Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fruit

Fruit, fruit everywhere I turn! It seems God is trying to show me something...

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3:8 This verse keeps coming up, along with many others that reference fruit.

Let's break it down, word by word, using my trusty friend dictionary.com.

Produce

1. to bring into existence; give rise to; cause: to produce steam.
2. to bring into existence by intellectual or creative ability: to produce a great painting.
3. to make or manufacture: to produce automobiles for export.
4. to bring forth; give birth to; bear: to produce a litter of puppies.
5. to provide, furnish, or supply; yield: a mine producing silver.

Fruit

1. any product of plant growth useful to humans or animals.
3. the edible part of a plant developed from a flower, with any accessory tissues, as the peach, mulberry, or banana.
5. anything produced or accruing; product, result, or effect; return or profit: the fruits of one's labors.

in keeping with something (from the free dictionary)

1. because of something. There will be no flowers at the funeral, in keeping with the family's wishes.
2. suited to something. The new windows are in keeping with the colonial style of the house.

Repentance

1. deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like.
2. regret for any past action.

So - bring into existence a product, result or effect that goes along with your deep sorrow and regret for past sin.

That stuff that you used to do, (Ahem, that I used to do - lest I forget that God is speaking to me, and you are just innocent bystanders...) not only quit doing it, but be grieved that you (I) used to do it, and do it no more. AND what you do do (yes, I meant to say do do), make sure it reflects your sorrow over what you (I) used to do. Make sure people see you have been transformed, and not because you raised your hand, repeated after someone, and have since tried to be a better person. No, because you entered into a binding, eternal and covenantal relationship with the creator of the universe and He is making you a new creature in Christ Jesus.

In other words, if we are truly repentant, our present and future actions will not look like our old ones. And not because we are suddenly "better" people, but because we have invited God to live in us and have welcomed His transforming power into our lives. The whole new creation business...

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Further, if our fruit doesn't look like love, we cannot be claiming to be producing it in Jesus' name. If we are looking to get credit for what we are doing, or doing it in hopes of getting something in return? Nope. Try again. Be ever mindful that our righteousness is as dirty rags to God. Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Philippians 3:9 not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Oh yes, the law! One of my favorite things to rant about!

Romans 10:4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Galatians 2:21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

Look out for the pharisees. They are alive and well. You know who I'm talking about. Those people, I like to call them professional pretenders, who appear to be perfect. The key is appearances. It's all about convincing everyone around them that they have it all together and know all the answers. There is a Shane and Shane song that I love that says, "what the law could not do, God did." If we had the power within ourselves to get it right, to be "better", holy, righteous, than Jesus died for nothing.

We mustn't set aside the grace of God. It's by His grace we can do anything. Apart from Him we can do nothing. Apart from Him we are nothing. John 15:5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

There it is. More fruit. With out a living, breathing, active relationship with the Vine, we got nothing. We can do nothing. We are nothing.

1 comment:

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