Tag Archives: Fruit of the Spirit

Don’t Fall for the Facts

“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are you the coming One or do we look for another?”

That John the Baptist sent disciples to Jesus to ask him if He was the Messiah is quite astonishing considering that (1) he (John) was the forerunner who told everybody about Jesus (2) baptized Him, and (3) saw the heavens up and heard the voice the proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God.

That John – that man who Jesus called the greatest man to ever live – doubted the identity of Jesus tells us that the people must have had some credibility with John and or were very convincing. It also teaches us that we must be careful to examine what we are told before we allow ourselves to internalize it – to let what may be facts become truth to us.

The folks who spoke to John I am sure came as angels of light. ‘Oh John, we don’t want you to think of us as tattle tales, but we  must tell you that you have been bamboozled. He is not who you think He is. It pains us to tell you this but we must tell you nonetheless for we care about you and we don’t want you to spend time in jail. Why should you die in part because of your allegiance to this phony fellow’, they must have said. Then they proceeded to tell him some carefully chosen facts.

Now why did they present only a few facts? It is either because they ‘loved’ John or because they hated Jesus. Either way, they wanted to get their own way!

For whatever reason, instead of seeing the wonderful things that were happening through Jesus – the deaf hearing, blind receiving sight, demons being cast out and much more – they were more concerned that he hung around with tax collectors and sinners. In other words, they were more concerned about holding onto their laws than giving their life to people (selfishness versus selflessness)!

They cared more about when he decided to heal (whether on the Sabbath or not) than that people were getting healed. They even paid attention to what he ate and what he drank. In other words, they were busybodies instead of staying busy helping everybody!

Check out what Jesus says about these folks (Matthew 11:18-19 paraphrase): They accused John of having a demon when he decided not to eat and drink. Yet when I eat and drink, they accuse me of being a glutton and being a drunk! But wisdom is justified by her children.

What Jesus is doing here is warning us of people that (1) you can’t satisfy (2) have preconceived notions in their head about the way things ought to be (2) only see what they want to see (3) want people to fit into a bubble that they construct for them so they feel secure (4) are very resistant to change (something different) even if it is good (5) want to keep a hold of traditions that worked before but have now outlived their usefulness (6) are blinded by the futility of their own thinking (7) have their own agenda.

Since we won’t necessarily know when people are behaving out of such a heart (for we can all be guilty of being like those who went to John), this passage of scripture in Matthew gives us 3 things to always do when we are hear something about someone that we are not sure fits.

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Pray: In a spiritual sense, what John did by sending his disciples to have a chat with Jesus about it was pray. When you are hearing all sorts of slander about someone, the first thing you need to do is go to Jesus and ask Him about it. Ofcourse in the case of John, that person was Jesus.

Examine the Person’s life: Jesus said in response to the people that were accusing of everything that ‘wisdom is justified by her children’. Moreover, he told John’s disciples to give him a report of the wonderful things that were happening. Friends, wisdom always gives birth to the fruit of the Spirit and achieves good, both in the life of the wise and the lives of people the wise touch.

Ask the Person: After praying and examining the person’s life, the next thing to do is ask the person (if needed). John did not guess at it when he could not corroborate or deny the words of those that spoke to him. He went straight to the accused.

Note: John was unable to truly examine the character of Jesus’ life for he had been thrown in prison. That’s why I believe he asked

———————————————————————-Friend, if you are unsure about Jesus, instead of asking everyone else about their opinion of Him, how about asking Him to reveal Himself to you? It will save you a ton of confusion and wasted time.

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Who Has Stolen the Glory of God?

It is not unusual to hear the words, I give God all the glory, honor, and praise when a person is giving their testimony or a praise report. It is not unusual to hear the same words when in the middle of singing worship songs during service!

Today, we seem to think that giving God praise and saying thank you to Him is the same as giving him glory. We think that it glorifies the father when we scream and shout of God’s goodness. We think we have glorified God when we proclaim how worthy, powerful, and deserving he is. We think we can honor him with the word of our lips.

But Jesus tells us clearly that it is the fruit of our lives that brings God glory. It is by our fruit that people know that we are His disciples (His followers).

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” – John 15:8

Our lives must produce the fruit of the Spirit; the fruit of love, joy, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, patience, goodness, and self-control if we are to bring glory to God. We cannot say we are bringing glory to God if we are not walking in love, if we are worry-wort’s, if we have no joy but walk around in a bad mood, if we are snappy, and can’t control ourselves.

The way we get the fruit of righteousness (of being in right-standing with God through the sacrifice of Jesus), is by walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

Apostle Paul puts it this way:

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit – Galatians 5:25

Moreover, Jesus says that those who abide in Him will bear much fruit (John 15:4). By this we know that those who are walking in the Spirit are the ones that are abiding in Jesus.

If you are a believer, the question of bring glory to God is not a question of whether Jesus is abiding in you, it is a question of if you are abiding in Him. It is not a question of if you are righteous, it is a question of whether you are walking in righteousness…it is not a question of if you are a convert, it is question of if you are a follower (disciple).

Things will change in our lives when we give God His glory by abiding in Him and fully surrendering to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. This is when we will experience the fullness of His victory in our lives – not just his mercy but his favor and power alike.

God has honored us by granting us His Holy Spirit. We should honor Him by allowing the Spirit of God to lead us in life.

So where is God’s glory? If we are not seeing His glory, it is because we have turned our face away from Him. It is because we have ceased to love Him. It is because we have neglected the leadership of the Holy Spirit of power… in our pride and arrogance.

Conversely, there is victory, love, and life where the glory of God is present.

Food for Thought: I must abide in Jesus if I want to see His glory.

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Breathe In God (Part II) – New Testament

Sever yourselves from such a man whose breath is in his nostrils for of what account is he? – Isaiah 2:22

The process of getting saved through confession and belief (see Romans 10:9) in punctuated by Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit into us –  just as He breathed the Holy Spirit into His disciples (see John 20:22). He not only does this upon confession but then He seals His Spirit within us by the power of his death and resurrection – so that we can no longer die spiritually. In a repeat of what happened in the beginning when Adam was formed (see Genesis 2:7), Jesus again breathes the breath of life into man – so that we are born again. Again, this new birth through the breath of the Holy Spirit embedded deeply hidden within us and is covered with the blood of Jesus so that nothing foul or evil can penetrate. This time around (unlike in the time of Adam), the breath of life cannot escape, be corrupted, or be extinguished.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: New Birth (salvation) ensures that we no longer need a respirator to breath but can live on the breath within us (the Holy Spirit)

Whereas once before, Satan used to enjoy us breathing from within for it was the breath of death, now all he tries to do is suffocate the breath in us. He no longer wants us to inhale deeply so as to draw out and unleash the breath of life (the power of the Holy Spirit) into the world. Rather, he wants us to breathe out only what the world tries to introduce into our nostrils. Instead of taking deep breaths from within, he wants us to breathe out from our nostrils what has entered into our nostrils. If you have ever tried to breathe from you nostrils, you know that it feels much like suffocating – for it is not from within.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: If we do not tap into the Spirit of God within us, then we suffocate and die to the life inherent in God

Now, the only thing palatable to breathe from the outside is the word of God through our sensory organs. When the word of God enters through our nostrils and goes into our Spirit, it agrees with the Spirit and produces the power of God that we may breathe out and impart onto the world. Should we simply stop at breathing in the word of God into our nostril without inhaling deeply so it reaches the Spirit, then the word that we breathe out is powerless for it has not been touched by the Holy Spirit. Hence, we have to make sure we breathe in deeply in order to experience the goodness and power of God in our lives.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Anything we breathe into our nostrils that is not the word of God is the breath of corruption from the outside world.

To summarize, this discussion is only reiterating what the Apostle Paul says when he implores us to walk in the Spirit that we have received (see Galatians 5:25). In other words, Paul is saying that if we have received the breath of life (the Holy Spirit), we must tap into that Spirit by breathing deeply so that we may exhale (produce) the life and goodness inherent in the Spirit of God (see Galatians 5:22). Furthermore, we must breathe in the word of God deeply if it is to have any power and produce any fruit in our lives.

Thus, Isaiah 2:22 for the born again believer is really saying this: Sever yourself from that person who has the Spirit of God but refuses to walk in the Spirit for he is only fulfilling the desires of the flesh – fornication, lewdness, and so forth (see Galatians 5:19)

Food for Thought: Just as there is no point owning treasure we can never reach, it does no good having the Holy Spirit here on earth if we do not walk in the Spirit.

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Unequally Yoked – So you think you are marrying a believer!

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” – Romans 8:14

Paul makes it clear that it is not enough to have the spirit of God, but that we have to be led by the Spirit. He further implores us not only to live in the spirit but to walk in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25) for it is those of us that walk in the Spirit that do not fulfill the desires of the flesh and are able to produce the fruit of the Spirit.

To be led, we have to hear from our leader (God). Now, it is impossible to be led without studying and meditating on the Word of God, for the bible tells us that hearing comes by the Word. Actually, the whole verse tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word. Therefore, it is hearing that grants us faith (trust and belief) to obey (walk or be led) by the Spirit. Since it is simply not possible to be Holy Spirit led without having faith in God (Jesus Christ), we ought not to be mocked in the these two things:

  • It is only those who have faith in Jesus Christ that can receive and be led by the Holy Spirit (God)
  • It is our faith walk that makes us a child of God – it is what makes us a believer

The second bullet point elevates and challenges our thinking on what Paul means when he tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. He is telling us not to be married to someone who is not walking in faith. He puts it this way:

“And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever” – 2 Corinthians 6:15

When I first read this, I thought Paul was unnecessarily harsh or perhaps going off the deep-end a little. I thought to myself: Paul, you are comparing an unbeliever to Belial! Seriously!  Then it dawned on me that the only way to identify a true believer is a person’s faith walk. I stumbled upon this realization as I began to unravel what Belial (evil spirit/devil/demon) is able to do. Since no one would call Belial a believer, there must be something that separates believers from him. That something is faith! To bolster this assertion, here are some interesting facts about Belial.

Belial believes that Jesus is Lord

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble!” – James 2:19

The devil and demons have no problem believing that Jesus is Lord (see Matthew 8:29) for they know it fully well. After all, they were cast away or separated from God because of rebellion. Satan was disobedient (rebelled) because he did not love God. How do we know he did not love God? We know because the scriptures tell us that those who love God keep and obey His commandments (see John 14:21). Since genuine faith works through love (see Galatians 5:6), we know the Satan and the rest of his rebellious crew (demons) also did not have faith! If demons had faith, they would not tremble (fear) at the name of Jesus, for there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18). But they do not have faith or love, so they operate in fear.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A believer is not just someone who believes that Jesus is Lord but walks in faith and produces faith-based work. Since genuine faith grows out of love, the walk (life) and work (actions) of a true believer is steeped in love.

Belial knows the scriptures

“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”” – Matthew 4:6

This is the devil quoting scripture to Jesus.What impudence! But it does show that the devil knows scripture and is able to quote it – probably better than we can and at will. Hence, the knowledge of scripture itself is not the mark of a believer. If it were, then we would be unable to distinguish a believer from the devil! Without the Holy Spirit to guide us and to lead us aright, we only apply the scripture erroneously and for our selfish gain –just like Satan tried with Jesus.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A person who is filled with the knowledge of the Word of God is nothing but an historian if that knowledge does not produce faith (which is only possible through the Holy Spirit).  The scripture to a person without faith is simply a history book. Hence the ability to quote and recall scripture does not prove a believer.

Belial can exhibit “spiritual” gifts

Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour” – Acts 16:16 – 18

The slave girl had the gift to tell the future – a gift of prophesy so to speak! Yet it turns out that she was possessed with an evil spirit. It is also very interesting that although demon-possessed, she was helping to spread the gospel! It just goes to show that not everyone who is proclaiming the gospel is of God. This exemplifies why the bible warns us about false prophets and warns us in the last days not to be fooled by those that perform mighty works.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: The ability to exhibit “spiritual” gifts does not prove the believer as the gift may be from ungodly spirits working in that individual.

Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” – Matthew 7:22 – 23

Belial obeys God – but in fear

“And He said to them, “Go.” And when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine…” – Matthew 8:32

The demons obey the voice of God when He speaks to them. Hallelujah! The difference between the obedience of a believer and that of demons is this: The obedience of evil spirits does not come out of love (and hence faith) but instead comes out of fear. See, faith and fear are the polar opposites of each other, but both require that we believe something that is yet to be. Both faith and fear can produce obedience – fear produce obedience based on consequences; faith produces obedience based on love.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Faith released outside of the realm of love is fear in disguise.

Spot a Believer

So, if believing that Jesus is Lord, reading and knowing the scripture, preaching the Word, exhibiting spiritual gifts, and Pharisaical obedience to the law are not full proof ways to spot a believer, then how can we spot believers? How can we tell if someone is walking in faith?

The answer is simply this: By their fruits you shall know them (see Mathew 7:20). A person who walks in faith also walks in the Spirit for it is the Spirit of God that grows our faith as we spend time in His Word. Anyone who truly walks in the Spirit produces the spiritual fruit of love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

No one can fake these fruits. An impatient person cannot simply become patient at will. A selfish person will not be joyful because selfishness produces dissatisfaction or perennial unhappiness. A person who cannot control their tongue will not all of a sudden be able to master their tongue. These fruits cannot be faked because what we produce comes from who we are and what is in our hearts rather than what we do (obey, preach the Word…).

A person who is truly in Christ produces the fruit of the Spirit along with the works (read the bible, preach the Word…)

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A true believer walks in faith and therefore produces spiritual fruit. If we do not see spiritual fruits, then we see a counterfeit believer. Whatever else they do should not impress us much!

Food for thought: We cannot believe in God and not produce love for He is love.

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