How can you tell if a person is really a Christian? Jesus said there would plenty of fakes. There is an easy, reliable test. But before I tell you what the test is, let me warn you in advance: there is one, big limitation to know about before you apply this test. Read about the test first and then I’ll tell you about the fine print:
” What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)
If a person really follows Jesus, you will see it in his or her actions. What you do shows what you really believe. You can say you believe but, unless you put those beliefs into action, your belief is not real. Every time you step off the jetway, across that small space onto your flight, you show that you believe the airplane will keep you safe. So, if you want to know if someone is truly a believer in Jesus, you can tell by what he or she does.
BUT, BUT, BUT!!! (Here’s the big caveat) There is a limitation to how this test can be applied. It only works accurately on one person: yourself! Jesus taught us to be cautious about fakes and that we could spot them by their actions. But He also taught us not to mentally condemn others or write them off. That is God’s job. The only person whose faith you can really test is little old you.
Jesus’ commands and teachings run against the grain of our natural tendencies. But if you believe He was telling the truth, you risk doing unnatural things. Like being generous to someone in need. What you do shows what you believe.