“A Tree is known by its fruit.” Matt. 12:33
In the Word for Today; I thought this really hits the nail on the head when it comes to professing a vibrant living Christian Faith...
In a letter to George Whitefield an early American revivalist, President Benjamin Franklin wrote this: I can only show my gratitude for those mercies from God, by a readiness to help His other children and my brothers. For I think that thanks and compliments, though repeated weekly, can discharge our real obligations to each other, much less those to our Creator. You will see in this, my notion of good works, that I am far from expecting to merit Heaven by them. By Heaven we understand a state of happiness, infinite in degree and eternal in duration. I can do nothing to deserve such rewards… the faith you mention certainly has its uses in the world. I do not desire to see it diminish, nor would I endeavour to lessen it in any man. But I wish it were more productive of good works than I have generally seen it;
I mean real good works; good works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit; not holiday-keeping, sermon-reading or hearing; performing church ceremonies, or making long prayers filled with flatteries and compliments… the worship of God is a duty; the hearing of sermons may be useful; but if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if the tree should value itself for being watered and putting forth leaves, though it never produce any fruit.