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Getting the RIGHT Perspective of the Fruit of the Spirit

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)

I want the Fruit of the Spirit, don’t you? I want to have all the love, joy, and peace that I can. But come to find out —I had it backwards!

A tree produces fruit to benefit others, not for itself. Oh my! My focus unknowingly was on myself. This fruit is not for me, the bearer, but for God and others.

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (Jn 15:8)

It is more obvious that the last 6 aspects of this fruit list are for others. However, even there we must be careful.

Do I want to be patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled so that I can feel good about myself and that others will think highly of me? Or do I want the fruit of the Spirit truly for God’s glory and the benefit of others?

Tough questions!

It always boils down to motives; to what’s in our hearts. I certainly got pricked with these questions. But knowing the real truth will set you and me free. How else could we change our thinking? We need the Holy Spirit to point out our misunderstandings. I want a rich bountiful harvest, don’t you?

Here’s where we need to change our thinking:

1. Have the Right Goal

  • Joy should not be the goal. That’s putting our desire for joy before God (i.e. an idol). But seeking God first will lead to that joy.

…You will fill me with joy in your presence…. (Ps 16:11)

  • The goal should not be to have peace in our lives, but to be at peace with God. Then the peace of God will follow as a result of being right with our holy Creator (Rom 5:1, Phil 4:7, 9).
  • Love should be the goal—not to receive love, but rather give love to God and others (the 2 greatest commandments).

2. Have the Right Source

We don’t produce this fruit—He does. Its origin is divine.

Spiritual fruit develops by abiding and having faith in Christ.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing….” (Jn 15:5)

“It is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…. (John 14:10-12)

Fruit is the evidence of what’s inside. Therefore, bearing spiritual fruit is to show others the evidence of God working in us, proving that He exists and cares. God wants to be known and uses willing vessels like you and me to display His glory. 

Once we have the correct perspective, we will experience what we want in the way of love, joy, and peace. It’s a byproduct of believing, obeying, and living in Christ Jesus.

I probably have stretched your mind. Good! The Holy Spirit will help you understand these spiritual mind-blowers. Let God teach you and transform your way of thinking so you can produce bountiful fruit that will last.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (Jn 15:16)

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

A Key to Spiritual Growth: Self Evaluation WITH the Holy Spirit

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Christians, young or old in the faith, want to grow and become more like Christ. But how do you do that? One key to this growth process is allowing the Lord to show you specifically where you fall short.

We all fall short, but not necessarily in the same place.

We need the Lord to tell us what we need to change if we’re going to change. This requires self-evaluation and most people don’t want to make the effort for several reasons…

~For one, it takes time which always seems to be in short supply. Most are too impatient to go through the process.

~We also don’t like looking at the ugliness of our sin. The weight of guilt is too oppressive. Instead of admitting our sin, we beat ourselves up or fear God’s condemnation.

~Soul-searching can also be painful, as we remember hurts done to us or by us.

~Others think it’s just not that important; taking God’s mercy and understanding for granted. You and I are never to rationalize our sin away because “God understands.” All sin is a serious offense against our holy God. 

They each boil down to pride.

Instead of avoiding our issues, remaining in a state of guilt or defeat, or justifying our sins we should confess, accept God’s forgiveness, and repent.

Where I believe many of us mess up is thinking repentance is telling the Lord, “I’ll never do that again. Help me.” And that is where we stop. However… 

True repentance includes trying to determine why you sinned, i.e. self-examination guided by the Holy Spirit.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me…. (Ps 139:23-24)*

The Lord already knows why. It is we who are in the dark.

The original word here for search means to dig deep. King David is asking God to bring his deep-lying parts—his inner-most being—to the surface so he can see where he isn’t in line with God.

As commentator, McLaren, states:

“Pestilence breathes in the unventilated, unlighted, uncleansed recesses of a neglected nature. It is only on condition of the light of God’s convincing Spirit being cast into every part of our being that we shall be able to overcome and annihilate the creeping swarms of microscopic sins that are there…”  

Proper self-evaluation takes a willing, open, humble and yielded heart. “Whatever You show me, Lord, I will address and change with Your help.” That’s in essence what David means with the last part of verse 24: “lead me in the way everlasting.” 

The Lord doesn’t reveal sin in us to beat us up, but in order that we would deal with the problem and change, thereby becoming more like His beautiful Son.

Stop excusing your sin because you are “human.” Start being honest with yourself and God. He will be gentle, kind and truthful. Let the Holy Spirit get to the core.

Let Him root out those sinful attitudes and patterns of thinking and therefore patterns of behavior that are displeasing to your holy God. He knows exactly how to do it, what specific truths will set you free, and will then empower you to implement them. What an awesome God we have!

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Rom 2:4)**

Get my free guide on how to actually do this self-evaluation process here.

My friends, go do a little soul searching with the Lord. It’ll be worth the effort becauseHe’s so worth it!

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

**New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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