For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. (Luke 6:44 NASB)
When we noticed the first blossoms on the pear tree, we began to eagerly anticipate the heirloom pears it would produce. I know that this is a pear tree and not an apple tree because, for a quarter of a century, I've watched it bear pears. I know that the tree at the edge of the tractor shed is a fig tree because, for all those years, it has borne figs. The tree is known by its fruit.
Jesus was not giving a horticulture lesson. He was teaching about the fruit in our lives. It doesn't matter what we call ourselves, because the supporting evidence for our claim will be the fruit we bear. When we claim to be Christian, the only way the world knows that to be true is by the fruit we bear in our lives.
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatian church, explained the kind of fruit we should have. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law". (Galatians 5:22, 23 NASB) Put another way, these fruit of the Spirit must be evident in our lives if we expect to support our claim to be a Christian. (To be clear, God looks at our heart. He knows what is there. It is our fellow humans who can only see the fruit.)
I imagine Jesus is looking forward to the Spirit fruit in our lives even more than I am the pears on my old tree. When He examines our lives, what fruit does He find? Does He see Spirit-fruit?
Pray today that our loved ones would clearly recognize the fruits of faith in our lives and in those who claim to be Christians around them. Pray, too, that the fruit would be so attractive that they will want it for themselves.