees representing people and the fruit is the product of those people. Jesus is saying Christians (good trees) should be producing good fruit, such as: loving God first, living a life a love, helping others, having a spirit of joy, peace, patience, etc. Conversely, out of a bad tree, you will expect a life of selfishness - pursuing self desires and pleasures, a spirit of impatience, lack of joy and kindness. Christians should strive to produce good fruit, and genuine faith will be sure to bring out these qualities/actions/words. After discussing the reality of a good tree vs. a bad tree, Jesus provides profound words that help us track what fruit we're producing and where our faith is at in Luke 6:45b:
“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Whatever is on your heart, you’ll talk about it. Whatever you love, you will be sure to post about it on Instagram. The things that you truly care about, you will definitely be sharing all about it to everyone you are connected to. An essential benchmark to show you where your faith is at is knowing that what you share about is what you truly love. If you are super into surfing, you will talk about how the waves are, what your favorite riders up to, and what gear you’re excited to ride. If you are really into school and getting good grades, the people in your life know about it. If you are an intense sports fan and have your favorite team, that will be communicated to the people in your network.
Do you talk about Jesus like you talk about the favorite things in your life? Take a moment to think about the conversations you had in the past week. Take a look at your Instagram and see how much you post about the things you love in the world vs. the Savior of the world. When was the last time you talked about Jesus? Do you discuss your faith frequently with your family and friends? Because Jesus says what you really love, you’re gonna talk about it - and it’s not in a dutiful way, but in a way that’s expressed from pure love and excitement. Is it duty to talk about the waves, for all the surfers out there? No! You just love surfing so you talk about the waves… Do we have this kind of overflow of love for Jesus like we do the things in our life?
If you find yourself chatting about Jesus, posting about your love for Jesus frequently on social media - that’s a good gauge on where you’re at with Jesus. Because you’re loving Him, you’re talking about Him! That’s great, keep it up if that’s you. But if you reflect on conversations, scroll through your IG, and see a lack of Jesus - maybe you aren’t as spiritually healthy as you think you may be. But it’s good to track that to understand the reality of your faith, and you can always get back on track! It’s good for us all to check in with our we’re doing in our relationship with Jesus from time to time, and looking at our conversational output is a good way of doing just that.