Challenge: To rise to the next level in the Spirit. If the fruit of the spirit is OF the Holy Spirit, then it behooves us to seek Him more and more in our every day lives. Allow him to teach and guide you. One way is to actually pray in the Spirit and seek interpretation. This is a solid scriptural principle, and I can attest personally to it's effectiveness. I have often gained profound insights into myself, God, and found answers to problems by doing so.
Abide in Christ: This is crucial. You simply cannot go it alone. Jesus provides the fruitfulness in is that is genuine, and people can spot a phony pretty easily:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (Joh 15:4-5 MKJV)Notice that abiding in Him does not merely bring forth fruit, but MUCH fruit. Hallelujah! Pardon me for a minute while I do a stomp dance!
The consequences for not abiding in Him are dire:
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered. And they gather and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (Joh 15:6 MKJV)This verse echoes the curse given to the fruitless fig tree we looked at last week. Jesus plainly lays out His plan for His people. They will be fruitful... or else!
The benefits, on the other hand, are WONDERFUL!
If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you. In this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you shall be My disciples. (Joh 15:7-8 MKJV)You shall ask what you will! And it shall be done unto you! Saints, does it get any better than that? Abiding in Christ is THE key to answered prayer.
Let's look at some practical ways to live a fruitful life. Seek opportunities to display your fruit to a starving world:
A kind word will often change the way a person's day is going. I have seen it done many times. I have done it many times. Consider the person working the cash register for instance. That person in front of you may have just ate her lunch and popped the bag. But you can make the difference when it's your turn.
A random act of kindness will always bless people. There are as many ways to do this as the human imagination will allow. I had a friend that used to get a kick out of going through fast food drive through's and pay for the car behind him in line. It was certainly a blessing to the recipients, but he always found it to be a blessing to him as well.
Crucify your flesh. This does NOT mean beat up on yourself when you fail. Whenever the flesh rises up, that's an opportunity to put it under by showing the love of Christ. Let that other guy go first in traffic. Bite your tongue. It's not about letting someone get away with something. It's an chance to exercise that fruit of the Spirit called self control.
Give. You can't take it with you when you die anyways. And besides, the scriptures teach that a giving heart will receive in great increase in due time.
Stop complaining. Complainers really are a drag to be around. You and I are no exception. So stop it. It's like an empty rain cloud...
Don't stir up strife. Strife is the enemy of fellowship. Strife destroys relationships and has no place in the life of the believer. The fruit of the Spirit to replace strife with, is love.
Treat people the way you want to be treated:
Therefore all things, whatever you desire that men should do to you, do even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Mat 7:12 MKJV)
Forgiveness! It is of utmost importance to forgive. Our earlier text concerning Jesus and the fig tree continues, and Jesus instructs his followers to forgive. He links it inseparably to prayer and faith. You cannot receive answers to prayer without it! Be quick to give forgiveness when wronged. Be equally quick to ask for it if you have wronged someone. It's the Master's way.
Seek for the the good in any situation or person. The faults that you find in others should be prayed about, NEVER repeated to others. Problems should be prayed about, not grumbled about.
These are just a few things that can get you started on the right track. Scripture is full of ways to implement these principles into your life. The Holy Spirit is also an ever present teacher and guide. Seek His wisdom constantly. He ALWAYS delivers.
Please the Master. Do it in FAITH.
WWJD? Find out, in the Scripture, Then DO IT! JUST DO IT!