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.

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God is Good to All

Acts 14:17   (KJV)   Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”

Acts 14.17 - God's Goodness to AllGod is good–that’s His nature. His goodness isn’t selective; He’s good to those who know Him and to those who don’t.  Him giving rain, fruitful seasons, food, and gladness in everyone’s heart testify to this.

God’s love and goodness encompass all His creation. We don’t deny the huge differences between believers and unbelievers, but there are also huge similarities between them. We’re all created by God; we’re all sustained by Him; God wants us all saved; He loves all and is good to all.

People can be bad, but God is always good.  People change; God doesn’t. His nature isn’t dependent on the way people treat Him. We His children do the same. We love even those who treat us as their enemies; we give–we bless even those who despise us. And we do this with joy and peace in our hearts knowing full well that our value and worth don’t diminish just because of others trying to belittle us.

Giving and Receiving?

Luke 6:38   (KJV)   38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Clearly, giving and receiving, sowing and reaping are Scriptural principles. To remind ourselves again: our giving is motivated by love. We don’t give so we can receive. The Luke 6.38 - Giving and Receivingsowing part though? We don’t want to be hypocritical ever, but the truth though is: when farmers sow, it’s for the purpose of harvesting. I guess it’s not wrong to believe or anticipate harvest as long as love is our underlying motive in all we do.

Although this principle is often associated with material things, it goes way beyond that. This is true with other very important factors in Christian life. Because we believe it, it’s much easier to obey our precious Lord, even in His commands that the world sees as very unfair.

We sow love; we reap love. That’s right. That’s why we can love our enemies; that’s why we can do good even to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who hurt us. As we sow love, and blessing, good deeds, prayer, mercy, etc., we can expect to receive them in “harvest” measures. Remember, what we harvest is multiplied times greater than the seeds we sow.

Through this, our uniqueness shines brighter. We get to show our difference as children of the most High Who loves even the most rebellious among us.

Set in Stone

2 Timothy 2:19   (KJV)   19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

There are argumentable teachings in the Bible—teachings that aren’t so clear; Christians interpret them differently and take positions that are often diametrically in contradiction to each other. Don’t be alarmed; none of these teachings have to do with 2 Timothy 2.19 - Set in Stonesalvation or God in His nature or being. But there are teachings set in stone. Here are two of them: God knows those who belong to Him; those who belong to Him must depart from iniquity.

We believe in the omniscience of God; He doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to who are His and who aren’t, who are saved and who are lost. His part is covered perfectly well. He’s not negligent; He’s not forgetful; He won’t have any “oops” moment. Our part is our part. Although we’ve heard it often stated: “Christianity is not about rules; it’s not about dos and don’ts; we’re not under the Law,” this doesn’t mean we’re unruly and lawless.

We have a loving relationship with our Father; we also have a very respectful relationship with our God. Our Father is our God; our God is our Father; we love Him; we fear Him. We want to do the things He wants us to do because we love Him. But I’ll be honest. In our imperfection; we don’t always do things He wants us to do; that’s when we ought to do them even when we don’t feel like doing them. It’s settled; one of the things we want to do, we ought to do, and we must do, is to depart from—turn away from iniquity, unholiness, unrighteousness, evil, or ungodliness. Yes, whether we want to or not, we must.

 

God’s Goodness and Severity

Romans 11:22   (KJV)   22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

God is good and severe; God is loving and just; God is Father and Lord; God is gracious and holy; God is to be loved and feared. All facets of God’s nature are true; one ought to not be sacrificed for the other; one ought to not be rejected in preference of another. All Symbol of scales is made of stones on the cliffof them have to be embraced. I’ve observed so many people becoming very passionate about one of God’s natures and in doing so undermining the value of another, perhaps unawarely.

“Behold;” take a look; observe it; notice: God is both good and severe. He is loving, gentle, kind; He is also holy, stern, strict, serious. His Fatherhood is a good, balanced Fatherhood. He loves and disciplines. He doesn’t rear spoiled kingdom kids.  It’s clearly explicit: “on them which fell,” to those who live in disobedience, He is severe. That’s not birthed out of thoughtless and angry emotion or passion. That springs forth from His wisdom and patience.

On the other hand, “if thou continue in His goodness,” if we continue to live faithfully in the light of His goodness, He continues to pour out more goodness to us than we deserve. What God gives to us is always way more abundant than what our actions merit—He is gracious, that is. And it’s important that we heed these words soberly. He is more serious about it than how a lot of believers think and teach. If we fall and don’t stay down, if we don’t continue in His goodness, we “also”—which could mean it’s been true to others already—“shalt be cut off.”

Instead of being quick to interpret those words away to fit our emphasis on the doctrine of love and grace, my loving encouragement is that we please consider the severity of those words more than we probably have been willing to before. In the first place, our loving and gracious God included them in His recorded Words for loving and gracious reasons. He’s not hating on us in recording those words.

Transformed Hearts

Romans 2:29   (KJV)   29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. That’s a saying we’ve probably heard many times, but its truthfulness can’t be ignored. It’s not that outside appearances aren’t important to God, it’s that He knows that the true nature of a person is found and comes Romans 2.29 - Transformed Heartsfrom the heart. The heart is the wellspring of life. Our words and actions, whether they be good or evil, are just natural external expressions of what’s abundantly stored within us.

Obedience is good, good works are that—good, but it’s obviously possible for people to obey and do good things externally—as great pretenders.  To do good, even when forced, for the purpose of helping others has some merits, but doing good for the purpose of deceiving others is reprehensible. It’s possible to have a heart that really desires to worship, serve, and obey God—a heart that sincerely desires to do good to others. It’s a heart changed by God’s Spirit.

One of the best evidences of a Spirit-transformed heart is that it’s “praise is not of men, but of God.”  For us, living good, upright, and godly lives isn’t to impress people but to bring their attention to the Him Who made us new creations as we shine our lights. He deserves our full surrender and obedience.  The truth is: He deserves everything we are and everything we have.  More so, He deserves infinitely more than everything we all are and everything we all have.  We see perfect sense in giving Him no less than our all and our best.

Goodness and Mercy

Psalm 23:6   (KJV)   6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

psalm-23-6-goodness-and-mercyCan we really believe this? Do we really believe this? As believers, we can and we do. This is one of the most reassuring and comforting statements in God’s Word. This single Psalm alone shows blessings upon blessing that no one else but God alone gives. Provision, rest, peace, forgiveness, guidance, courage, companionship, comfort, feast, protection, anointing, etc—where else can we get them? What can compare with them?

With all these—and more, it explains why we enjoy life to the fullest.  We know, despite all turmoil all around us, God’s goodness and mercy—His unfailing love will always be in our lives.