2 Cor. 3:1-3 - Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.As the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. In the emerging world of first century Christianity Paul understood that he didn't need someone to recommend him for a position in another church; he was an apostle! So how did he establish a reputation? By the path he left behind. I have worked at a place or two that when I left I did not leave a clear path of the good things I did there. Perhaps the circumstances of my departure left me thinking, "How will I explain this?" Paul, here, serves as an example that our most powerful witness to our character is the result of our past actions. These past actions, in turn, are a barometer of our faith.
In James we read:
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?and Jesus tells us:
"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.For you see that when we have established a righteous life, our actions will paint that picture better than any sermon we could preach or letter of recommendation that anyone could write. Likewise if there appears to be a path of destruction in our wake, perhaps it may be time for some reflection, to determine how we may draw closer to God.