First Things @ First

Ministry Perspectives,

I came across that familiar passage of scripture in Galatians 5 the other day that references the fruit of the spirit; nine in all. While all are important in the conduct of a disciple of Christ, it is important to understand that the first one mentioned is the foundation from which all the others mentioned are produced. The fruit that Paul mentions first is love. The fruit of love is the exact replica of God's love for humanity as demonstrated through Christ in His humility. As Jesus demonstrated His love for us, we who are in Christ demonstrate the same kind of love to others along the journey of faith. Some might say, well how is such a thing even possible? And the answer to that question would be, it isn't apart from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We must understand that the Word of God describes these character qualities as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Not the fruit of a human being, no matter how good they believe themselves to be.

It might be better understood this way. A person may demonstrate enough sheer determination to overcome the nature of the flesh on occasion in order to avoid wickedness but it is simply not in the nature of the flesh to do good (as God defines good) on any level, at any time.

Paul said in Romans 3:10-12--" it is written no one is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."

1 Corinthians 2:14 says--"the natural man (unsaved person) does not receive the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, he is not able to discern them because they are spiritually discerned."

Warren Wiersbe makes this observation on the topic of the fruit of the Spirit-- "a machine in a factory works, and turn out product, but it could never manufacture fruit. Fruit must grow out of life, and, in the case of a believer, it is the life of the Spirit. When you think of 'works' you think of effort, labor, strain, and toil; when you think of 'fruit' you think of beauty, quietness, the unfolding of life. The flesh produces 'dead works', but the Spirit produces 'living fruit'. And this fruit has within it the seed for still more fruit. Love produces more love. Joy produces more joy. Peace produces more peace. Patience produces more patience. And so forth and so on."

However, none of the nine are possible without love, love for God and love for others.

That is where a life of fruitfulness begins.

So, take a moment on this Monday or whenever you read this and examine your life under the light of His word of truth. Then ask yourselves--what am I producing that will continue to produce more of the same when His life in me is completed on this earth?

Will the 'machinery' you've assembled over the years grind to a halt when you're no longer around to run it?

Will what you are currently pouring your life into produce anything significant eternally?

From God's perspective, there is a definite line of separation between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.

Disciples of Christ are not well-oiled machines designed to produce 'dead works.'

Disciples of Christ are human beings that desire to produce the fruit of faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, goodness, patience, self-control, peace and joy because love abides and presides in the heart for God.

Is your branch bearing fruit that contains the seed of life?

Is your branch barren of life-giving, life-altering fruit?

Be alive in the Lord Jesus and be alert this week in the Spirit.

You'll produce good fruit!

Pstr K

Hebrews 10:35-36