Fruit that Will Last

                                                                       

Jesus said that he appointed us to bear fruit – fruit that will last (John 15:16). The Christian is to produce the fruit of Christ and of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We are to trust in Christ, be conformed to the image of Christ, and produce the Christ-life in our lives, our ministries, and our dealings with people. This means that the ways and will of God a re to converge in our lives as we proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel everywhere we go.

We want people to see Jesus and experience life with Him through our lives. This is the goal, but it is easy to take shortcuts. Perhaps you are dealing with a relational problem and you don’t know what to do. So, you look to “experts” who have strategies for how you can get what you want out of your relationships. Or, perhaps you are dealing with wrong behavior and you want to change it – so you follow some moralistic principles that seek to manage your behavior so you can stay in line.

Or, perhaps you have some goals for your life that you want met, so you try to develop strategies to reach them by following life management techniques. The issue could involve your marriage or family or your children, so you look for some tried and true way to fix the problem. Maybe you want to see success in your ministry, so you gravitate towards some methods that have worked in other ministries or churches and you think that they will solve the problems you face. Or, you see a moral decline in America and you think that the way to address it is through trying to grab hold of power and reclaim America for God.

The goal often involves fixing the problem so you can find peace. But, this is the wrong goal. John 3:6 says, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” We have to make sure that our approach to every challenge involves the way of Jesus. You can only produce spiritual fruit in spiritual ways. We cannot produce the Christ life apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. We must embrace the Cross, humble ourselves, die to self, and be raised up in newness of life by the Spirit. We all face challenges in our lives and relationships. But, those challenges should drive us to Jesus. Real joy only comes from Christ and it does not come in the world’s way. Maybe you will suffer or will have to wait or be ignored. Look to Jesus anyway and live!

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