The Ultimate Fruit Audit Test – Take Your’s Now!

Answer the following questions and look up the associated verses to determine if you are a follower of Jesus or just a really big fan.

Who You Are
Audit #1: Is your character in keeping with the Fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23
Audit #2: Do you Walk by the Spirit? Galatians 5:16-26
Audit #3: Do you Actively “Make Disciples”? Matthew 28:19
Audit #4: Do you Love God with all that you are? Matthew 22:38-38

God’s Law
Audit #5: Do You Crave the Word of God? 1 Peter 2:2-3. Romans 7:22, John 8:47, Matthew 5:6
Audit #6: Do You Keep His Commands? Exodus 20
Audit #7: Is God’s Law Written on Your Heart? Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:6-13
Audit #8: Do You Grow in Wisdom or just Knowledge?  James 1:15

Understanding Love
Audit #9: Do You Love Others? 1 John 4:7-12
Audit #10: Do You Love your Enemy? Matthew 5:43-48, 1 Corinthians 4:12
Audit #11: Do You Have a Love Affair with the World? 1 John 2:15-17, John 15:19
Audit #12: Are you politically correct when it comes to Jesus and your friends, family and coworkers? Matthew 10:32-33, 2 Corinthians 5:20

Tests and Discipline
Audit #13: Do you Have Chronic Sin? 1 John 3:6-10
Audit #14: Do You Get Disciplined by God? Hebrews 12:3-11
Audit #15: Do You Get Tested by God? James 1:2-3, 1 Peter 4:12-14
Audit #16: Are you instantly convicted when you sin? John 16:7-11
Audit #17: Do you get persecuted for your faith? 2 Timothy 3:12, John 15:18, 1 Peter 4:12-14, 1 Peter 3:14, Matthew 5:10
Audit #18: Are you hated by some people because of your faith? 1 John 3:13, Luke 6:22,

A Changed Life
Audit #19: Do You See a Changed Life? Ezekiel 36:25-26
Audit #20: Is Your Spiritual Life Different from Last Year? Are you growing? Colossians 1:9-10, 2 Peter 3:18
Audit #21: Do You Find Assurance or Conviction When You Read the Book of 1 John
Audit #22: Christian: Would a stranger or even a close friend or family member who is not a follower of Christ convict you of being a follower? 1 John 5:19, Colossians 4:5-6, 1 Corinthians 1:21-23

Fruit Audit – Are you a Lawbreaker?

I used to be such a lawbreaker. I’m not talking about the big laws, but I was the typical entitled American. You know the kind. I generally obeyed traffic laws but pushed the limits by driving just under 80, not using signals, rolling through stop signs, making left turns over double yellow lines, parking in questionable spots because I was late, and any other area I could manage to justify, like running red lights in the middle of the night because no one was around. Or how about those people who don’t fully claim all their tips or cash payments to the IRS?  Who’s going to know, right? What about that time you lied to your friend and used your kid being “sick” as an excuse for not doing something. Or you lied to your spouse about how much you actually spent on your new wardrobe. How about when you take home office supplies from your work? No one will care and they have so much and besides it is the least they can give you for all the crap you put up with.

I mean, really… We are a nation of self-justified and entitled people. No wonder other countries can’t stand us. Do you think God is going to say, “Oh it’s ok, that is just how they were raised.” I don’t think so. In fact, if you take a quick look at the very short list of 10 commandments he has asked us to keep, I am pretty sure you have broken all of them. Haven’t murdered anyone lately? Jesus said if you hate someone it’s the same thing. Haven’t committed adultery? If you are a man, have you looked at any porn in the last few days, or hours? If you are a woman, have you checked out a hot guy and wished your man looked like that? It’s the same thing in Jesus’ mind.

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” – 1 John 2:3-6

If you are interested in digging deeper into each commandment to see how you add up, here they are:
(To see the full text as it was written read Exodus 20.)

  1. God is the only God. (simple… or not if you think God is basically the same god for every religion.)
  2. You shall not worship idols (Like worshiping a TV show or celebrity, or food, or money, or your career, you get the idea.)
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (Like saying OMG or saying “my God” for no reason.)
  4. Take one day a week to rest. Fully. No work at all. (Does anyone really do this command anymore? It is not a joke and is not antiquated.)
  5. Honor your father and mother. (You may no longer be living with your parents and have kids of your own but think about it, do you honor your mom and dad or do you “know better” than they do and often put them “in their place.”)
  6. You shall not murder. (Not a murderer? Think again. Check out Matthew 5:21-22)
  7. You shall not commit adultery. (Even looking at someone with lust is considered adultery from Jesus’ standpoint. Check out Matthew 5:28)
  8. You shall not steal. (I don’t know of a single person who can honestly say they have never stolen anything.)
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (This, like the 10th commandment is not talking about the person who lives next to you. God means anyone you know or even somewhat know. Think in terms of the person you like the least. Stop hating on them and spreading rumors and gossip. Basically, stop lying!)
  10. You shall not covet anything that is your neighbors. (ie. his or her spouse, his or her job, his or her house, his or her car, his or her garden, his or her kids, his or her clothing, his or her hair, seriously the grass is not greener so stop coveting!)

If you want to see more on this topic check out this post:
God’s Commands

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?

Week 1 (DEFINING FRUIT)
Audit #1: The Fruit of the Spirit
Audit #2: Do you Walk by the Spirit?
Audit #3: Do you Actively “Make Disciples”?
Audit #4: Do you Love God the Most?

Week 2 (GOD’S LAW)
Audit #5: Do You Hear God Speak to You?
Audit #6: Are You a Lawbreaker?
Audit #7: Is God’s Law Written on Your Heart?
Audit #8: Do You Grow in Wisdom?

Week 3 (LOVE)
Audit #9: Do You Love Others?
Audit #10: Do You Love the One You Hate?
Audit #11: Do You Have a Love Affair with the World?
Audit #12: Who is Your Jesus?

Week 4 (TESTS & DISCIPLINE)
Audit #13: Do you Have Chronic Sin?
Audit #14: Are You Convicted by the Holy Spirit?
Audit #15: Do You Get Disciplined by God?
Audit #16: Do You Get Tested by God?

Week 5 (CHANGE)
Audit #17: Do You See a Radically Changed Life?
Audit #18: Is Your Spiritual Life Different from Last Year?
Audit #19: Do You Find Assurance or Conviction When You Read the Book of 1 John
Audit #20: Christian: Guilty As Charged!

Fruit Audit – Do You Hear God Speak to You?

Have you ever heard God speak to you? Audibly? I haven’t and I can bet you have not either. There is no Bionically sound doctrine out there that states God will personally, audibly talk to you in this day and age. I am not saying it is not possible as that would be like trying to fit the Grand Canyon into a water cup. I would never try to put God in a box. I am going off of what he has decided to allow us to know about him through the only source he has given us: the Bible. So, when we talk about “listening to God” or trying to “hear God” what does that mean? It can be summed up very simply like this: We talk to God through our prayers, thoughts and actions and God talks to us through His Word, others, and our circumstances.

God can be blunt. I have found Him to be blunt when he desires you to not mistake his “voice.” I will hear a sermon on a specific topic, then it will pop up in my daily Bible reading that day or possibly the next, then a friend will bring up the exact same topic randomly at lunch the next day. That is what most people call coincidence or providence. When you are fully and truly saved there is no mistaking when God wants you to know or learn something.

God can be subtle. He sometimes wants you to be sensitive to his promptings. He is not always going to hit you over the head. In fact, usually he is subtle, drawing you close to him and desiring for you to desire his will and not your own. Do you respond to his promptings? When you sense the urge to pray, do you drop to your knees or do you finish what you are doing and then pray? When you feel the urge to help a stranger do you do so or do you continue on your way not wanting to impose? When you feel in your gut that you need to say a word of encouragement do you speak up or do you say the opposite or nothing at all?

When is the last time you tried to lift a thousand pounds? Probably never. Do you know who Paul Anderson is? He lifted 6,270 pounds. Do you think he woke up one day and said to himself “I’m going to lift up a truck today!” No! He worked at it, practicing every day, getting stronger every day, and focusing every day on lifting more and more. That is what hearing God is all about. Day by day, getting stronger and stronger at reading and memorizing his Word. Day by day, getting more in tune with the Holy Spirit’s moment by moment promptings. Day by day, lifting a little more weight until we finally see the prize. The day when we stand face to face with our Lord and Savior to hear those amazingly heart-crushing and soul-longing words “Well done, my good and faithful servant… Well done!”

To go deeper with this topic, check out the below post:
Do You Love God’s Word?

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?

Week 1 (DEFINING FRUIT)
Audit #1: The Fruit of the Spirit
Audit #2: Do you Walk by the Spirit?
Audit #3: Do you Actively “Make Disciples”?
Audit #4: Do you Love God the Most?

Week 2 (GOD’S LAW)
Audit #5: Do You Hear God Speak to You?
Audit #6: Are You a Lawbreaker?
Audit #7: Is God’s Law Written on Your Heart?
Audit #8: Do You Grow in Wisdom?

Week 3 (LOVE)
Audit #9: Do You Love Others?
Audit #10: Do You Love the One You Hate?
Audit #11: Do You Have a Love Affair with the World?
Audit #12: Who is Your Jesus?

Week 4 (TESTS & DISCIPLINE)
Audit #13: Do you Have Chronic Sin?
Audit #14: Are You Convicted by the Holy Spirit?
Audit #15: Do You Get Disciplined by God?
Audit #16: Do You Get Tested by God?

Week 5 (CHANGE)
Audit #17: Do You See a Radically Changed Life?
Audit #18: Is Your Spiritual Life Different from Last Year?
Audit #19: Do You Find Assurance or Conviction When You Read the Book of 1 John
Audit #20: Christian: Guilty As Charged!

FRUIT AUDIT – Does your life reflect the first and greatest commandment by God?

Do You Love God the Most?
When you look at your daily spending, your daily activities, and your daily interactions, it may become clear who your god is? Take an honest assessment of your day. While most of us spend the majority of our day working, which God calls us to do, are you the type of person who makes your career your life and keeps church and state separate so to speak or you the type of person who tries to bring God into your career? Are you the type of person who spends 10 minutes in God’s word in the morning and then spends 2 hours on Facebook during the day and another 2 hours watching TV at the end of your day and then cap it all off by another 5 minutes in prayer before bed time? Just sayin’. Be real and be honest and figure out who your god is. I hope it is the one true God that you love with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength!

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” – Matthew 22:36-38

Here is a more in depth audit on how you feel about God:
Are you a Politically Correct Christian?
Who do you Love?

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?
Audit #1: The Fruit of the Spirit
Audit #2: Do you Walk by the Spirit?
Audit #3: Do you Actively “Make Disciples”?
Audit #4: Do you Love God the Most?

FRUIT AUDIT – Do you “make disciples” actively or do you leave it to the “professionals”?

Jesus calls us to “make disciples.” Do you make disciples actively or do you leave it to the “professionals”?
I often found myself saying others are better at this than me and that is their gift, not mine. If you read the Bible thoroughly you will find that way of thinking is false. Jesus never said “only if you feel like it” or “only if you feel called to” or “only if you are good at it.” Quite the contrary. The Bible is full of stories, examples, and commands to people who were self-professing babbling idiots, but those are precisely who God used time and time again. His glory shines brighter through those who are less able to do what he wants you to do.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?
Audit #1: The Fruit of the Spirit
Audit #2: Do you Walk by the Spirit?
Audit #3: Do you Actively “Make Disciples”?

FRUIT AUDIT – Do you Walk by the Spirit? What does that mean exactly?

Do you walk by the Spirit?
Based on yesterday’s highly pulled quote from the Bible, Galatians 5:22-23 on the Fruit of the Spirit, you may want to take a look at the context of the above verses and dig a bit deeper. What does it mean to “walk by the Spirit”? Think back to a day when you rushed out of the house and did not have time to start your day in the Word or in prayer. Think about how your day went. Now think about those days where you spent a good amount of time praying and hearing what God has to say to you through his Word. Can you tell a difference in your day? For me, when I make a purposeful time at the beginning of my day it is like surrounding myself with a layer of Holy Spirit Protection or God Force Field as my son likes to call it. My attitude is different and my will power to do God’s will and not my own is greater because I am walking by the Spirit.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5:16-26

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?
Audit #1: The Fruit of the Spirit
Audit #2: Do you Walk by the Spirit?

FRUIT AUDIT – The Fruit of the Spirit

Do have character in keeping with the Fruit of the Spirit?
This is a tricky one. Often people think this is what Jesus is talking about when he refers to “fruit.” The word for fruit in Greek is”karpos” and has a broader meaning than that just found in Galatians to describe the Fruit of the Spirit in how we are to act. It also has the meaning of praise and worship to God as well as things that profit and bring glory to God. The Strong’s definition of karpos is “that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result. A work, act, or deed. An advantage, profit, or utility. That which praises, and which are presented to God as a thank offering.” So while the Fruit of the Spirit is indeed a great place to start, it is just that, a place to start. A fun way to see how you measure up to the Fruit of the Spirit is to put your name in front of each fruit. For me it would read: Jen is loving, Jen is joyful, Jen is peaceful, Jen is patient, Jen is kind, Jen shows goodness, Jen is faithful, Jen is gentle, Jen has self-control. Try putting your name in there and see if it is true. Check back tomorrow to discover another fruit that Jesus wants us to bear!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23, ESV

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?
Audit #1: The Fruit of the Spirit

FRUIT AUDIT – Have you ever taken a fruit audit? You may want to!

We are encouraged in the Bible by Paul to test our faith. He tells us in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV) Likewise, in Matthew we see a call to test others by their fruits. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-20, ESV) Also, John the Baptist in preparing the way for the Messiah in a clear and bold way declares the following: “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Luke 3:8-9, ESV)

With all that said plus many other scriptures that speak about our fruit as Christians, I think it is something worth checking often in our walks with Jesus! Check out the many verses below that reference our fruit. We will be going through a daily series of “audits” for you to consider as you test yourself. Check back each day for the daily audit.

Verses that reference our fruit: James 3:17, Matthew 21:43, Matthew 12:33, Luke 6:43, John 15:2, John 15:16, Matthew 3:8, Matthew 13:23, Mark 4:20, Luke 8:15, Luke 13:7, John 4:36, John 15:4-5, John 15:8, Romans 6:22, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9, Philippians 1:11, Philippians 4:17, Colossians 1:6, Colossians 1:10, Hebrews 12:11, Hebrews 13:15.

Maranatha!

Our Deep Desire to Feel Forgiven

jenosullivan_20131126_0001I was on a walk with my son and he mistakenly tipped over the Bob stroller while I was washing my hands because he was leaning out of it to the side. He is 6 so he’s a bit big for the stroller but he likes the ride. (Personally I would love to take a ride in the Bob too! ha!) So, in the tipping over, everything fell out of the cup holders onto the concrete: my iPhone and my brand new Bluetooth speaker. Both got a bit scratched up. He was horrified. The look on his face was such deep remorse. He knows the value of things and is a very careful child. I scrambled to pick everything up and to check if all was still working. Check. Then I looked back at him. “Sorry mom.”

I knew it was an accident, but when I went to wash my hands I gave him specific instructions to stay seated. He did not. I told him as much. I knew it was an accident but he also did not listen to my instructions. I said a short “OK” that meant I accepted his apology. It was not enough for him. For the next 10 minutes as we walked up the hill, he kept saying he was sorry, really sorry. I had forgiven him. We talked about it and all was done. Then why was he still pursuing my forgiveness? It dawned on me. I do the same thing with God! I know in my head that I am forgiven the moment I ask to be. Even my sin nature (not my actions but my sin being) is fully forgiven. But still, I bring things up over and over again. “I’m sorry! Really really sorry!”

My son needed to “feel” forgiven. The idea that he knew in his head that he was forgiven was not enough. I stopped our walk and went around to talk to him to let him know that I fully forgive him. I fully love him. I know he made a mistake. I gave him a hug. That is what he needed. He is my child. I am the child of God’s. Sometimes I need a hug. I need to be told in several different ways that I am forgiven. But how do we get to the point where it is not just head knowledge but we actually feel forgiven?

I remember asking a friend of mine a related question when I was in High School. “How come I cannot feel God anymore and how do I get that feeling back?” I’ve asked that question multiple times over the years to multiple people, pastors included. It always boiled down to something I was doing wrong. Sadly that is just not true. We speak to God through prayer and He speaks to us through His Word and circumstances. If you are not in His Word daily, and I don’t mean reading a verse or two, I mean really IN His Word, studying and learning, then what makes you think you are going to have any sense for what He wants to tell you?

I have heard of the Scriptures being the Living Word of God. What? I never fully understood that. Being a highly churched person, the concept went right over my head. Now, however, I get it. We, as humans need life. We need living interaction with others. God is so distant at times. Well, Biblically He may be testing you, but naturally He wants to have you seek Him and He wants to be known. His Word is life and to us who follow Jesus it is also alive! If you claim Jesus as your savior I challenge you this year to read the Bible cover to cover plus do a study of a couple books over the year. My pastor, Mike Fabarez says “One of the greatest ways to guard against heresy is to read the entire Bible often.”

I know a lot of you may say, “Sure, I’ve read the entire Bible.” Really? Every Year? Maybe you have. I can tell you that I used to say that all the time. Then I actually did it. All the way. Cover to cover. It changed me. God changed me. It is amazing and I highly recommend you start today. Check out this very easy Daily Bible Reading plan. I love it because some days when I am in my car I can listen to it on my phone or even through my Bluetooth. No longer can the excuse be made to not read your Bible as I am giving you a link to LISTEN to it every day.

If you want to read more on my thoughts about why reading the Bible as well as wanting to read the Bible may in fact prove or possibly even disprove your salvation, check out this post: DO YOU LOVE GOD’S WORD?

No judgement, just a call to do a spiritual check up. :)

Shalom! (I’m learning Hebrew, yippee!)

Baby InstinctIt’s Christmas time and under our tree are a ton of wrapped presents. Our 5 year old is going out of his mind every day wanting soooo sooo badly to open his presents. He is so present-crazed that when we go to the store to pick up bread or other items we need he is willing to spend his saved money from past birthdays to buy small items to ease his discomfort. The desire is so strong I almost feel bad for him. Almost.

My pastor, Pastor Mike Fabarez, used this sermon illustration this past year about babies and I think it is so relevant to this topic. Have you ever seen a baby suck on anything that comes near their mouth? They will suck on anything. Your hand, your keys, the pillow, the floor, your nose. They are looking for the thing they desire most: milk. It is instinct. We have a same guttural desire that we were all born with whether we like it or not. We were all made in the image of God and we all desire him at our core even if we do not know what to call it. I have heard it said to be that we all are born with a “God-Shaped Hole” in our hearts and that until we find God, or more precisely God calls us, we constantly stuff other things in the void in our lives. Think about it. Are you ever really truly satisfied?

Do you find yourself saying to your friend, spouse, parent, or self “If I could just have that (fill in the blank) then I would be happy.” I hear it all the time and used to say it all the time. I always desired the next great purse or car or home. I remember being a kid wanting this or that and seeing that as I got older the items on my list grew bigger and bigger. Have you ever gotten caught up in the “Secret” craze, creating “vision boards”? Mine had a private jet, a butler and chef, a huge estate, and all sorts of other items that I truly believed if I obtained those things THEN I would be happy. Guess what? If you go ask someone who has all those things on the surface they will say they are happy, but if you knew them well they most likely would still feel like something is missing.

Are you able to honestly asses your desires? What gifts are you getting this year for the holidays or your birthday? Would you be willing to give them up? Do you need them so badly that you would justify keeping them? I am not saying the items themselves are bad and that if you do have a private jet then you are not saved. What I am saying is that if your desires for those things or the things themselves become idols in your heart (meaning you are desperate to have them or keep them) then you may want to re-evaluate your relationship with God.

The phenomenal thing about having a true relationship with God is that you feel utterly complete. You lack nothing. There is nothing in this world that you need anymore. Literally. Your lifestyle, your things, your relationships, even your own life becomes inconsequential to God’s will. To put it plainly would you be willing to do any or all of the following if God asked you to. Remember, these are just hypothetical but please make an effort to fully visualize each scenario.

  1. You are called to quit your job and work at an orphanage in the inner city.
  2. You are called to sell your house and move in with a family member to donate most of your money to charity.
  3. You are called to sell your entire shoe (or bag, or baseball card or whatever you collect) collection to help a family down the street who lost their job.
  4. You are called to leave your kids and your spouse indefinitely to go on a mission overseas.
  5. You are called to go to a country and spread the gospel where Christianity is outlawed and punishable by death.

If you are justifying these examples by saying something like, well my husband would never let me do that and God tells me I must obey my husband then you are putting God in a box. Believe me, if God wanted you to leave your kids and husband to do something for him, he would sanctify the decision by making your husband desire you to do it too. God lines up peoples hearts even if they are not his. He uses and animated every single person on the planet. You may also say you are too afraid. Well, read Jonah and see how things turned out for him. His heart was truly messed up and he battled God the entire way even after he relented and did what he was told.

Be honest with yourself and test yourself. Determine what you are unwilling to give up. Ask God to help rid these things and that he would reveal himself to you. What a joyous release it is to not have to ever try fitting anything else into the God-shaped void that was in my life. My heart is overflowing with joy and true life-breathed completeness that I never thought possible!

Shalom!