Is there Fruit in your Church?
Does your church have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control pouring from its leaders and most of its people, on your campus and into the streets where its people are? If not, something is terribly wrong!
Christianity is not just the proclamation of the Gospel; it is also the example of the Gospel!
This begs for a question: why do so many Christians see their faith as “on hold” until when it may be needed, and/or are doing nothing or just what they can get away with?
Is the Fruit of the Spirit in you and in your Church?
How many of us have ever ventured into a church that was filled with unkindness, where we were ignored or even mistreated and where the church seemed more like a thorn bush than a fruitful vine…a church filled with a bad atmosphere from the bad spiritual breaths of its people making smog instead of the sweet fragrance of God’s presence and love? As a pastor, I have a tough battle to make sure my flock behaves so that Christ would be pleased. And of course, I need to set the tone. I can try my best to set an example so I am not a thorn bush, and I can teach; but I cannot make them behave! I can model, teach, disciple, urge, and pray. But, real, authentic Christian love comes solely from a real, authentic Christian formation. This is caused from the Fruit of the Spirit growing in each of us. If someone is not growing in the Lord, he/she is not willing or able to treat others with love and respect, nor is he/she able to model and do and be as Christ exemplified and taught. Care, compassion, and a real affection for others will be moot, love will be stifled, and kindness absent; and no matter how good the campus, teaching, or mission are, all that will be noticed is an annoying noise. The church will be an irritating and frustrating club of stubborn prideful people, devoid of harmony and brotherly love—devoid of Christ! Do we really want that? If not, what are you willing to do about it?
The essential way to grow a church is to be faithful with our Fruit! No one wants to come to a club where the people are angry, bitter, immoral, impure, corrupt, into idolatry and witchcraft, and full of hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness…and so forth! These are the key words Paul talked about in Romans, chapter one. It is the same with a local church; who wants strife when care and friendship are called for and needed? People will come to a place where there is love and joy, where they are treated with kindness, cared for, allowed to work on themselves while being shown patience and the composure of Christ from the leaders. We need to know that we display Christ by our attitudes and actions. If we do not do this right from what Jesus modeled and taught, we will get our churches all skewed upside down and wrong. We will be the church of the thorn-bush, a fruit-stand devoid of fruit, a place of dysfunction instead of a church of Jesus Christ and His transforming power!
Remember: Christ did not give up on us when things went from bad to worse with our sin. His grace, forgiveness, and perseverance came to us anyway!
Questions to ponder:
We are called to stretch and grow beyond what we think we can do! Remember, our Lord offers His encouragement for all those who are in Him to grow in Him!
What does it take for you to have a greater desire and ability to grow, practice, and apply your faith?
What does it mean to you to make every conceivable effort to put into practice your faith and fruit? How is this necessary for your life?
What have you received from Christ that drives your life? What is in the way? What are you going to do about it?
Remember, Christ is our Empowerment and our Example!
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