Fruit like Jesus!
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “the normal Christian life”? There are a number of different pictures you could have. You may be thinking of love, and yes, it certainly includes love. Or maybe you’re thinking about the supernatural; miracles, signs and wonders? The normal Christian life certainly includes that as well as provision, peace, joy and more. Something we don ‘t usually consider is persecution which is also part of the normal Christian life.
There are two main areas that I want to focus on in living the normal Christian life: the character or nature of Christ and the power or ability of Christ, both of which operate together. Let’s talk about character for a moment. Living like a believer is about living like Jesus.
1 John 4:17b New King James Version (NKJV)
…as He is, so are we in this world.
As Jesus is, so are we right now. As believers, we are 100% identical to Jesus! The moment you received Jesus and became a Christian you became like Him. Now, you may not be acting like Him in your in all of your actions and emotions, but in your spirit, you are just like Jesus! 1 Thessalonians 5:23 shows us that we are made up of a spirit, soul and a body. You’re not just what you see and you’re not just what you feel; there’s a deeper part of you that can only be seen through God’s Word and this is the part of you which got born again – your spirit! You may not always think like God or act like Him, but that doesn’t change who you are in the spirit. You are not thinking like a believer when you are not thinking Word of God minded and you’re not acting like Jesus when you’re not acting in accordance with the Word or other than the way Jesus would act in a situation. Sometimes we’re not as loving as we should be, and that just shows us that in our actions and in our emotions we are not always living like Jesus, but in the spirit we are 100% like Jesus, 100% of the time! Our holiness and power that is in our spirits never fluctuates. It’s consistent. We experience in in varying degrees in proportion to our faith. We live like believers when we start to live from the spirit – in accordance with who we are in the spirit. We should not allow the soul and body dominate our spirits. When we renew our minds to who we are in the spirit and what we have inside of us, and then we start to live according to that, then we start living in victory!
Galatians 5:16 New King James Version (NKJV)
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Paul is writing to Christians. This means that Christians don’t automatically walk in the spirit. You can be a Christian and indulge in the flesh (many of you know what I’m talking about) but as believers, we should be walking in the spirit, and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh. Living in the spirit is not merely walking around praying in tongues all the time (even though there would be a benefit to that), walking in the spirit is simply walking in accordance with who you are in the spirit.
Galatians 5:19-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
That’s saying that if you live like this you will not enjoy God’s rule over you; you’re not going to enjoy God’s Kingdom benefits now on earth (the abundant life). If you’re indulging in these works of the flesh it doesn’t mean that you’re not a Christian, it just means that you are a Christian who hasn’t renewed their mind and you’re missing out on so much!
Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control…
This fruit is inside your spirit. You cannot produce it consistently independent of your born-again spirit. The fruit of the spirit is a natural byproduct of being born again; this is a natural byproduct of who you are in Christ. In your spirit you’ve got perfect love, perfect joy, perfect peace, perfect patience or long-suffering, perfect kindness, perfect goodness, perfect faithfulness, perfect gentleness and perfect self-control. That’s what you have in your spirit but you need to choose to walk in the spirit. Now the problem is that a lot of the time we think that the fruit of the spirit is something that we need to produce, but once again, it says that this is a fruit of the spirit. The spirit produces this, you don’t. You simply choose it, release it or allow it to come out! The Holy Spirit in you produces the fruit out of you in proportion to the degree that you surrender to the spirit. When you start to change your way of thinking and start to think according to God’s Word (see as God sees) then all the fruit of the spirit will start to effortlessly manifest out of your heart and into your life! This is the normal Christian life: effortless fruit! It’s not about you striving to be fruitful. You never hear an apple tree pushing and travailing to get fruit – no! Fruit is the natural byproduct of identity; fruit is the byproduct of who you are! If you just surrender and submit to the spirit then you’re going to see fruitfulness come out of you; then you’re going to start to see love starting to ooze out of you and joy starting to be your default. And yes, you’ll have opportunities to have a flash-flash from time to time and be tempted to indulge in the lusts of the flesh, but in those moments because you are renewing your mind, you can rise up and say, “no”, because you know that it’s not who you are anymore! You’re choosing to walk in the spirit. You’re choosing to walk in love. You’re choosing to live like Jesus!
February 21, 2020
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February 19, 2020