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Spiritual Fruit and Religious Nuts

This morning I read about Jesus talking about knowing a tree by its fruit. It got me thinking about his words on abiding in Him and we will bear much fruit, and also Paul’s listing of the “fruit of the Spirit,” being love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. I was also thinking about conversations I’ve had with people lately about “so-and-so said this” “did that” or “is this.” These people, who I love dearly (I do), tend to, however, try and be spiritual fruit inspectors, and do not see a person’s progress, only their perceived “goodness.” And we have a lot of things that we call shameful, sinful and other such things that we label that make me wonder if Jesus, Peter, Paul and the rest would be allowed to come fill a pulpit in one of our congregations.


While Paul does say we’re to judge our own house (see 1 Corinthians 5’s commentary about the household of Christ), he was less concerned about following the rules as he was righteousness. When we get into rule following, we’re more about the righteousness WE can produce, and, loved ones, I want to warn you, this path produces less Spiritual fruit, and more religious nuts. Rule Following leads to a self-righteous attitude, is impatient with new growth, usually lacks kindness, has little to no genuine love, has counterfeit goodness (it’s man-made, not Spirit produced), lacks peace (both inwardly and outwardly), and barely holds things together. So, seek the fruit that is only produced by the Holy Spirit. In other words, let go of the control, and seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. Then all these things will be added unto you.


Galatians 5:


For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.


Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.


You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!


For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.


Keep in Step with 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 keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

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