I am not perfect; I am human, born into a life and world of sin; who has heart issues that need handled just like everyone. And just like everyone, I have tough situations that try to drag me down. I get overwhelmed about things in life, and sometimes my true colors look ugly. BUT… In accepting Jesus as my savior, I gave my life over to Him to be changed, renewed, and to be made pure and holy.
I believe that God is the lifter of my head and the healer of my heart. He carries my burdens and purifies my soul. What then do I have to cling to in fear, sadness, discontent, despair, hurt, bitterness, rage, jealousy, envy, or anything else that I should be handing over to God? My prayer is for my heart to be put in check when I have any inkling of becoming “the bad company”. I don’t want to just know who I should be and try really hard to be like Jesus; I want my heart to be filled with the fruits of the Spirit. That my life would be proof of the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit living in me, and working through me. And I want to bear fruit, and infect those around me.
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
We are the branches. We are the shoots that grow out of the vine, and if we have truly accepted Jesus as our Savior our lives will be changed, and fruit is inevitable. The Holy Spirit works on our hearts and brings a change that we cannot do in our own strength. However, we are flesh. Our fleshly desires are different from the Spirit, and we have the freedom of choice. We can give in to our own desires, or we can choose what is better and be changed even more because of it.
Galatians 5:16-17 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
There will be some struggles against what the Spirit is trying to do in us, but this is where “remaining in Him” comes in. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, at that moment, we have all of Him. There can be immediate changes in our hearts. But over time, we are even more changed, renewed, and filled with revelations of who God is.
Part of the change in us is the desire to seek and know God. So we read our Bibles and we pray. We see Him work things together in our lives through trials, and we see the beauty of His creation and love all around us. Because of the Holy Spirit living in us, our eyes are open to see things more and more the way God sees them. There are so many ways we learn who God is, and so it feels like more of God, but it’s really the changes in us that help us grow closer to Him, knowing and loving Him more and more.
God doesn’t leave us, but we can choose to not remain in Him. In doing that, we pull ourselves away from hearing, seeing, and knowing Him greater. We must remain in Him.
Whether we choose to walk by the Spirit or gratify the desires of our flesh, our fruits will be evident.
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
If I’m professing that Christ is in me but I’m living my days complaining and bitter about life and my tough situations; treating people harsh and unkind; worried more about self-service than serving the good of others… You better believe someone else is going to feel the repercussions of this blackness living inside of me. And those around me who don’t know God are going to question and judge Christianity based on the way I live my life. Are my fruits nourishing and life-bearing, or are they rotten and disease ridden?
Proverbs 4:23 says Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Everything that we do flows from what resonates in our hearts. But what flows from us if we are not focusing on who God wants us to be, and says we should be? The very opposite of what the fruit of the Holy Spirit produces in us. It doesn’t matter if we are Christians or not, we live in a world full of instant gratification and self service. We must guard our hearts. There will always be a battle within us to give in to our flesh or to walk in the Spirit of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
As we grow and mature, becoming more like Christ, He will continue to prune us. These sinful desires, acts, and traits will be trimmed from us so that we can be more and more fruitful.
1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
And in saying that, I want to also say we are all born into sin; we all need pruned and refined. Each one of us moves at a different pace; traveling through a different journey. We are all refined in the order in which God knows is best. So as we put the ways of childhood behind us, let’s…
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Because we don’t really know the extent of what another person is dealing with. Only God knows. So while we are being refined, let’s not judge each other thinking that we are better, and let’s not compare ourselves wondering why we aren’t measuring up to others. The way we treat each other is one way our fruits manifest themselves. Ultimately all the fruits point to love, because God is love. The theme of God’s great love is redemption and reconciliation for all people. So without love, we are useless; we are nothing, and have nothing of value. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Let’s reveal His love through the grace that we give.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Of all the fruits of the Spirit, love is the most important. Because without love, the joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control cannot exist. Let’s chose love today, and let’s chose to NOT gratify the desires of our flesh but to walk in the Spirit and choose what is pure and holy today and each day!
Lord, You are perfect in all of Your ways. You are everlasting and unchanging. You are love and all things good and holy. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I choose You because you first chose me. I am eternally grateful and I owe my life to You, and I live to serve You in spirit and in truth. All Your ways are just, oh Lord! I offer my life to You to be transformed into Your image of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Do what You see fit to change this heart and make it beautiful. I am just a lump of clay. Mold me, shape me, reform me, make me solid and unbreakable. I love you Lord, help me to trust You with each area of my life, and to trust that You know best even if I don’t understand. As I become more like You, I ask that those around me will come to know who You are. Help me to be a branch that bears much fruit! I am Yours for eternity. I long for Your perfect will and way in my life. Amen.