“You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit.” Matthew 7:16 NLT
The excitement over my first killed bird quickly turned to disappointment.
My cousin lived on my grandfather’s farm and introduced me to dove hunting. Of all the birds flying around, I wondered how he could distinguish a dove. “Look for curved wings,” he said.
One day, Dad and I were invited on a dove hunt. Now in the middle of strangers, I wasn’t sure if I’d bag any birds. After a few misses, a single dove came directly toward me. These were the easiest shots to make. I aimed carefully, pulled the trigger, and watched the bird fold and fall to the ground. Proudly, I walked over to retrieve my prize. When I reached down for the bird, I noticed I had killed a mockingbird, not a dove. Obviously, I needed more training in recognizing the markings.
Jesus made it plain that His followers would have markings-things that would distinguish them from others and make them stand out. Among the markings is unconditional love. The ability to love like their heavenly Father. An ability to show love consistently, regardless of how others treat them in return.
They are also marked with kindness. Empathy for others exudes from their veins. They will inconvenience themselves to convenience others.
Another marking is a servant attitude. For them, it’s not enough to love. They are driven by a desire to put love into action and obey the second greatest commandment.
Abundant joy invades their lives. Regardless of their circumstances, they have a smile that radiates from the inner peace of knowing God is in control of their lives.
Patience is a further virtue they’ve mastered. When others treat them harshly or unjustly, they tolerantly endure.
Jesus’ followers have also learned crowd control. Not how to control the crowd but how to control themselves so they don’t have to follow the crowd to find contentment in life.
Make sure your markings are evident for everyone to see.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA