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!

Wednesday Worship ~ Attributes of God ~ God is Soverign

You made me! You made us! You made everything! Your work and creation is far greater than what we could ever hope to make or create. Your intricate creation is perfect and you can do what you want with us when you want. You have every right to make people who are full of wrath in order to show your glory. You have every right to remove your light from people and in them begets great darkness. You have every right to choose whom you will choose and whom you will not choose. You have every right to restrain the full force of evil. You have every right to remove your Spirit and allow Hell on Earth. Come Lord Jesus Come! When is enough enough for you. You are immeasurably patient. Help me to have patience like yours. I long for your Day to come! But you know the perfect time for everything. Your plans are good and perfect.

The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. – Psalm 103:19

The LORD of hosts has sworn, “As I have planned, so it shall be, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand.” – Isaiah 14:24

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

DBR Thought of the Day ~ Hard Pressed

“To live is Christ, to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21

For years I focused on the latter part of this verse. How could he even consider being hard pressed between the two? Of course I would choose to be with God over being here in this broken world. The choice for me was simple. Sadly I was not saved then and even though I thought I was a Christian, I did not fully understand the weight of what Paul was trying to express. God is far more patient than I am, in regard to sinners, but when I look at people in my family who are not saved and then look beyond to my friends, and even further still to those I do not know, and then go one step more to those I dislike, I find my pause in understanding Paul’s heart just a little more. If I live I get to share Jesus, for Jesus, for his kingdom. If I live I get to experience the joy of seeing hearts of stone turn to hearts of flesh. If I live I might gain the eagerly desired approval of my Father whom I hope will say,”Well done my good and faithful daughter!” For that I am willing to wait just a little while longer. For that I will try to be patient.

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