Posts Tagged ‘fruits of the spirit’

John 15:15
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

So which is it? Friend or servant?

Jesus is talking to his disciples, summarily on the same night that he just washed their feet. This section of the book of John is part of a very long record of Jesus’s final teachings to the disciples.

He pronounces them friends because he has shared everything he received from the Father. There is only one proviso: obey his commands. And two verses later, he brings it down to the same singular command: Love each other.

Friends love each other. Servants do not… necessarily. A friend of Jesus follows in the way. A friend of Jesus bears the fruit. A friend of Jesus can ask for whatever … because he/she is in the way of Jesus. The foundation is there before the asking. The love is there before the asking. So many folks wonder why they don’t get their prayers answered… well, answered the way they want them answered. My guess, the problem is that the relationship is not a friend relationship, it’s a servant one.

I want to be a friend to Jesus and others. Make it so Lord Jesus.

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John 15:5b, 8
“If a man [or woman] remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

The whole issue of the fruit metaphor has plagued me over the years. I got hung up on it when a well meaning friend pronounced fruit as the number of converts I brought into the Body of Christ. For him, the process of “harvesting fruit” (probably based on Matthew 9:37) was a frontal assault: bring the person through the “sinner’s prayer” or share the “4 Spiritual Laws” or whatever it takes to close the deal and get the person to “yes.” It reminds me of sales talk: get to the “ask.” [“Ask” in this context meaning to pop the question: do you want to buy this product or do you want to support this cause with a donation?]

First of all, let me say, I am not against drawing others to Christ, far from it. But I’m thinking differently these days about the way. I’m thinking it’s the fruit that actually draws a new believer, not the other way around. The fruit, like fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) or the description by James [3:17] of being wise, peace-loving, considerate, merciful and so forth, these are transforming energies. These fruits come from the heart. These are fruits of love. These are fruits that draw others to us. And when they are drawn to us, they are drawn to Christ.

Ezekiel says [47:12] “…every month they will bear [fruit], because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” This is our future. As the water/spirit of God flows through us, we offer the fruit of love and healing for wounds, both emotional and physical. We are in the restoration business. As we give of ourselves, we are giving life-changing fruit.

Doesn’t it make so much sense that God uses the idea of “feast” … the abundance of fruit … available to us all. And how foolish of us to miss such a feast.

Lord, mark the time for me today. Give me awareness that I might recognize the hunger of others. I don’t want to just “invite” them to the feast, I want to give them a taste of Christ’s fruit. Keep my heart tender, receptive and transparent.

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Romans 8:11
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Yesterday, Pastor Craig gave a powerful message for Easter calling us to strength, calling us to engage that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead to raise us from our own crucifixions. When we face our most difficult trials, we must look to the One who can teach us, who can show us, who can uphold us from within.

Like all of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), strength is like them and comes from within; it, too, is an attribute of the Kingdom of God within us (Luke 17:20-21).

There is a tension between our own way and the way of Jesus. There is a tension between our own ways and the ways of the kingdom of God. We must surrender to this Way daily (… your Kingdom come, Your will be done in Earth as it is in heaven…). Note, I have changed “on earth” to “in earth” because I also think of Earth as my body… the flesh, the three-dimensional self and then the three-dimensional world/environment around me. “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

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