A “Special” Part of the Fruit

Every part of this God-created fruit is evident in the one we focus on today: “goodness.” Ephesians 2:10 informs the child of God that he or she is created unto good works. That is what this “goodness” is all about. If we saw fruit that was all gray, we might be inclined to reject it. On the other hand, if it has eye appeal; if it looks like it might be really tasty, we might be tempted to take a bite. “Gentleness” (kindness-see yesterday) and “goodness” are what gives God’s fruit its tempting look. There are more than a few people moved by authentic Christianity. God uses Spiritually fruitful Christians to get people’s attention. This is why Jesus said: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Love, joy, peace, patience, generates gentleness (kindness) and goodness. Jesus taught that we are known by our fruit. Let our prayer be that of Albert Orsborn in his hymn, “Let the Beauty of Jesus.” He prayed: “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all His wonderful passion and purity;  O Thou Savior divine, All my nature refine, till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.” Selah! We are not saved by goodness but, when we truly know Jesus as Lord and Savior, He will produce the fruit of goodness in our lives for all to see. Some will want to enjoy His fruit.   Ron

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Here’s the Next Part of This Amazing Fruit

Add to love, joy, peace and patience: “Gentleness.” Does this mean that we are to be “softies?” No! In fact, it requires a special kind of strength. The basic thought seems to be that we should be kind to people. Perhaps you are thinking that that is not hard to do. You would be right, if you are talking about likeable people, nice people. When we think of being kind to obnoxious people, ignorant people, mean people, immoral people, it requires Divine strength. Paul was inspired to give this order to the church at Rome (and to each of us who are born again): “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Often, we are asked that if we are kind to sinful people, are we not condoning the “wrong” in people. This kind of reasoning comes from failure to understand that we can be firm and kind at the same time. We can take a firm stand in a kind way. We can call sin, sin! At the same time, we can be kind to the one sinning. Responding in kindness to the one sinning may make this person open to a Godly appeal to come to Jesus. In any event, God was kind to us, when we were enemies. “Recue the Perishing,” by Fanny Crosby, contains a stanza that speaks eloquently to today’s subject: “Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, feelings lie buried that grace can restore; touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,  chords that are broken will vibrate once more.” Selah! This fruit is becoming more and more exciting; only God could produce a fruit that has all these qualities and is so satisfying.  Ron

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The Next Part Develops

This part of the fruit would never develop without the first three parts developing first. When we are loved like God loves us; when we respond with love to Him; when we know the joy that is so great, that only God could be the source of it; when we who are often stressed begin to have deep peace in adversities, then we are able to be patient. Sadness, lack of peace, and stress, are usually experienced because of something that we can’t control. When we learn to rest in His loving control, our patience has begun. Instead of trusting our loving God’s timing, we want what we want-NOW, or very soon. When we can’t have it, impatience occurs. Have we forgotten the Truth found in Romans 5:3 which states: “….we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience?” Are we ignoring Psalm 37:7a which gives us these inspired commands: “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him.”  When we learn to trust His Love, wisdom and timing, we find that we can relax and wait patiently, even in severe trials. Trusting during trials purifies our faith! Consider these wise words from Warren W. Wiersbe: “When God permits His children to go through the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat. His loving heart knows how much and how long.” (I Peter 1:6-7). “Tried for a season, Pure for eternity!” In the hymn, “How Firm a foundation.” (authorship uncertain) we find these insightful thoughts: “When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, My grace all-sufficient shall be your supply; the flame shall not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.” Selah! Enjoy the fruit that we have discussed in these articles, so far. With the Holy Spirit constantly filling us, the availability is being maintained!   Ron “

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing(James 1:4).

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The Next Part of the Fruit

To this wonderful fruit is added something that is beyond our understanding. See if you can pick it out in this verse: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). You’re right! It’s the peace of God. If you have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you have experienced peace with God. That has to happen before you can enjoy the peace of God. But, you might say, “I am at peace right now.” We do have a certain peace inside when things are going well. What about times of trouble, trials, fear, worry, danger, etc.? If we have come to love God, our Savior; if we are filled with Joy in and for our relationship with Him; If we trust, unconditionally, His love, watchcare and protection, we can know peace in the midst of the most stressful situation that we can experience in life. Whatever our “fiery furnace” may be, there is “One” right there beside us, bringing His comfort, and guiding us to deliverance. Sometimes that deliverance may be Heaven! Is that so bad? Perfect peace forever! But He may, and often does, deliver us here and now. Trusting Him completely brings a deep, settled peace in our souls, even while we are hurting. John S. Brown in his hymn, “Hidden Peace,” expresses his enjoyment of that wonderful peace: “I cannot tell thee whence it came, this peace within my breast; but this I know, there fills my soul a strange and tranquil rest. Beneath the toil and care of life, this hidden stream flows on; my weary soul no longer thirsts, nor am I sad and lone. I cannot tell the half of love, unfeigned, supreme, divine, that caused my darkest inmost self with beams of hope to shine. I cannot tell thee why He chose to suffer and to die, but if I suffer here with Him  I’ll reign with Him on high. There’s a deep, settled peace in my soul, There’s a deep, settled peace in my soul, tho’ the billows of sin near me roll,  He abides, Christ abides.” Selah! Only the trusting redeemed soul can (and may) know this peace. The three Hebrew young men have given timeless, inspired testimony to this kind of peace!   Ron

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Another Part of the Fruit Appears

As love for Jesus blossoms, another part of this unique fruit impacts our hearts. In our “fallen” world, there is plenty of sorrow, grief, pain, worry, fear, discouragement, depression, etc. These can be, and often are, overwhelming! However, for those who have discovered the wonder of His great love and have come to love and trust Him, they can know real joy even in the midst of trials. I don’t mean joy for trials; I mean joy in trials. The trials may be severe, even fatal. We are not alone in our trials! Jesus went through the “trial” of  all trials; consider what that accomplished! Our right response to trials will strengthen our faith, calm our hearts, give us a strong sense of His comfort and grace, and will bring rich rewards here and/ or hereafter. Paul’s many trials only intensified His love for Jesus. Paul experienced joy in his severe trials and in Romans 8:18, he testified: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time (are) not worthy (to be compared) with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” In the hymn, “He Keeps Me Singing,” Luther B. Bridgers offers us a joyous perspective: “There’s within my heart a melody; Jesus whispers sweet and low, “Fear not, I am with you, peace, be still,” in all of life’s ebb and flow. Feasting on the riches of His grace, resting ‘neath His sheltering wing, always looking on His smiling face, that is why I shout and sing. Though sometimes He leads through waters deep, trials fall across the way; though sometimes the path seems rough and steep, see His footprints all the way. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know, fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.” This is joy “in all of life’s ebb and flow.” Selah! Nothing can touch those who belong to Him unless He allows or permits it. If it touches us, He has a purpose and He will walk us through it, each step of the way, and bring us through in triumph. Keep ahold of His hand and draw on His joy!.    Ron

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The Blossom Starts to Open

Starting today, we want to examine each part of this miraculous fruit. Today, let’s look at “love.” At the moment of Spiritual rebirth, a marvelous seed is planted in our hearts. I John 4:19 explains: “We love Him, because He first loved us.” Responding to Jesus’ love, the seed of love is implanted in our hearts (minds, emotions and wills). As that seed is watered by the Word, it begins to grow, to intensify. I’m not thinking of nice, warm, “feelings.” (There may be or not be some of that). I have in mind a heart of gratitude, fascination, and admiration; a bonding of love because of what He has done for us and Who He is and what He’s like. This is the beginning of the nine-fold fruit of God, the Holy Spirit! We, who have come to see Him in all His wonderful glory, can identify with Frederick Whitfield’s song, “O How I Love Jesus!” We can sing with him, from our full hearts: “There is a Name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth; it sounds like music in my ear, the sweetest Name on earth. O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus, because He first loved me!” As this love for Him blossoms, wonderful petals begin to unfold. We might liken the first petal to “joy.” We hope to see the beauty of that part of God’s special fruit, tomorrow. Selah! To only know “about” Jesus may prompt appreciation; to know Him personally and bask in His Presence inspires ever deepening love.  Ron

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Solid Evidence of the Spirit’s Filling

Ephesians 5:18 gives us a command: “….be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” The question is this: “How can I know if I am filled?” Various ideas are advanced in an attempt to determine if one is truly filled with the Holy Spirit. One idea is that if we have power to preach or witness, that’s evidence. Another idea is that if we have been given a certain gift, that’s the evidence. The problem is that a gift can be counterfeited. However, there is solid evidence: it is the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit! All nine fruit (not fruits) would be impossible to counterfeit and/or maintain. Only the Holy Spirit’s filling (His ever increasing Presence within our soul [Re. “soul”-see yesterday’s article]) could consistently produce such fruit. The more of us that He controls, the more fruit is produced. That prompts another question: “How does He gain control?” Initially, His control begins with our yielding the control of our lives to Jesus as our Savior and Lord. For the Holy Spirit’s control to increase, there must be a daily intake of God’s Word. This intake cannot be limited to information and knowledge; it must be digested and lived out with the Holy Spirit’s help. If you just “tasted” good food, you might enjoy the taste, but it won’t help you until it is digested and becomes a part of you. God’s Word must become the very “fiber” of our souls. Until that Word holds sway, there will be little, if any, filling. When God’s Word dominates our minds, emotions and wills, the evidence will be clearly seen. Two stanzas from Palmer Hartsough’s hymn, “Filled with the Spirit Sent from the Father,” speak especially well to today’s article: “Filled with the Spirit, fitted for service, all that I am to Jesus I give; filled with the Spirit, doing His bidding, only for Jesus now would I live. Filled with the Spirit, we shall have vict’ry over the world and Satan and sin; filled with the Spirit, we shall find wisdom, souls for the Master joyful to win.” Selah! Starting tomorrow, we hope, God willing, to examine each part of  this miraculous fruit. Do “hop on board” tomorrow. We’ll watch for you.   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com