Believers’ Natural Fruits

Ephesians 5:9   (KJV)   9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Ephesians 5.9 - Believers' Natural FruitsGod’s precious Holy Spirit living in us produces only good things—praise God for that. He efficiently bears in us what’s good, what’s right, and what’s true.

We willingly and humbly yield ourselves to the gentle leading and inner work of the Holy Spirit. Left to ourselves, we still have a strong tendency to listen to the destructive influence of our old way of living. But our loving God has lavishly given us wisdom; we quickly identify and resist what’s evil, wrong, and false. More so, we understand that ungodliness isn’t something to accommodate and excuse; it’s something to completely reject. Our sincere love for God and our proper understanding of God’s love don’t deny His anger—not only for disobedience but also for the disobedient: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).

We love God; He loves us infinitely more. We please the One we love, and we demonstrably do this by being Christ-like. This isn’t a laborious something we force ourselves to. We honestly enjoy living in unquestionable integrity and all-out faithfulness—in willing obedience to the Lord’s instructions. We’ve heard before: “Our lives are God’s gifts to us; what we do with our lives are our gifts to God.” Reality is: there’s nothing we can give God that He didn’t give us. Still, He kindly gives us the uplifting pleasure of choosing to thank Him by the way we live out this precious gift of life—both the physical and the eternal. It’s a deep joy yielding to the precious Holy Spirit—radiating goodness, righteousness, and truth. What an honor and privilege.

New Clothes for New Life

Ephesians 4:24   (KJV)   24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

We are world-changers; that’s a great honor. We influence and change our society because we’ve been changed—from the inside out; we’re a new creation, new man, new nature, new heart. All glory to God; that inner change is all Him. That’s the light we Ephesians 4.24 - New Clothes for New Lifeshine, this new nature created to be like God, particularly His righteousness, holiness, purity. It may be hard for some to believe, but this is us: living godly and pure lives is our nature.

Everyone is invited to share this awesome newness; most don’t respond.  As believers, we enjoy it tremendously. It’s no longer a joy for this new nature to engage in dishonesty, immorality, and corruption. There are not a lot of honors as great as representing and displaying our Father’s nature. Misrepresenting Him hurts us. Temptations abound; they possess powerful attractions, but this new man has different tastes and appetites.

Not all unbelievers are utterly hostile to believers. Some of them recognize the beauty of Christian values. They know the importance of truthfulness, faithfulness, and loyalty in relationships. They know the value of teachability and submission among their children and employees. They know the value of conscientiousness, initiative, and diligence. It’s not unusual to see parents who don’t set foot in a church but send their children to Christian schools and gatherings because they know how beautiful our lives are.

We sail on, bearing a different aura—that of humility, joy, love, peace. Our neighbors trust us; we bring peace to tense situations; we don’t harbor grudge. We don’t operate by the common m.o. of avenging ourselves against those who wrong us. We forgive. We work hard for those who trust us with their company; we’re not takers; we’re giver. Our speeches aren’t foul; they’re pleasant; they’re kind. I can go on and on, but we’re obviously different—wonderfully different. We love it. We’re deeply humbled.

Love, Rebuke, Chastening

Revelation 3:19   (KJV)   19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

God’s love neither contradicts nor eliminates rebuke and chastening; in fact, it’s His love that necessitates them. We don’t hate or reject those loving actions of our Father, as unpleasant as they may be while we’re in them. Instead, we welcome them with open Revelation 3.19 - Love, Rebuke, Chasteninghands, heart, and mind. And we take the necessary actions to correct whatever needs correction.

We’re not only accepting of God’s rebuke and discipline; we’re humbly grateful and appreciative of them. We don’t just tolerate them; we celebrate them. And we don’t drag our feet forcing ourselves to respond and to change; we’re zealous of growing in the likeness of our precious Lord Jesus. We willingly and quickly turn away from thoughts, actions, and choices He forbids. We understand: lack of desire and passion to leave ways that break our Fathers’ heart needs dumping in itself.

Hmmm; let’s see; we repent from Lukewarnness; we want to be hot—on fire for God—passionately loving and serving Him. No, it’s not cool to be “spat out” by Dad; that’s horrible. We repent from materialism, from close-mindedness, from spiritual ineptitude; we pursue Him, eternal and imperishable treasures, wisdom, and spiritual maturity. We repent from evil, unrighteousness, and ungodliness. We choose the good, right, and godly.

Fear and Justice

Isaiah 11:3   (KJV)   3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

This passage is commonly interpreted as a prophecy about the Lord Jesus. There are at least two things we can observe about His ways: He doesn’t struggle understanding the Isaiah 11.3 - Fear and Justiceconcept of fearing the LORD, and He judges not by outward appearances or factors alone.

It’s part of our growth into Christlikeness to fear the Lord. Those of us who understand His power and authority, His holiness, His justice and righteousness don’t find it difficult to comprehend why we need to fear Him.

Another Christlike attitude is being just and fair. And we do this by not being swayed by mere appearances. Some people are very good at wearing masks and telling lies. Yes, appearances can help, but there are other factors involved: things that aren’t obvious to our natural senses.

We continue living and growing in humble surrender before our heavenly Father Who is also God Almighty. It’s also a pleasure for us to continue living and growing in wisdom and discernment. It’s godly to be respectful, right, and fair.

No Offense

Matthew 17:27   (KJV)   27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Even our Lord Jesus wanted not to offend anyone. Even when He had to sacrifice His right, even when they had to exert extra effort, even when they had to spend what they did not have to,  Jesus willingly subjected Himself to all those just so that they don’t Matthew 17.27 - No Offenseoffend the authorities.  He lived a perfect life; He cared for His Name, He needed to conduct Himself perfectly well, but He didn’t do what He did just for all those; He truthfully cared for others.

We as His people do the same.  We exist for the pleasure of our God.  He deserves more than all we are, all we have, and all we can give Him.  The obvious truth is: we really can’t give Him anything.  But He gives us that wonderful privilege of still “giving” and “offering” to Him.  We want to follow His steps.  This is one of those.  Yes, we have rights and privileges.  We can impose on them, but there’s a better way.

It’s best to live in such a way that we don’t become a stumblingblock to others.  But there’s more.  We live in such a way that we don’t offend others.  This isn’t easy, but it’s in itself a privilege.  And it isn’t really hard for God’s children who lives empowered by the Creator Himself to do all we ought to do.  It takes much from us, but we’re willing.  It’s a pleasure to work more, spend more, and sacrifice more.  Why, because it’s our greatest pleasure to live for the pleasure of our Beloved.

Giving Yet Increasing

Isaiah 58:11   (KJV)   11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

God lovingly desires that we all spend eternity in His glorious presence. He wants us to have a wonderful eternal existence. He also wants us to be the best we can be; that’s why He has predestined us according to His foreknowledge to be conformed to the image of our isaiah-58-11-giving-yet-increasingLord Jesus. He also wants us to navigate through our journey correctly and safely. Praise God, He makes sure He’s with us, directing our every step and turn.

Our journey is one of love. We are tremendously loved, we love much as well. This isn’t a loss or something to feel sad about; it’s the most amazing life there is. There’s no life better than a life lived in love. We give a lot, we sacrifice a lot, but we’re never depleted. How can we? We have the infinite Source of all our provisions living in us. This is our very comforting assurance since the need around us is non-stop.

There are those who are in desperate need of help. Our eyes roam; our brains process; God’s voice whispers: all around us are the poor, the oppressed, and the rejected. To them, Christmas isn’t a season of joy; it’s a billboard showing them how badly life has dealt with them. As others are confused as to whether they’ll buy an elliptical machine or a leather jacket for a gift, the rest of them can’t even go to 99 Cents store.

We’re here for them; we willingly extend our hands and let go of our resources to uplift them. We don’t fear exhaustion and lack. At times, we feel like spinning tops—we go south, north, west, east—we get tired, our resources dwindle, but somehow, our strengths get renewed. We continue to run, and we’re not weary, we walk, and we don’t faint. We continue to give, and we continue to increase. We’re truly like well-watered gardens and continually flowing streams. There’s no natural explanation to this, but we live beyond the natural.

Our destiny is wonderfully glorious, so is our journey.

Beloved Children of God

1 John 3:2   (KJV)    2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

One of the greatest blessings in our relationship with God is us being adopted into His family as His very own children. Those of us who receive Him, who believe in His Name, He gave us this awesome right and honor of becoming His children. We have a true, living, 1-john-3-2-beloved-children-of-godloving Father-child relationship with God. This is something affirmed in us by His precious Holy Spirit. We now call Him Dad.

Because we have this saving belief, experience, and relationship with our Father, we’re assured of our eternal destiny: we will spend eternity in His presence, and our predestination will be fully realized: complete conformity to the image of our dear Lord Jesus. Right now we enjoy and celebrate our victories in growth. In this imperfect world where the prince of darkness still has widespread influence, we, though still sharing in this imperfection, though still struggling at times against temptations, though still failing and falling at times, look forward to our ultimate transformation. One day soon, we will see our precious Lord appear in the clouds, and we will be gloriously changed.

God wants us to draw ever closer to Him because He loves us truly, fully, unconditionally, and infinitely. We all turned away from him, went astray and got separated so far away from him. I can’t imagine how much we broke His heart. He did everything so He can bring us back. Through our precious Lord Jesus, we’re back. People don’t understand why we love Him; we don’t have to be forced, threatened, or coerced to pray, read His Word, fellowship with our spiritual family, and speak to others about Him. We enthusiastically and excitedly look forward to them. How can we not be? We and Dad—we love each other very much.