Thursday, March 19, 2009

Discernment Of Fruit

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

One of the things that Andy and I have heard often over the past several months is people asking how to know if something is from God or not. When something new comes along, it's easy to be cautious, because the last thing we want as Christians is to be tricked into being part of the devil's plans. And last night we were discussing this very thing in the late hours, we know many people who have expressed concern over past months and whether the direction we are following is truly from God. I have to say for one, I love that, because it shows that they do care, and that they want the same thing we want- what God wants. I mean, how do I know that the different Pastors and preachers we've been listening too are telling the truth?

I read these verses this morning and it was one of those light bulb moments, because how do I know a preacher is telling me the truth and is not just rattling off the miles of scripture he has memorized? I can tell by looking beyond the words and the scripture that he is sharing. A non-Christian can memorize the Bible and spit out verse after verse, that's not hard to do. But a real man of God, a person with a real heart for God and the truth will show more signs of God than just a litany of verses- they will bear fruit. I can look at a preacher's life, I can watch them interact with people, and that fruit will be glaringly obvious. I will be able to see the kindness, the patience and the love. Instead of rattling of criticism of others, they will show love and and gentleness, and faithfulness as they pray for others.

Think of an apple tree. When we go to the apple orchard every fall to pick apples, you don't have to hunt the tree for apples. They are glaringly obvious and all over the tree- the fruit is in abundant supply. Pear trees are the same way, the fruit doesn't hide behind the leaves, or produce just a few fruits- the trees, if properly cared for, tend to be loaded with fruit, and very plentiful. So too is a man of God who can be looked up to. The fruit of the Spirit is a wonderful gift that God gave us so that we can see Him in those around us. It also gives us something to aspire to, an example to follow.

I just love thinking about that. I love thinking that maybe someday, the fruit that God is working on inside of me will be glaringly obvious to all those around me. Just as someone walks past an apple tree and knows it's an apple tree, someone will walk past me and say "hey, she's got God."

"...for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10


Rina said...

Erika, I used to be very worried about being "deceived." Like you, I wondered: "how do I KNOW that this is from God?" And then I was reading a book and something jumped out at me that has really changed the way I look at things. I forget what book it was I read, but the quote was by Bill Johnson and he wrote: “I pay no attention to the warnings of possible excess from those who are satisfied with lack.”
Something I wrote on one of my posts about this suject was this: Will we live our lives attempting to remain free from error, only to make the bigger mistake of remaining powerless and out of communication with the Holy Spirit? Will we hide our talents and tell the Master when He comes that we were afraid of being wrong? We are each responsible for guarding our hearts against that which would attempt to destroy our faith.
Anyway, it's not totally on-topic but I just wanted to share that with you.

Erika W. said...

I love that quote by Bill Johnson! I think you are totally on topic- and I think that describes a lot of how I've been thinking and feeling. I certainly don't want to get to the end, look back and tell God I did my best, but I was afraid of taking a wrong turn. Then I didn't do my best did I? I hate that fear holds me back so often. I don't want to skate by on "just enough", I want to finish the race having done my very best, but sometimes that very best really doesn't want to come out. :)