Lesson 13 -- second quarter 2005
May 29, 2005
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
What role does the Holy Spirit have in your life?
How careful are you about the seeds you choose to plant?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Fruitfulness for God requires His indwelling Spirit.
Jesus declared, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (John 15:8). Knowing that, the Christian wishes to be fruitful, very fruitful. After all, we want to be disciples of Jesus and we want to contribute to the Father's glory. Thankfully, God has made fruitfulness, discipleship, and glory possible by giving us His Spirit. To bear the Spirit's fruit, we must live and walk in the Spirit.
The flesh must die.
New life requires the death of the old life. Life in the spirit requires death to life in the flesh. Nobody can bear the Spirit's fruit while nourishing the flesh and its desires. So the popular verses on the wonderful fruit of the Spirit are followed by this less-quoted verse: "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Galatians 5:24).
God holds us accountable for one another's well-being.
We already noted how God and we personally benefit from our bearing of the Spirit's fruit. Notice, though, that much of the fruit requires the presence of other people. Love, peace, longsuffering, goodness, and meekness have to do with human relationships. Since we are called to bear one another's burdens, God gives us the fruit that makes that possible.
What we plant always determines what we harvest.
Before human history began, God decreed that like produces like. Thus the fruit of the Spirit never comes from the seeds of the flesh!
Questions and Responses
How do I bear fruit for God?
Here you have the short, simple answer: Live in the Spirit and crucify the flesh. Never forget God's law of reproduction and fruit-bearing: The seed always determines the fruit. Sowing seeds to the flesh will never yield godly fruit. Now, after that simple answer, notice what four other Scriptures have to say.
In John 15:4,5 Jesus tells us that fruitfulness for God comes only to those who abide in Him, "for without me ye can do nothing."
Psalm 1:1-3 reveals that godly fruitfulness is the result of a godly focus. Those that delight in and meditate on God's Word "shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season."
Matthew 12:35 assures us that "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things." So treasure that which is good. Put good into your heart and mind. Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).
Choose to do good. Don't give up. Hang in there. Fruitfulness doesn't happen right away. Now read Galatians 6:9,10 and see what else you glean from there.
How do I crucify my flesh?
First, some short answers: Live for Jesus. Yield your members as instruments of righteousness. Say no to anything that is contrary to God. Avoid that which caters to your known weaknesses.
"Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me" (Psalm 119:133).
"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Romans 8:13).
"But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof" (Romans 13:14).
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:20).
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).
There are, of course, many more Scriptures. Find them! (Here are some to help you along -- 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 1:14,15; 4:2; Romans 6:12; 12:1; Psalm 19:13; 1 John 1:9).
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