buildingbodies4christ

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Archive for the tag “Godliness”

The Right Mix

Have you ever heard the phrase, “the proof is in the pudding?” Seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? A book I read recently had this phrase in one of its section headings. I can’t seem to recall the point the author was making at this time. However, when I read some Scripture this morning, this phrase came back to mind. The passage that spoke most deeply was from Galatians 5:22-23 concerning the fruit of the Spirit.

As believers, we are told we have received the Holy Spirit from Jesus at the time of our salvation. After we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are told there will be gifts that the Spirit brings with Him as He dwells in us. This fruit begins with love. Jesus’ love is planted in us as the Spirit is planted in us. The love is the seed from which all other attributes grow. The other attributes of this fruit is joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

For those who believe and have received the Holy Spirit, we already have this fruit in us. However, has the fruit been exhibited by our actions? This is where the phrase – the proof is in the pudding – comes to mind. We will be known by this fruit. As Peter wrote in his first letter, we are to crave spiritual milk (1 Peter 2:2). As we grow, we become more fluent in the language of love – we exhibit these fruit characteristics more frequently and with greater strength.

Have you noticed recently we are missing these characteristics in the world around us? None of this fruit is exhibited in great detail in the world at large. There are small instances when the goodness and kindness seeps out into the darkness. Self-control seems to be lost in this day and age. Patience? It’s been lost in this fast pace world. We want it now and we demand it now. Instant and convenient has driven patience out of style.

It’s almost like we’re afraid to show these characteristics to others because we might be seen as weak. However, we are told that true strength is to show weakness and vulnerability. The world is craving a greater vulnerability – although they would never admit it. It is said that love trumps hate. However, actions show true identity of the fruit (or lack of) that dwells within. Love is an action.

We can give cards on birthdays and anniversaries declaring our love; but if it’s not followed up by action to prove that love really exists, the paper is thrown into the dustbin of history. Marriages will fall apart – families will fall apart – society falls apart. Love is glue that holds lives together. Without it, we’re hopeless.

The world is craving spiritual milk. The world doesn’t know it, but we as believers do. As believers, we are to grow beyond milk. The writer of Hebrews wrote in the fifth chapter we are to live on the solid food of righteousness and to be able to teach others these things. The writer warns us about falling away from the teachings of righteousness. Paul also had a few things to say to the Corinthians about needing milk instead of solid food. The Corinthians were acting like babies and couldn’t handle the truth Paul was ready to feed them. He wrote he could not address them as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly (1 Corinthians 3:1).

Yes, we still have much to glean from these Scriptures. Much of our time is spent in pursuing worldliness instead of godliness and the pudding has been exhibiting the fruit of our strivings. Paul wrote to the Philippians: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Yes, we, as believers, have much to consider. The pudding has almost set. It’s time to stir the pot and get the right ingredients in the mix before it’s too late. The proof will be in the pudding. Think on these things.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:11-14

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Humility

“If my people will humble themselves” – this phrase is still bouncing off the walls of my mind and heart. God sent prophets throughout Scripture to warn of possible destruction – the warnings were either heeded and repentance happened or arrogance and pride led to destruction. I continually watch current events and see how God is at work through them. How is the latest news of Russia gaining ground relevant? How is the power of the US relevant? How is the debt of our nation affecting our power? Is the debt of our nation dropping us to our knees? Are we rising up in defiance? Or do we drop lower in humility in the presence of the Sovereign Righteous God? Repentance or rebellion?

I love the Scripture found in Ezekiel 37 about the dry bones being raised into a mighty army. I can see an army rising up to fight not for a mighty nation, but for a mighty God. God breathes life into the dry bones and they come alive. I know this Scripture was prophecy for Israel. But can we look at it in the face of current events? I see preachers throughout this country breathing life through the Holy Spirit into a dying people. In Ezekiel 37:14 says that “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live.” Yes, it was for Israel, but I believe we can gather God will do the same for us. The difference will be in our acknowledging God as Sovereign Ruler over our hearts and minds. We are His people and we need to be acting as His people. We are to live differently and be the people He called us to be. Holy. Pure. Our land is desperate for Jesus and Jesus is desperately seeking people ready to be used to glorify God. Holiness and purity. Set apart but still in the world bringing light into that darkness.

The prophets spoke of repentance. They went throughout the land speaking to the people of God in ancient times to remove the idols and turn back to God. It wasn’t beneficial to the prophets; most were killed for their message. Most of the people ignored the warnings and went on with life only to find themselves enslaved or dead. We are living in perilous times. I can see this message is for all of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus. Are we living as we should? I know my heart was convicted about repentance. This nation is desperate for some healing in this land. It starts with us. We have to begin with repentance. We know God. We know Jesus. We know of His love; but we also know of His wrath. He is the God of Love. But He is also holy and will not tolerate sin in His presence. He wants us to stop and drop to our knees and cry out to Him. There is a drought in this land, and it’s a drought of tears. I fail to shed a single tear for those I know who are far from God. My heart is not broken for what breaks His. Shame on me. We should be crying a river of tears. Okay, I should be. Maybe this message is for me alone. God is in the process of something. My spirit has been stirred for a reason.

I know God is at work throughout this world to reconcile all people to Himself. I want to be a part of His work, don’t you? It starts with repentance and prayer to become the people we are meant to be.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:8-9

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