Fruitful lives

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When we hear the words fruit mentioned Galatians 5:22 immediately springs to mind. There are songs that were written for kids to encourage them to remember what the fruit of the Spirit are. This is rather sad as we should be modelling the fruits and pointing them out to our children. How often do we display our fruit to the world?

In Matthew 7:16, Jesus very clearly tells us that we will be known by our actions. There is no excuse given in this section, it does not say that our past will influence our actions, or that are allowed to use your traumatic past, bad childhood, good childhood or behavioural patterns to excuse our actions. Jesus tells us that we will recognise a person by their actions. We will know who rules them/ whom they serve by the way they speak, dress and act towards others. I have a Masters of Education in inclusive education so I am well aware of the learning and behavioural disorders in the world, but there is still a measure of choice made by the child/adult to behave in a manner that is often inappropriate. I have taught some wonderful children with behaviour disorders that are more polite and well-mannered than the general run of the mill child. If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, He fills your life, you need to get rid of some rubbish and bad habits with the help of the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth so that there is room for Him in your world. When He is Lord of your life then the Spirit of Truth fills you (John 14:23). Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit and needs to be evident in the lives of those that serve YHWH. Jesus was cursed by man on his way to the cross, He was going to die for those that cursed Him. Yet, He did not utter on word of retaliation – rather He pleaded with the Father for their forgiveness.

Who makes you choose how to act, talk, dress or react? Don’t blame others for your choice. A person that goes out drinking and then gets behind the wheel of his/her car makes that choice themselves. They chose to swallow the drinks and order the next one. Drinking is not a sin, but getting drunk is not practising self-control (Ephesians 5:18). An unfit person makes the choice to sit down and reach for the TV remote instead of taking a stroll down the road and stopping to chat to a neighbour or play with their children. Someone that lashes out at others in anger choses to take offence at what was said, they defend their pride and formulate the words that may hurt and scar those that are close to them. You see, everything we do is a choice. We don’t have to lash out, be unhealthy or get drunk – we can use self-control and bear fruit and witness to others. We make the choice to have a positive attitude and count our blessings, or to feel sorry for ourselves and have a negative attitude. We can moan or praise. It is much easier to say than to do, but practise makes perfect, the less of you, the more of Him, the more of Him the more of the Spirit. The more of the Spirit, the more fruit – including self-control.

The world is watching, they are waiting for us to slip up, and we will. BUT when we do we can recognise our slip, admit we slipped and receive forgiveness. We show who we are by our actions. If you stand on a tube of toothpaste, toothpaste is going to come out. If someone stands on your toes, what comes out of you? Jesus said to His disciples (you and me) that it is not what goes into a man’s mouth that matters, it is what comes out of his mouth. For what is in the heart will come out of the mouth. So, who is in your heart? Who are you serving – really serving? Yourself or the Creator, YHWH. If the police knocked on your door right now and wanted to arrest you for being a Christian, is there enough evidence to convict you of your faith?

Fruit grows from a seed – a seed of faith. Jesus tells us that if we would have faith as small as a mustard seed we could move mountains. In John 14:23 we read that if we love Jesus we WILL OBEY Him.

Matthew 7:21b, “The decisive issue (making a choice) is whether they obey My Father in Heaven.”

Matthew 7:23, “I will reply, I never KNEW you. Go away, the things you did were unauthorized.” Jesus was referring to those that would tell Him what they had done in His name, yet did this for self-gain, not for His glory and esteem. We need to make the choice to obey Him and in doing so allow Him to use the anointing in us to bring Him glory – not to make it about us for self-gain/pride, this is unauthorized.

For fruit to grow and ripen it must be fed and nurtured, protected from bugs that would destroy it. A tree that is rooted in streams of Living Water will produce fruit. The roots of the tree need to go deep into the Word of God where they are nourished and cultivated by the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth. This fruit is healthy, energizing and life-giving fruit. Fruit like this feeds others and holds within it seeds of faith that germinate and spread the grace of the King. These fruits bring glory to God.

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness, gentleness, self-control. There is no self-serving in these qualities,  no selfishness or thoughtlessness. These attributes are the characteristics of our Father. If you serve Him, you will walk in the Spirit and bear these fruits. The world will know whom you serve by your actions that bring glory to a lovingly-committed Father.

Take time to read Galatians 5 and ask the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth to reveal truths about yourself to you. Jesus did not come to condemn, man does that. Jesus came to set free and love in patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness and can be trusted. Don’t let man tell you that the choices you have made discredit your chances with God, that is rubbish and a lie. Make a choice today, to sit at His Feet, in His presence and be loved.

Jesus, that you would see my heart, in the secret place. That You would take my short-comings and past and wash me clean. Thank You that when You made the choice to die on that cross, You made that choice for me. I can’t understand such love, such kindness and selflessness. Help me through Your Set-Apart Spirit of Truth to know that You love me, warts and all – just the way I am. Dress me in robes of righteousness and let me dip my hem in Your blood to set me apart for You. Let me sit at Your feet and receive from Your love. Amen.

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