July 13, 2014

“Thus you will recognize them by their fruit.” Matthew 7:20

English: Recreational floaters on the Boise Ri...

My family and I recently floated the Boise River. While we waited in the rental line, I noticed a man in line before us. This man was probably in his fifth decade but he had a striking characteristic. He had fabulous legs. He did not have the legs of a middle-aged man. His legs were so distinct that I nudged my wife and whispered, “Check out the legs on that dude.”

the-razors-edgeThese were legs to be admired. They were chiseled masterpieces of bronzed muscle. The definition of his calf muscles hinted to a power unusual for a man of his age. The large veins that traveled along the inside of the ankle were visible up across his shins noting an uncommon endurance. It was obvious that these fabulous legs had been crafted over years of rigorous training and hours of intense activity. These sorts of legs don’t just happen.

These were the legs of an athlete.

It did not take much insight to determine what activity had crafted these legs. The tan-lines had distinct edges starting just above the ankle and ending just beyond the knee. However, the conclusive clue was what was missing. There was a feature normal to a man that was absent from these legs.

His upper body demonstrated a genetic ability to grow a furry coat. However, the legs contradicted his natural state. These legs had been groomed clean. There is only one type of athlete, who has legs that are muscled to the point of veins, tanned in this particular pattern, and shaven.tan-lines1

These were the legs of a cyclist – a long-time cyclist.

As I admired these fabulous legs, I narcissistically wondered what the person behind me thought about my legs. I wondered if my athleticism was as evident in my conditioning. As I glanced back at my own calves, giving them a little flex, I questioned how well my continence revealed the passions of my life to an examining eye.

Beyond my vanity, the important passion of life looms large. I really care very little about getting recognized for a great pair of legs. However, there are characteristics that I hope are recognizable in a casual observation.

Does the person next in line see self-control in my behavior?
Has my wife come to expect gentleness in my response?
Are my kids accustomed to patience and kindness in my reactions?
Do my co-workers consider me a peaceful person?
Would my biography describe me as a joyful and good man?
Am I recognized by love and faithfulness?

Our passions are obvious to those around us and the fruit of our lives are revealed in a myriad of manners. I hope that we all can be identified by characteristics that are more important than a fabulous pair of legs.

PRAYER: Father, I want to be known by the fruit of your Spirit.  I want to be recognized as a child of God.  Lord, continue your work within my heart.  Transform me into your likeness.  May the world see you in my life for your glory.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen


  1. I used to live in Boise and graduated from BSU 🙂

    Thanks for checking out my blog

  2. I pray that all people see in me is Jesus–not by what I say, but by what I do!

  3. Amen, and amen! I’m making your prayer my own, JD. I love the imagery that leads to your point and suspect that, like Nancy, I will think of this when I next see a great pair of legs. Blessings to you this week!

  4. This post has sticking potential, JD! I have a feeling that, from now on, every time I see great legs, great hair, a great outfit, etc., I’ll be reminded: What really matters, what I really care about is what JD highlighted: Do people see Jesus in me? Thank you for such a powerful object lesson!

  5. I disagree somewhat.

    I do agree that these characteristics SHOULD be identifiable by all, just as the athlete’s legs. Yet, isn’t it funny, as we become more Christ-like, how often those characteristics are slandered, as the observer starts looking for something wrong. After all, Christ was not seen as the Son of God by many, but a criminal and leader of a rebellion.

    The reason? “Blessed are those who are persecuted.” Most people often do not want to answer the kind of self-reflective questions that such a character provokes. It’s the same source that refuses to investigate, as Sayers in your next post points out. It is a sad irony, but true nonetheless, that as our muscles become more toned, the more observers will find something else to nit-pick as deflection from the searing questions none want to ask of themselves.

    How do you know you are becoming more Christ-like? By the amount of criticism of your work-out regime.

  6. I was on a rock climbing wall with my wife and one of the staff said to a co-worker, “Look at that guy’s calves!” I may be soft in the middle (as Paul Simon said in You Can Call Me Al) but at least my lowest extremities are buff.

    And like you, I hope people recognize me as belonging to God in the way I talk and act. That’s something I’d like for all of me, extremities included.

  7. As always, inspirational message with personal life application imagery ~ gifted insights ~ Amen :Y

  8. Really good JD! A great exhortation and provocation, especially following our pastor’s message today in James chapter 2. Faith without works is dead. May our faith be living and vibrant and accompanied by the fruit that reveals the reality of it. Thanks for sharing again! Blessings to you… Steve

    Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 14:52:55 +0000 To: sdhare57@hotmail.com

  9. Apart from The Lord…..my first response was, I’ll take the legs, buts “thanks be to God and His Grace” I know that is not the correct answer!

  10. To be recognized – that’s a great exhortation.

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