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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New Hearts

Matthew 15:18   (KJV)   18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Matters of the heart matters more than the physical. They affect us in more significant and more crucial ways.

The words we honestly speak spring from deep within us. Depending on the condition of our hearts, the kinds of words coming out reflect them. The Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Matthew 15.18 - New HeartsThat’s why although we hear it often, it’s not always wise to say “Just listen to your heart,” or “Just follow your heart.” Unregenerate hearts from unsaved world often come up with very wrong advice.

We praise God for changing our hearts. Instead of hearts of stone—hard hearts unwilling to listen to God’s Word and God’s Spirit, He gave us hearts of flesh—soft hearts—longingly, lovingly hungering, expectant of, and pursuing Him, His Kingdom, His Word, and His will. We’re more concerned about these hearts of ours and the issues flowing from them compared to the physical stuff we stuff our physical bodies with.

Don’t get me wrong; we don’t deny the importance of our physical bodies and the honor our Lord Jesus has bestowed on them. We are the temples of the precious Holy Spirit. We recognize and realize the importance of good diet and exercise. Over-eating is still something to avoid, although I admit, I need more discipline in that. Gluttony may be a more convicting term than over-eating.

We can desecrate this temple. But what defiles this temple are not the kinds of food we eat but the kinds of words coming out of our lips; the kinds of thoughts we think with our brains, and the kinds of actions we engage in with our bodies. Immorality—these kinds of acts of our bodies defile us. But all these ultimately spring from deep within us. We take care of  our hearts; everything else flows from there. Our hearts belong to Him; that’s the big difference.

Just One Righteous

Jeremiah 5:1   (KJV)   5 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

The presence of God’s people—upright, righteous, just and honest people can stay God’s Jeremiah 5.1 - Just One Righteousjudgment. God values the attitudes and actions of His people. Living for faithfully before God is never in vain.

We know God is just and fair. He sees everything we do. He sees and values the way we fight a good fight, how well we run our race, how we keep the faith. He knows how to bless and reward His faithful children. These blessings and rewards affect us individually, even nationally.

We never lose sight of God’s justice, graciousness, and love. He loves us, He will also judge everyone. He would rather spare us and bless us than judge, condemn, and punish us. So we live in Him, against the ways of the popular culture, against the sinful ways of the world. We strive to be as faithful as we can, reflecting our Father, loving others, treating them fairly, and honestly. Although the world continues to boldly and shamelessly march in unreserved ungodliness and immorality, we keep ourselves pure.

There’s so much at stake. Who knows, through us, though there be just a few, our gracious Judge may find it in His heart to spare our nations. We may be the remnant through whom God will ignite our nation’s spiritual awakening and revival. By then, we can boldly pray: “God bless America,” or “God bless our nation.”

Adviser to the Wise

1 Kings 4:5  (KJV)   And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king’s friend:

1 Kings 4:5  (NIV)   Azariah son of Nathan—in charge of the district governors; Zabud son of Nathan—a priest and adviser to the king;

Ironically, Solomon, considered the wisest king who ever lived had an adviser. The adviser may very well have been a true friend to him, someone who cared for him, who would have been honest with him, who would have been concerned about his welfare. This was not someone who would be there to flatter him so that he could be closer to the king; they were already friends.

We can all learn from others. A king or a leader who learns from others shows a lot of security, maturity, humility, and real wisdom. The person of highest position or greatest knowledge or wisdom still doesn’t know it all. Even the label “know-it-all” can work both as a compliment or an insult.  Either way, it’s not literal. No one really knows it all (unless we’re God – and we’re not). Let’s glean wisdom from others. Let us be open to greater avenues of learning.

We ought to ask God for wisdom and discernment that we may recognize who the people are who really means the best for us – not for themselves. There are people who are obviously anti-us. There are people who are obvious enemies despite our goodness to them. But there are also people who know how to flow with the wind. This can be good. They can ride the tide for their own benefit. That can be good too. But there are those who will be there, going along, just for their own satisfaction, and won’t hesitate hurting others to get what they want. Let’s be careful.

Dear God, we praise You for Your Omniscience. If there’s anyone Who really knows it all, it’s You. We however, are not. Please remind us to be teachable always. Please lead us to the right people to listen to – divine connections – those who You have designed to pour into us important substances that will help us effectively navigate through our journey, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Clear Conscience?

1 Corinthians 4:4  (KJV)   For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord

Ignorance doesn’t mean innocence. Absence of knowledge doesn’t mean absence of guilt. Conscience is a good judge, but it isn’t the ultimate judge. People aren’t always aware of everything they do right or everything they do wrong. God is still the One Who knows everything; He is the ultimate Judge.

We can be wrong – even in judging ourselves. Naturally, we want to perceive ourselves almost always in a better light. The more so in the way we want to portray ourselves to others. We always want to display the best picture of ourselves. That’s perfectly understandable. Even many of those who make faces – I mean ugly faces on their photos often do it to cover up what they perceive as unattractive about themselves. So when it comes to self-evaluation or self assessment, we really ought to not have any room for pride. I’m not being cruel or self-esteem suicidal here; I’m just being realistic. Yes, we ought to always try our best to make the most truthful assessment of who we are. But after all that, we still fall short. We don’t really know ourselves as much as we ought to. Given, if we’re honest enough, we know ourselves more than any other human being. But God will always know us better. What He sees is definitely different and more detailed than what we see. Remember: He knows the very numbers of our hairs. Let’s not even try start counting. Let’s just humbly admit: He knows best; He alone can judge totally fairly.

Our dear God – the only true just and faithful Judge, we humbly submit ourselves to You. Please help us to get rid of our pride, to learn humility and to always live it. Help us to accept the truth that we don’t really know ourselves as much as You do, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.