Jesus made it clear to the Pharisees that He didn't come to do away with the Law, but to completely fulfill it. As the fulfiller, He had the license to re-write our love story with our Father in Heaven by converting 'religion' into 'relationship'. I'm a huge fan of how Jesus disrupted the fakeness and hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders during that time. They looked good on the outside and seemed to be fruitful, but much like inedible decorative fruit, they were plastic in the Spirit...
Jesus always knew how to expose the plastics, and put them in their place!
As we come out of VETTING SZN (read our previous blog entitled, "Broken Pencils"), it's time to transition from assessing our environments around us and pay attention to what's going on inside of us. Fictile, plastic fruits are cute magnets for the fridge, but aren't acceptable to our God.
It's time to inspect our spiritual fruit before Jesus puts us in our place with the phrase, "I never knew you!"...
You've guessed it...
...we are focusing on the FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT!
Whether you're new to the Christian faith (and have no idea of what the "fruits of the Spirit" are), or a seasoned Believer who already understands the principle of spiritual fruits -- this blog series is for you!
This week, we will focus on EXPOSING THE PLASTICS by confirming THE REAL FRUIT God is looking for. With the Word of God serving as the final authority, we will define what it says concerning each fruit.
What do you mean by "fruits of the Spirit"?
Fruits of the Spirit = The characteristics of a true Believer that proves the Holy Spirit lives within them. The Bible warns us that many will claim they're "Christian", when there's no real proof that they embody the very thing that sets us apart in this world -- the Holy Spirit. Once we accept the Spirit, and cultivate a real relationship with Him, the fact that we belong to Him will start becoming evident through the way we speak, act, and treat others.
Think of it like this: If you want to eat an apple, and see two "apple" trees in front of you, I'm 100% sure you'd go to the tree that actually shows apples hanging off its branches. It wouldn't make sense to go to the tree said to be an apple tree if it doesn't actually show any fruit to prove it! Spiritual fruit works the same way: when God wants to bless us, use us or answer our prayers, He's looking for the Believers showing apples -- fruitful and faithful.
How many proper fruits are there?
There are (9) different "fruits", or characteristics, written as proof that the Holy Spirit lives inside of us:
We're called to an unconditional, genuine, never-expecting-anything kind of love! -- John 13:35
Who are the people in your life that are easy to love?
Who are the ones that are hard to love? Why?
The joy of the Lord is our strength! No wonder it's the first thing Satan tries to steal. -- Romans 15:13, Psalms 19:8
Everybody wants it. Few have it. Even fewer know how to find it! Jesus gives us the peace known as 'contentment', knowing that all is well no matter the situation. -- Philippians 4:6
Allow the time & space for God's perfect plan to unfold itself. God can see what you can't see, and it's ALWAYS worth the wait! -- Isaiah 55:8-9, Lamentations 3:22-25
It's the oil that soothes the friction of life. -- Matthew 25:40
Always consider 'principle' over need. Be morally right and stick to your values, even when no one's looking. -- Ephesians 5:8-9
Newsflash: God is ALWAYS looking...
Remember the saying, "WWJD" (What Would Jesus Do)? Stay in WWJD mode!
It's the evidence of what you're committed to! -- Proverbs 3:3-4
Need an extra boost? Go read our blog entitled, "Alignment" for practical ways to activate faithfulness in your everyday walk...
Bad attitudes, harsh tones, rude personalities. Oh my! -- Philippians 4:5, Colossians 3:12-13
and last, but not least...
9. Self-Control...which is, in my opinion, the most challenging fruit!
Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and develop discipline through self-control. It has nothing to do with 'self', and everything to do with giving the Spirit 'control'! -- Ephesians 4:29, James 1:19, James 1:26
How can a Believer sow (or what can you do to develop) these fruits?
These characteristics are developed once we spend time praying to our Father, build a strong prayer life, dedicate time and space to read our Bibles, be intentional with applying whatever we read in our Bibles and become radically obedient to what God tells us to do.
Have you ever been around someone so much that you start acting like them? Sometimes, it's repeating the words they usually say, or finding yourself physically behaving the way they do. Ever wondered why you speak the languages you speak, how you dress, or why you cook the way you do? It's all a product of who you've been around, and where you've been! As we spend time with God and His Word, we will start acting like a fruitful tree -- quoting His Word, hiding scripture into our hearts, doing what the Holy Spirit tells us to do, and, dare I say, moving the way Jesus did!
As we approach the holiday season, FOOD IS ON THE BRAIN! With family recipes, grocery shopping, and preparations being made for Thanksgiving, why not take time to reflect on the Spiritual food you are growing from within.
Pastor Paul B. Mitchell constantly teaches us that if we Work the Word, it will work for us! The entire objective of this week is to lay the groundwork needed for next week's challenge: putting the Word into practice!
Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, stay tuned for next week's Part 2: The Watering Challenge.
Mercedes Saintfleur is a devoted wife, mother of three beautiful girls, and a member at Changing Lives Christian Center. Within the walls, she contributes to the Dance, Media, and Event ministries. Beyond the walls, she's an entrepreneur and a professional in the Aviation Industry.
Utilizing honesty, open discussion, and transparency, she uses her experiences, commitment to God, and the potent teachings of Pastor Paul B. Mitchell to implement the Word, and walk the narrow path of Christ...
Thank you for joining us this week!
Look out for a NEW TOPIC next week!