As a kid, saying, “I love you,” was easy, but how true were those words? Jesus said, “You know a tree by its fruit” (Luke 6:44), which was another way of saying, “Behind our words are the actions that reveal the truth.” Put to the test, how would I score?
Like most houses in the 1940s, the church parsonage where I lived had no fence. Yet at two years old, I was allowed to play outside, unsupervised. How was that possible? At first, I only thought I was alone. I now know that I was watched from inside the house to see if I would obey Daddy’s commandment: You can play outside until Mom calls you, but you are never to leave the yard.
To explore new places never crossed my mind. I didn’t tell him about the one time I slipped up, when I ran across the street for only a few seconds to see my friend. I didn’t need to tell him, because just the thought of disappointing my dad was too painful to ever want to do it again. That’s why I still remember the day as if it were yesterday.
I wasn’t always good, but a few spankings quickly helped me decide whether I wanted to do right or go my own way. If what my dad wanted was important, my Heavenly Father was a greater concern. Always watching, God cared for me even more. Over what is now almost seventy years, the value of my relationship with the Lord has increased, while the thought of disappointing him has become even more painful.
Did Jesus want us to know about how he tests us, when he said, “If you love me, you’ll do what I tell you to do” (John 14:15)?