By Their Fruit…

…You will recognise them.

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Before I say a word to you, let’s read these verses;
“By their fruit you will recognize them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

My question to you is, what will you birth this year?

And I’m not necessarily talking about new creations or ideas or businesses, but actually when the 31st December 2019 comes around, what will the summary of your character be for this year?
In the last post, we discussed how special this year will be.
We embraced the great news of 2019 being a year in which many things will unravel in our lives and bring forth purpose and meaning to our very existence.
We’re now in the second month of the year, (by God’s mercy and grace), and hopefully many of us are still working on the various plans and goals that we set for ourselves for this year.
I want you to think of those plans/ideas/resolutions, and ask yourself – how much of what I have planned involves God?
Reflect on your desires for this year and just check – is God at the forefront of all this, or have I left Him on the back burner?
Did I focus my plans around me, my pleasures and my will, or have I put God centre stage, for all eyes to be on Him, and for His glory to shine through?

 

When God planted Matthew 7:16 into my heart, He gave me a message for you and I, saying that in this year (and always) we ought to ensure that God shows through in absolutely everything that concerns us!

The King wants us to be intentional about showing Him forth.

So here are a few specific things this means:

(But this list isn’t exhaustive)

1. Our decisions must minister Christ.
That is, the things we actively choose to do by ourselves.
E.g. Abstain from sexual immorality, pay the correct public transport fare, obey laws of the land that others may commonly seek a loophole for, attend church more often, engage in more kingdom-directed activities (fellowships/bible studies/evangelism) (Galatians 5:13-26, Romans 13 particularly verse 6). The list goes on.
We need to take our spiritual walk seriously, align our will with the instructions we find in the word of God, and really cultivate habits and behaviours that will affirm our love for Christ, rather than do the opposite.
Going back to our plans for this year – I’m asking that we go to God and find out what He wants, find out how we can be used by Him for His name to be praised, find out what His agenda is for us in this year, and then ask how we fit into all that, rather than the other way round.
In being intentional about showing God forth in our lives, we need to actively set out to do, or equally, refrain from doing, certain things. These intentional and purposeful decisions will set us apart within our environments, and thus minister to the world that there is something different about us, and indeed it is Jesus!
Let us be mindful of our decisions; making sure that we’re choosing the options that will more and more display that we truly do have a heart for God, ultimately causing people to draw onto us to get to know this God!
2. Take up a voluntary task/charitable deed to benefit the less fortunate.
Matthew 25:31-40 – read it.
We’re 41 whole days into 2019 – how many of those days have been spent selflessly?
Often times, particularly at the beginning of the year, and especially if it wasn’t one of our ‘resolutions’, many of us get so stuck and fixed and focused on achieving these sparkly new goals, that we neglect the needs of the community around us.
We’re head strong, we’ve got the eye of the tiger and we really want to achieve all the ME goals that we’ve set, that we forget that we have a world of people around us that God has both directly and indirectly put under our care. This includes those we know personally and those we don’t.
Where do the homeless, poor, needy, and underpriviledged come in our plans for this year?
I’m asking that we go back to those plans and ask God where they fit in. Tell God that we WANT them in our plans, and that He should give us a mission to HELP those who are in need. Let it become a regular activity in our lives, by God’s grace.
This also includes those friends or family members that require our emotional, financial or just any kind of support too! Let us factor them in, take some time out to really be there for them and see how we can be a blessing in their lives, in accordance with God’s will.
3. Manage ill situations graciously.
Yep! I’m talking about our  R E A C T I O N S  here.

I’m talking about us never REacting, but rather always maintaining our Christ-like character irrespective of what is being thrown at us.

What fruit are we producing when we respond to unpleasant situations?

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When we find ourselves in that complex, conflicting issue at work, home or school – who are we in that moment when our emotions are flying REALLY really high?

It could also be in terms of personal trials, hardships, let downs.
We all face disappointing and displeasing scenarios in life – but my question here is in these moments – what and who do we look like?

As a representation of Christ, who is God, who is Love, and so therefore we are Love, I believe one of the key elements in our walk is maintaining our cool when things get shaken and stirred up. We have to remember to LOVE first.
God is calling for a consistency in us, which means that we keep our peace at all times!
It doesn’t make you foolish, weak or a loser to walk away from a situation if it means maintaining your attitude and not acting out.
In situations that test our emotions, be it heat of the moment type scenarios, or even longer-term difficult ones, we must remember that we are STILL children of the Most High God. We are still children of grace, who ought to speak with words seasoned with salt always (Colossians 4:5-6), build others up with our words always (Ephesians 4:29), and bring light into situations rather than darkness.

 

Now let’s round this up and makes sense of it all.
You may notice that in the verses we read at the beginning of this word, I put Matthew 7:21 on its own, even though it’s the immediate continuation of the preceding verses.
Well that’s because this verse is special.
It helps to put everything into context.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Often times, we speak of Jesus, but we aren’t really living out Jesus.
And essentially that’s what this word is all about – at the end of the day, will God be able to search your heart and find that you were intentional and proactive about really promoting the gospel and the things of God with your life? (Jeremiah 17:10 NLT)
When Jesus said ‘by their fruit, you will recognise them’, He was talking about distinguising the false prophets from the true believers of the gospel.
In the same light when God gave me this word and pointed me to this verse, He was asking; Are we really for Him wholeheartedly, ready to align our hearts with His will, and press in deeper, into His Spirit to get to know Him better? 
Or are we dipping our toes in and out of the water every now and then, and in fact masking mediocrity with colourful words and empty actions that sort of look Christ-like, but actually we lack a firm foundation and are easily moved by winds of the world?

Matthew 7:21 says ‘only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven’ will enter the kingdom of heaven – therefore we need to go to God, and:

  • Seek out what His will for us is, in EVERY area of our lives?
  • Ask that He enables us to live a life that truly and genuinely shows forth all of His glory and goodness, where the focus is on Him and not us!
  • And ask that He works on our hearts and perfects our hearts, so that all in all, everything concerning us will birth fruit that show we are children of God, and the light of the world.

 

I pray that your fruit will show forth great things about you, and will display your true desire to walk and work in the perfect will of God, in Jesus’ name. Amen

 

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God bless you.

 

#ByTheirFruit
#HisTruthWithLove

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