Saturday, July 9, 2016

Productivity and Consistency

UV 2006/10000 The Results of the Spirit
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Matthew 7 v 20

Success and fulfilment are determined by the results. We are known by the quality of our results or our spiritual productivity. The results the Lord of the harvest measures us by are primarily, the fruit of the spirit. Are we adequately manifesting in our character, thoughts and actions love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control? If so, we are fruitful trees that the Lord only has to prune once in a way so that we are even more fruitful. If not, we are like thorns and thistles, unproductive bushes that are not of use to God, man or beast. If so, we will be called and welcomed by the Lord with the words of recognition, “ You, good and faithful servant.”

Just as a tree’s defining quality is its fruit as to how beautiful, sweet, delicious, healthy, nutritious and abundant it is, so the fruit of character in us defines us. Each of these nine fruit are produced simultaneously in us. The metaphor of the fruit trees of heaven described in the book of Revelation for this reason speaks of trees that bear a different fruit for each month of the year. When times are good, we should produce fruit of love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, humility and self control. When times are bad and things are not going we would like them to, we should produce the fruit of patience, joy in spite of suffering and faithfulness. According to our gifting and calling too, we should have varying proportions of these characteristics: in leadership, we should manifest wisdom, kindness, humility and self control. In service, we should manifest more of goodness, kindness, patience and joy. As teachers, we should manifest love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, humility and self control. As pastors, love, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, humility and self discipline.

The fruit are the litmus test of a believer in real time. It marks out the depth of his roots, the goodness of the soul in which the good seed of faith has been planted, the discipline that was in evidence in the early years of faith, the regularity and intensity with which we have been watered with the Word and how much of the moisture we have absorbed from the soul. A tree should be good from the roots up and not the other way around. Are our roots always nourished by the Word and the Spirit of God? Suffering is allowed by the Lord to prune and perfect these qualities in us. The qualities grow to the extent we yield or surrender ourselves to the inner working of the Holy Spirit and to the extent we resist the temptations of the enemy of our soul and the impulses of our own bodies and souls. Like pesticides are used to destroy pests that destroy the fruit, we are to defeat the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Each of these spiritual pests that range from the size of tiny microbes to birds of the air affect different fruit. For instance, the lust of the flesh and of the eye affects love, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness and self control. Pride of life affects adversely humility, love, peace, goodness, kindness and faithfulness. In fact, if the fruit are abundant and mature, their strength will help us to defeat the three sources of our spiritual shortcomings. In addition to pests, we have the predatory beasts of this world like the foxes that creep in through cracks in our fencing to attack the tender grape of the vineyard of our lives. These foxes that force a backdoor entry so that we do not even know they have entered our lives are anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, depression, jealousy and such like. The fruit are our unspoken witness to the Lord and to humanity. By the manner of fruit we bear, we witness to the Lord and His word and His work in our lives. It shows that the DNA or Divine Nature of Christ runs in our veins and being. The maturity and consistency of these spiritual characteristics enables us to endure the trail of trials that life often turns out to be and emerge as victorious overcomers.

Prateep V Philip

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