What Fruits do you bear?
Matthew 7:20 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Once we are born again, and are given a new nature….a battle begins within us:
The old nature (our self-life), and our new nature (the life of God within us); start to battle back and forth for control of our actions, our thoughts, our emotions…
….which involve our reactions (how easy it is to do the things we have always done).
Frankly, we have lived in the soul’s sphere all our lives…..
…we think things out….
…we react from our emotions…
…we will to do what we want, if we are not stopped by some outside force.
This has been our life.
And our self-life does not stop wanting to “tell us what to do”, after we are born again.
James 4:1 “From whence comes wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”
(Lust is: I want this, and I want this now….whether in thought, or action.)
Ephesians 5:24 “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
“Crucified” has to do with the cross….our cross, which Jesus invites us to “deny ourselves, and pick up”. (Matthew 16:24)
Our souls must be brought into subjection to the new nature….which is from God…by our wills, willing with God.
Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling:”
And in this, God requires us to submit to the inworking of the Holy Spirit…..Who guides us into righteousness, and works within us to will after God’s good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
It is yielding, again and again….to the Holy Spirit….till it becomes the heart-beat of our lives, to yield.
For it starts as a matter of the will, willing….and becomes a matter of the whole being….mind, heart and will…giving place to the blessed Holy Spirit.
This yielding, works new characteristics within us, to replace the old attitudes and actions which we set aside.
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Now these set forth what the Holy Spirit will work within us….
…and He begins with love.
I think this is most blessed, because in ourselves, we love the wrong things.
But in Christ, we are taught the important things of life….and learn to will to love them.
(I have said this before, that “agape”, or Christian love is not emotion…although certainly we feel it.
But it is the willed tendency of the heart to devote ourselves to Christ Jesus.
Jesus Christ always forces a choice of the will….
…..never does He say, “Well, if you feel like it….you should follow Me.” Or. “If you think this is a good idea, then follow Me.”
No, it is…..”If any man, woman, boy, or girl will,…then follow Me.”)
So, when we are born again, the Holy Spirit shows us the beauty of Christ, and says, “Will you love Him?”
When we will, then the Holy Spirit opens up our hearts to receive….and to give love…”agape”….both to Christ and to our fellow Christians.
He places it within us, and says….”work it out”….obey Him.
Then there is joy: joy is the felt presence of God in my life….it comes in any circumstances…and lifts us up, to the fullness of life, in Him…at that time.
Then there is peace. Peace gives rest….and rest of soul (mind, heart, and will) is strength, for it gives us knowledge that God is our Fortress….now. (Philippians 4:7, Psalm 18:1-2)
Then there is long-suffering…waiting for others, remembering how God has waited for us.
goodness,…acting right toward others.
faith,…keeping God in front of us in all circumstances.
meekness….seeing ourselves the way we are before God.
…all of these characteristics of Christ are worked within our personalities by us yielding to the Holy Spirit within.
They build on one another….each supplying in our personalities a strength….so that we can use all the grace God gives.
Are we bearing these fruits?