Most people seem to like fruit - it looks good, feels good, smells good, tastes good. Its just a good thing to eat. Well on a higher level how does it relate to life? Especially the religious life that many people are interested in. Could it be said that anyone’s faith whether Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or even Muslim consists of 3 parts: what’s inside the soul, what’s outside the soul, and the final destiny of the soul? (Something like a three fold cord or rope which is supposed to be strong.)
Final destiny part - All faiths want to believe there is a heaven or some premium future reward for living “right”. Jews & Muslims value this final concept: “Fear God & keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment. . .” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Christian’s final concept or destiny is summed up in 2 Corinthians 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body." Eternal rewards or losses are involved.
Outside the soul part - All faiths want to believe there are reasons or benefits of living “right”. Such as: release from dark powers, free salvation, divine guidance, answered prayer, divine healing, the Church, etc. (see “What’s in it for Me?” Link #28) And there should be some good stuff in our lives if we claim to be “right”, or in God’s family, or born again, or Christian, or whatever . . . Now “What About the Fruit”?
The fruit of the spirit is the Inside the soul part. And the “fruit” flows out from within. The best list I know of is this: “the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control” Galatians 5:22-23 In a profound respect these things “look” good, “feel” good, “smell” good and even “taste” good in our lives. What are we living for if our lives (and souls) are lacking these “fruits”? Is our faith just a dead social pattern “having the form of godliness but lacking the power thereof”? (2 Timothy 3:5) Jesus said “you will know them by their fruits”. . . Matthew 7:16 and it is possible for “bad fruit” to flow out of the soul. Such as “immorality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, envy, drunkenness, carousing,” etc. (Galatians 5:20-21)
This message is about good “fruit”, but it is also about the Spirit of God. It seems that in order to have a well-balanced three part experience with God and produce good fruit we need to have His Spirit within. Christians believe that being born again comes from asking Christ to come in to our lives (Rev 3:20). Christ also encourages us to ask for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). I believe the Holy Spirit is the active presence of God in our lives and that He is compatible with almost any faith that is Biblical. So if we want the good fruit we should welcome the Holy Spirit. It’s sad that so many so-called Christians and churches reject the Holy Spirit and live a religious life that is out of balance. Having only the final destiny part and fire insurance is good but why cheat ourselves out of the “goodies” God has for us while we pass thru this world? Sure - some charismatic churches go to extremes in their efforts to bring down the “Spirit”, but that is no excuse to “throw out the baby with the bath-water.” Choose Jesus and His Spirit - THEY are alive.
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