Monday, April 30, 2012

50 Days of Holy! Producing Fruit

Jesus did some weird things. Some he explained and used as illustrations for right living. But some he really didn't explain all that much. He leaves us guessing. The story that comes to mind today is in Matthew 21:18-21. 

On the last week of Jesus' life, he was walking from Bethany to Jerusalem. It's hard to picture, but Jesus was hungry for some breakfast. There was a fig tree along the road, so he stopped to pick some fruit. Well, imagine Jesus throwing a fit when he discovered the tree was full of leaves but there was no fruit! Hard to conceive? Well, he was so upset that he even cursed! Yes, Jesus cursed the tree. He a tree... "May you never bear fruit again!(vs. 19b)"

You may be wondering, "What's up with that?" Well, the disciples were even more astounded when they saw the fig tree wither up and die right before their eyes! They must have thought Jesus was on a rampage. After all, the same day He went into the temple courts and overturned the tables of the merchants and money-changers.

What's up with Jesus? 
He's still turning over the tables in our lives. He's still searching for fruit. His curse remains on those who choose to live a life of sin. But on the other side of the table are those who live in the Spirit and embrace the lifestyle that God desires. And for those Christians, not even the sky can limit what God has for us! When the disciples asked about the withering of the fig tree,
"Jesus was matter-of-fact: 'Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don't doubt God, you'll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles' (vs.21-22)."
One of our biggest obstacles is simply choosing to live a life that is holy and pure, free from sin. I love the description of these "fruits" that reveal the Holy Spirit as active and working in our lives:
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23)" 
These attributes of the Holy Spirit are a litmus test of our walk with Christ. I'm thinking that Jesus is saying to us, just as He said to that fig tree, "You are cursed if you do not produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit on your tree of life. I would rather you not even label yourself as a Christian if your life is not evidence of the love, joy, peace...that I offer you." 

This week we are taking a look at the fruit of a life lived for Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Today, we solemnly remember that our hearts are the temple of the living God.
  • Make an itemized list of these fruits of the Spirit.
  • Pray over them.
  • Ask the Lord to help as you rate yourself on each one.
  • Present your weaknesses to Him. Pray. Surrender.
  • Ask Him to remove the curse and fill you His Holy Spirit.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again with the yoke of slavery (Gal. 5: 1)."

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