ARTIFACT • DOVE
Serving as leaders to students in our local church, My wife and I were doing everything we could to get kids excited about a relationship with Jesus. Containing endless amounts of energy, seventh and eighth grade students were pouring in to the weekly program. Like a Maverick wave, you could either get washed out, or you quickly find a surfboard and harness this adolescent energy for the wildest ride of your life. Junior high students live life in this powerful pocket of the curl. Physically they are growing at rapid rates, while emotionally they are experiencing new territory. Relationally, their ability to push the buttons of the adults in their lives becomes a remarkably refined skill, while their loyalty to friends is steadfast. Best of all, they find themselves spiritually in a spot where they are open and ready to hear the honest to goodness truth about life, the foremost important truth being salvation in Jesus Christ. We quickly found that working with junior high students forced us to be genuine and honest.
WE COULD NOT FAKE IT WITH THEM.
These students quickly saw through all my inconsistencies. Whether it was something I said, or an action I took, like the Justice League they patrolled the character of my life. The worst part about it was, when I tried to push back with jokes or sarcasm, like a 1971 Pinto, it backfired in my face. I could not beat them at their own game. They expected me to be who I was encouraging them to be, a real follower of Jesus Christ.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Matthew 3:7-10 NIV
Do a character consistency check in your life today. Following Jesus leads to a genuine life full of good fruit to bless others. God is offering you tree trimming services to any places of bad fruit, he has the bonfire ready!