I had "one of those moments" during yesterday's morning quiet time with the sweet girl. We were doing our prayers and Bible reading before breakfast, and were talking about the morning's readings. I can't even recall the exact passage or story under discussion -- we often jump around quite a bit in these morning conversations -- it may have been triggered by the Pharisees. But the sweet girl had one of those "a-ha" moments that gave me an "a-ha" moment too.
"Mommy," she said, "you know how sometimes people can act all good on the outside but not be right on the inside?"
"Well," she said sagely, "it's like 'believer is as believer does.'"
It took me just a second to catch on to her train of thought. We sometimes remind her that "pretty is as pretty does," especially on mornings when she's dawdling over something very girlish (like choosing clothes or playing with a "hairstyle") but is struggling with attitude and behavior. I think we learned the expression from Ma Ingalls, that sage dispenser of practical parental wisdom. And it's a good saying. What you look like on the outside is one thing, but your heart attitude is the most important of all.
But the sweet girl's observation took it a step further. "Believer is as believer does." Who we are in the deepest core of us is reflected in what we do. Jesus wasn't ever faked out by seemingly pious actions by folks like the Pharisees (and he's still not fooled when we try it too). He could see to their heart motivations. But real fruit, real righteousness, real acts of mercy and peace and goodness, are important. What we do matters. It's inextricably linked to who we are and what our heart situation is. We can't grow fruit if our roots don't go deep into good soil. We can't bear fruit if we're not attached to the vine. But if we are, then the fruit will come. And people will know us by that fruit.
Or to put it more simply, in the sage words of a growing, learning, ever-root-deepening (thank you, God) eight year old girl: "believer is as believer does."