Fruit Audit ~ Do You Love God’s Word?

I was going through life as a “Christian” and the one thing that bothered me the most is that other Christians always said they loved reading God’s Word. Pastors would often preach that when you become a Christian you would thirst and hunger after the word of God like a newborn baby thirsts and hungers for his mother’s milk.

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. – 1 Peter 2:2-3, ESV

I don’t know about you, but I just was not getting it. Sure, I read my Bible a couple times a week. Every once in a while I would “commit” to reading the Bible every day. That always lasted about 5 days. I remember the longest I ever consecutively read my Bible was 34 days. You’ve heard it said that to create a habit you have to do something every day for 21 days. I remember vividly thinking “I’ve done it! I’ve created a habit of reading my Bible!” Only to fail on day 35, 36, 37, 38, 39….. Oh shoot, was I supposed to be reading my Bible? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME!!!! Oh the shame. But really, who else knows other than me, myself and God? On I went stumbling through reading (or not reading) my Bible.

So, there you have it. I was convinced that I was doomed to always be burdened with the chore of reading the Bible. I knew it was supposed to be enjoyable and I knew I was supposed to be refreshed by it, but honestly I just wasn’t. Here are a couple verses in the Bible that told me something was wrong.

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, – Romans 7:22, ESV

David said it perfectly in Psalm 19 as seen below and I still did not get it.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; – Psalm 19:7-8, ESV

David made it sound so simple and pure and revitalizing and joyful and enlightening… but for me it was sometimes just boring. I could hardly understand the stuff I read and the things I did understand seemed antiquated or impossible to put into practice. But still I tried. I even prayed as Tozer did for God to open my mind to understanding. It worked sometimes but I knew deep down I was missing something. Something no one could answer for me. Perhaps I was just dumb. My college educated brain was too stupid to understand the Word of God.

And lastly I got to John 8. :(

Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” – John 8:47, ESV

There was my answer. Hindsight is 20/20. I did not realize it at the time, nor could I have predicted the outcome. After 25 years, thinking I was saved and struggling terribly through the Word of God, practically beating myself up with my lack of love for God’s Word, I now understand fully that I was not actually converted. You may take issue with this controversial thought. I can tell you, however, with absolute certainty that the very thing I struggled with has become a complete and utter joy in my life. The Word of God, now that I am truly a “new creation” has been opened to me like I never could have imagined. I literally cannot get enough of it.

The best way I can illustrate this idea is from the perspective of being a mom. Before I had a child people would tell me all the time that my life would change in ways I could not even imagine. “Oh the wonder! Oh the joy!” or so they would say. I remember thinking, all these people are nuts! I love my life and no child is going to change it THAT drastically. Sure it would be different, but all these moms who keep blabbing on and on about motherhood were close to making me puke at times. Flash forward to the day I have my baby, then flash forward 5 years into motherhood and I get it. I drank the “juice” and know EXACTLY what they are talking about. If you don’t have kids yet, this won’t make much sense to you, but if you do, this is what it is like when you become a true converted soul, fully and wholly consecrated to the Almighty Father and LORD Jesus Christ. The Word of God is literally life. I cannot get enough of it now.

With all of that said, you may be wondering about your own salvation and may even want to find out on a deeper level if you are truly saved or have just been in love with Jesus, in love with what Christianity offers, in love with the community, but not fully and 100% devoted to Christ. It is OK to test yourself. Paul asks us to do it.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! – 2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV

Don’t get crazy and start freaking out just yet. This is not meant to scare you but it is meant to give you a reality check. I recommend checking out some of the series below as well as heading over to the Fruit Audit section on www.HolyJustLove.com. Be blessed and be confidently assured of your salvation. It is an amazing thing!

Friday Fruit Audit ~ Do You Share Jesus with People?

People really don’t want to hear about Jesus. I don’t want to offend anyone. I’m terrible at going up to people. I believe what I believe and I let others believe what they want to believe. Evangelizing is OK for pastors and people who seem just a little socially off, but I don’t feel called to do it and besides I’m no good at it anyway.

These are just a few of the excuses I hear people use, myself included. Do you realize that if Paul, Peter, James or any of the other disciples felt this way and acted on their feelings, NONE of us would be saved? Jesus did not just ask his first disciples to preach the gospel, he asked everyone who calls himself or herself a believer and follower of Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us but we must be willing to be his ambassador. We are privileged to help God in the calling of his people.

“But I honestly don’t know how to spread the gospel.” This is a valid response however if your child said, “but I don’t know how to read” I bet you would just stop and say, “You know what? I get it. It is just too hard and confusing for you. Don’t worry about it then. You will be fine…” Yeah, right. Like that would happen. Stop acting like a child and do what your Father has asked you to do. Here is a short list that will help you get started.

1. Practice.
You will never get good at anything unless you practice. Person by person. Start today with just one person.

2. Be prepared.
You need to know what you are sharing. Going around saying to people they need God because he will make their lives better and that he loves them is the worst thing you can do. If you understand the costs associated with following Christ, then you are more able to explain it to someone else. A great place to learn how to share the gospel is at www.sharetheumbrella.com.

3. Understand Your Roll
You should not go up to people and say “Do you want to hear about Jesus?” Think about the last time you bought something that was sold to you. Why did you buy it? You did not just wake up and decide “I’m going to buy a new Toyota today.” There would have been some great marketing done by Toyota along with your own forethought and research to back up your purchase. We do business with people we know like and trust. Don’t assume spreading the gospel is any different than selling anything else. I don’t want to cheapen the gospel by any means but I do want you to think about it the next time you try to shove your religion down anyone’s throat. It never works. There will be times when someone will flat out ask you to share, point by point, what the gospel is. However, more often than not, people will be drawn to your “light” because of your love and the way you live your life. Look for opportunities to share a little bit of Jesus in every conversation. Literally try to think, “How can I mention the name of Jesus in this conversation?” You will start getting good at inserting the Word of God in all your conversations.

4. Pray, Pray, and Pray

  • Ask God every morning for “divine appointments” meaning opportunities to share God’s Word.
  • Ask God every morning for “low hanging fruit” meaning people who want to talk about Jesus who may not know him fully yet.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to speak through you.
  • Any time you share the gospel or are building a relationship with someone, pray for them often.
  • When you share the gospel with others pray regularly for them. Pray that the Holy Spirit would do a great work in them and bring them to repentance.

 

Don’t ever forget, Jesus calls us as his ambassadors to “make disciples.”

“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

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Fruits Audit ~ What does it mean to “bear fruit”?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23a

Most people when they ask themselves the question, “Am I bearing good fruit?” think of the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They simply run through the list to make sure they are “bearing good fruit.” While this is a good place to start, it is by no means an exhaustive list of what what Jesus meant when he said we need to “bear good fruit.” Jesus said in Matthew 7:18-20, “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.” There are over 40 verses in the New Testament that talk about fruit as it pertains to being a converted follower of Christ. Here is a more complete list of what it means to “bear good fruit” but again, it is not exhaustive.

1. Jesus calls us to “make disciples.”
“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

2. Do you crave God more and more each day?
“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

3. Do you walk by the Spirit (Fruit of 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

4. Do you have chronic sin?
“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” – 1 John 3:6-10

5. Do you keep His Commandments?
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. [4] Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, [5] but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: [6] whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” – 1 John 2:3-6

6. Do you love others?
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” – 1 John 4:7-12

7. Do you love your enemy?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

8. Do you love the things of this world?
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17

9. Are you convicted by the Holy Spirit?
“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” – John 16:8-11

10. Do you grow in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word?
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” – John 8:47

Again, this list is not exhaustive but I encourage you to take a look at our Fruits Audit section and read a bit more on each topic.

Below are just a few verses regarding fruit.

“so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:10

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.” – Matthew 12:33

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” – John 15:2

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” – John 15:16

“As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” – Matthew 13:23

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Friday Fruit Audit ~ The Spirit

Do you walk by the Spirit?

The idea is that the more time you spend with God the closer you will become to him and the more you will want to spend time with him. Imagine getting to a place where you no longer need to “carve out” time in your life for God but where you need to carve out time in your walk with God for your life. The Lord promises that if you hunger and thirst to do his will, obey his commands, and follow after him you will be satisfied. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” -Matthew 5:6 (ESV)

In fact, you will be more than satisfied. Take a look at what Peter has to say:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” -1 Peter 1:8 (ESV)

In Peter’s day his readers understood the word “agapo” or “love” to mean continually loving God and as a regular daily activity. The word “pisteuo” or “believe” means to rest your confidence in or to trust in or depend on. The joy of this verse implies joy for the present. The word for rejoice was not commonly used by secular Greek writers of Peter’s day as it meant a deep spiritual joy. As we continually spend time daily with Jesus through faith we rejoice and have joy that is unutterable and exalted. They understood this as wanting more and more of Jesus and that joy was something only believers could experience. Have you experienced this?

Even though I have not seen him, I am active in my love and faith by daily worshiping him through prayer and bible reading. Because of this communion with him I have even deeper joy that is filled with the glory of heaven. By adjusting your life to focus more on God you will inevitably begin to mirror the below verses written by Paul to the Galatians.

“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 (ESV)

My prayer: Father, what a gift you have given me in your Word. Help me to desire it more and more each day. Oh Jesus, I long to see your face. Father, I cannot wait to look upon your face shining like the sun. Holy Spirit, what an honor to know your person living in me. God, my God, I have faith and trust in you; to know that my belief in you brings me heavenly joy is so exciting! To think that perhaps my faith actually rests in you and that you are joyful for it is overwhelming. Thank you for loving me with a love I don’t even have words for.