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Fruitfulness

Fruitfulness

As we go through the Gospel of Luke, we’re continuing in the Sermon on the Mount. Having talked about our walk with God and spiritual leadership, Jesus now gets to the heart of the matter.

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.”

Luke 6:43-44

In the natural, the concepts Jesus talks about here are so obvious that they could be considered funny.

“How do I know this is an apple tree?” “Because it’s full of apples!”

“I’m disappointed. I was checking in the weeds behind my house, but I couldn’t find any grapes.”

In the world, these things are self-evident. You know what kind of tree it is by the fruit growing on it. You only look for fruit on a fruit tree.

But, when it comes to spiritual matters, we get foolish. We forget that only good trees produce fruit. We seem to forget what the fruit is that we’re looking for.

There was a young teen in a Christian school, who over and over again made it clear that he didn’t want to follow Christ. One day he completed a writing assignment. It was a term paper about missionaries. It made his teachers cry. One of his teachers said through the tears,”See. I knew he was good. Look at this fruit.”

I’m sorry. I love that young man and hope he follows Christ. But, the art of paper writing is not spiritual fruit.

I’ve heard ungodly, atheistic performers, sing How Great Thou Art or Amazing Grace, and bring the crowd to tears. But, emotional singing is not spiritual fruit.

The Bible is clear on what we look for in a person’s life.

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 5:22-24

These are the evidences of a life yielded to the Holy Spirit. This is what we look for in deciding if a life is producing fruit. Just because a plant has pretty flowers doesn’t make it any less poisonous.

The Lord continues with His explanation.

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45

It all comes down to what you’re putting into your heart. Are you filling it with the Word of God? Or, do you pick up the attitudes and desires of the world? That makes all the difference.

There’s a term we learned in the early days of computing. GIGO – Garbage in, garbage out. It really applies here to our spiritual life.

The fact is that I can pretend to be “good” for the short term. I can act loving, or patient, or kind for a little while. However, producing the fruit of the spirit consistently, over the long term, requires a relationship with the Holy Spirit.

By the power of the spirit, our lives will naturally produce good fruit. I don’t have to force it any more than an orange tree has to force out the oranges. They grow simply because that’s the kind of tree it is.

Don’t waste your time trying to produce spiritual fruit by your own will power. It only comes by time spent with the Lord and His Word. Get that down into your heart. Then, watch as the fruitfulness of your life begins to increase.

Question: How much of the fruit of the spirit is evident in your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2022 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Squatters in God’s Kingdom

Squatters in God’s Kingdom

Over the next couple of weeks or so I’ll be on vacation. While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost some of my most read articles that I feel are important. Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already. If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

What’s your purpose for being a part of God’s kingdom? Are you fulfilling that purpose? Jesus gives some parables to explain God’s priorities.

Today I’ll be looking at the Parable of the Vineyard as recorded in Mark chapter 12, verses 1 through 12. You may want to read it in Scripture before continuing with this post.

In this parable, Jesus tells of a man who owned a vineyard and rented it out to some farmers. According to the terms of the lease, the owner was to get a share of the harvest as payment. This was a normal agreement for property owners in those days.

It’s interesting to see that the owner did all the work to set up the vineyard. All the farmers needed to do was move in and start harvesting.

How does this relate to the kingdom of God? Simply put, the Lord is looking for fruit. It’s not about our church attendance, Bible reading, or even our tithing. He’s looking for the fruit of our relationship with the Holy Spirit that He placed within us.

During His ministry with the disciples, Jesus made this abundantly clear to them.

“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.”
John 15:5

What we have to understand is that this is not our kingdom, but God’s. Everything we have is owned by someone else. Even our very lives belong to the Lord.

Because of this, God is well within His rights to demand anything He wants from us. We know right from the outset that He’s looking for the fruit of the Spirit.

Please understand that the fruit of our relationship with Christ is for the benefit and refreshing of those around us. The fruit of the Spirit are not merely for my personal gain.

The tenants in the parable didn’t understand this. They wanted to keep everything for themselves.

We live in a society where we’ve been taught that in most places – restaurants, stores, etc. – it’s all about what I want or need. Somehow we’ve transferred this mindset into our spiritual life. When it comes to being a part of a local church; I base it on what I can get from it.

What services do you offer me and my family? Do I like the type of music and the length of the worship service? Do I enjoy the way the Pastor delivers his sermons?

Wait a minute!!! Why does God have me in His kingdom? Is it purely for my comfort and enjoyment? No! I serve at the Lord’s good pleasure.

The tenants in this parable made a great mistake. They figured that if they could get rid of the owner’s son, then they could take over the vineyard. After all, squatters have rights.

Too often, I’ve seen this attitude in God’s people. The Bible refers to it as godlessness. Yes, there are many godless Christians.

To be godless simply means that God and His will don’t figure into any of your decisions. You’re living as if there’s no God. These are the squatters in God’s kingdom. They’re living on God’s property as if it belongs to them.

If you’ve been guilty of this attitude, then it’s time to repent. Get back to the purpose you were saved for. We need to be producing the fruit of the kingdom.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:8

Question: What are the fruits of the spirit that you have produced most recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2021 in Anointing, Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Patience Required

Patience Required

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re looking at the expectation and longing that’s in the world right now. Anyone who’s sensitive to the spirit can see that it’s on the increase.

The world system is in great longing for something to happen. They may not understand what they’re looking for. But, Paul says that it’s for God’s people to become the revealed son’s and daughters of God.

It’s for the church of Jesus Christ to wake up and stand to its feet. This is God’s agenda in the church of our generation.

The Apostle Paul was also writing about our spiritual longing for the return of Christ. We all receive this expectation when we’re saved.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:23

I talked about this verse in my last post. When our lives display the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), we’re giving that firstfruits offering to the Lord.

Our desire should be for the world to see Jesus Christ through our lives. When the Holy Spirit enables us to do this, we’re testifying that there’s something more than what we can see in the physical world.

We’re looking forward to when we’ll be clothed in our new resurrected bodies. Our sin nature will finally be dealt with once and for all. That will take place at the return of Christ.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 8:24-25

We were saved in this expectation. Paul makes the obvious statement that you don’t wait expectantly for what you already have.

The bottom line is that we are required to be patient. Unfortunately, patience is not usually one of our strengths. We want what we want ASAP.

However, all through the New Testament, we’re told that patience should be a part of our mindset.

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.

James 5:7

This is probably the hardest part in our walk with the Lord. As someone who’s tried to plant a garden numerous times, I know how hard it is in the natural.

It’s very frustrating waiting for the land to yield the increase. You plant the seed, and then nothing happens for days, and sometimes weeks, depending on the plant.

I plant the seed. What makes it frustrating, is that once I do, it’s out of my hands. I can’t get the plants to grow. Paul understood the spiritual significance of this. Look at how he described his ministry to the Corinthian church.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7

We have to do our part. Then, only God can do His part. I can plant the Word and pray in the spirit (watering), but God is the only one who can bring growth. When we see the start – the firstfruits – we know that the rest is on the way.

Question: What growth have you observed in your life since coming to Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Firstfruits of the Spirit

Firstfruits of the Spirit

In my last post, I talked about the fact that the world system is waiting for the church to be revealed in God’s glory. That’s a body of believers who are walking in maturity. This is the goal Paul is bringing us to in the book of Romans.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Romans 8:22

According to this verse, the whole system is doing two things. The first word Paul uses means to be groaning together. This is a moaning because of the place we find ourselves in.

It speaks of a very narrow place. The world understands that there should be more to life than the petty things they’re chasing after.

The second word Paul uses means to be in birth pains together. Picture this in the spirit…the entire world filled with pregnant, groaning, women. That’s what God sees in regards to His destiny for the church.

In my last article, we saw that the world is desperate to be liberated from its bondage to decay. That’s the physical law that everything goes from new to old and decayed. It’s also known as the Third Law of Thermodynamics for all of us science geeks.

However, the kingdom of God – the church – should be a place where that law has no effect. We should be experiencing healing, prosperity, and joy – in spite of all that’s going on around us.

It’s just like Israel when they were in Egypt. When the plagues came, the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived was unaffected. I believe this is what we’ll experience in the final days before the return of Christ.

Then, those with eyes to see and ears to hear will run to the kingdom of God before it’s too late. I believe that will be the final harvest before the coming of wrath and the return of the Lord.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:23

Now we see another groaning that the apostle talks about. The world system is groaning under the weight of decay. But we, as the body of Christ, are groaning too.

Who is it that’s groaning? It’s those who have the firstfruits of the spirit. That’s an interesting term. I understand the Fruit of the Spirit. That’s the result of the cultivation of the spirit walk.

In Old Testament times under the Law, you could plant fruit trees. According to that Law, you couldn’t touch the fruit for the first three years. Then, in the fourth year, all of the fruit belonged to God.

Then, from the fifth year on, it was considered a mature tree and all the fruit belonged to the owner. Now he could begin to give a firstfruits offering.

The Scripture didn’t say how much to bring for the firstfruits. So, the priests came up with some guidelines which became part of the traditions of the elders.

They said that the least anyone should give is one-sixtieth. However, if you want to be liberal with your offering, you could give one-thirtieth.

That reminds me of how the Lord blesses when we plant the seed of His Word. He blesses thirty, sixty, and even a hundredfold on His Word. He goes above and beyond all we can ask or imagine.

The fact is that those of us who are starting to see the work of God in us begin to groan inwardly. We’re waiting for the full adoption – the complete ransom – the deliverance of our body.

We’re starting to see the first of God’s work in us through the Fruit of the Spirit. But we’re groaning for the whole thing to be accomplished.

Question: How much of the Fruit of the Spirit do you see in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Pleasing to God

Pleasing to God

As we continue on in the book of Romans, Paul shows us the clear choice that we’re faced with.

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

Romans 8:6-8

The choice laid before us is death vs. life and peace. It’s clear from Scripture that this has always been the choice throughout history.

We need to understand that peace is the total blessing of God. In opposition to that, the mind focused on the flesh is hostile toward God. Therefore, it cannot submit to God’s law because it doesn’t have the power to submit.

It’s a simple fact that a mind focused on the things pertaining to the flesh cannot please God. That’s because God isn’t impressed by our rules, feelings, logic, or will-power.

What exactly does the Bible say about pleasing God?

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

This verse makes it clear. The only way to please God is through the condition of our heart. If that’s the case, than what does it take to have a heart that’s pleasing to the Lord?

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…

Colossians 1:9-10

It takes spiritual wisdom and understanding in order to please God. On top of that, we must bear fruit. I assume he’s talking about the fruit of the spirit. These are not things that can be accomplished by our mind or our flesh.

This was evident in the life of Christ.

So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”

John 8:28-29

This is the foundation of how Jesus pleased the Father. He spoke as He was taught by the Father. That means His wisdom and understanding came from a spiritual source. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit the same way He wants us to walk.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

1 John 3:21-22

When John says that we obey His commands; what’s he talking about? Is it the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on Mount? No, it’s the spiritual instructions we receive as we spend time in the presence of God.

That’s what pleases the Lord. It’s all about our spirit-walk. According to the verse in Romans, above, without my spiritual walk, I do not have the power to please God. Don’t neglect the most important part of your relationship with God. Spend some intimate time with the Holy Spirit.

Question: What has the Holy Spirit impressed you to do lately?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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In Step with the Spirit

In Step with the Spirit

As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Roman church, I’ve been talking, in detail, about the mind controlled by the spirit.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Romans 8:5

In my last post, I ended by talking about how the fruit of the spirit are a result of the seed planted in our spirit. This is accomplished through prayer in the spirit.

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

It just seems obvious to me that to get fruit, you must sow seed. Scripture is clear that you reap what you sow. So we must sow to the spirit.

This means that we stop sowing to the flesh, which is trying to follow the law in our own power. We also need to spend more time sowing to the spirit through prayer in the spirit.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:24-25

This verse literally tells us that to live by the spirit, we need to march in rank with the spirit. Please understand, Paul had a rich spiritual prayer life. He was mature in the Lord. If we want his results, then we need to follow his pattern. It’s this prayer life that crosses us over into maturity.

For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.

Philippians 3:3

When Paul wrote this, there were those who pushed an outward practice of self-righteousness. They mandated circumcision for believers. In the apostle’s teaching, he totally denied this practice. The “we” in this verse refers to those who have been taught and trained by Paul.

Paul says that we are the truly set apart to God. We are the ones who have had the sin removed by a circumcision of the heart. But, most importantly, we worship by the Spirit of God.

It’s not about whose flesh worships God. And, it’s not those whose mind chooses to worship God. It’s those who worship by the spirit. They are the ones who have had the influence of the flesh removed.

The Greek word Paul used for confidence means to be convinced by argument, to pacify, conciliate, consent to, or rely on. That’s our biggest problem and weakness from the flesh. It’s only removed through the spirit.

Some people want to know why I push prayer in the spirit so much? I believe it’s the key to our freedom. Life lived in the spirit sets us free from the constant mind battles.

We need to lay hold of our freedom in Christ. To do this we must follow the same pattern as the early church. That means quality time praying in the spirit.

In my next post, I’ll give a testimony of what I’ve experienced in setting out on this path.

Question: How often, if ever, do you pray in the spirit?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Planting in the Spirit

Planting in the Spirit

I’ve been taking a few posts to talk about setting our minds on the things of the spirit. Paul told us that was the key to overcoming the desires of the flesh.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Romans 8:5

I ended the last post by showing that our New Covenant ministry brings life and righteousness. That is, if we minister this life-giving covenant correctly. How exactly does it bring bring about God’s righteousness in us?

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

It comes by spending intimate time with the Holy Spirit. It’s by the Spirit that we’re transformed. That’s the point I’ve been consistently trying to make. Our strength and will-power have nothing to do with it.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

Galatians 5:16-18

Don’t turn this around like so many self-righteous believers do.

“If you can stop gratifying the flesh, you will be walking in the spirit.”

Absolutely not!!! The Pharisees were not anywhere near walking in the spirit. Yet, they had an almost perfect track record in regards to outward sin.

Legalism is not the answer. The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount don’t change you. It’s living by the spirit that brings righteousness.

According to this verse, if you “spirit-walk” you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. What is this spirit-walk? Obviously it doesn’t involve my flesh or my mind.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

1 Corinthians 14:14

Do you really hear what this verse says? When my spirit prays, my mind bears no fruit. And, for sure, my flesh bears no fruit.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Galatians 6:7-8

The Bible is clear; you reap what you sow. Actually, the original Greek does not have the words, please, in it. It tells us that if you sow to your flesh, you reap destruction from your flesh.

If, on the other hand, you sow to your spirit, you reap eternal, perpetual life.

How do I reap perpetual life? By sowing into my spirit. I believe that’s talking about prayer in the spirit. It’s my spirit praying and bringing me into God’s presence. That’s how I sow into my spirit.

This is made abundantly clear if you read Galatians 5:19-23. In that passage you can clearly see the difference between the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. I believe that prayer in the spirit is the key to seeing this fruit in our lives.

Question: How much of the Fruit of the Spirit is evident in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Producing Fruit

Producing Fruit

In my last post, we started looking at Paul’s example of the marriage. He was using it to explain how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and the world.

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:4

This is the verse that we ended with. However, we hadn’t talked about the second half of the verse.

Paul makes it clear that we’ve been set free for a purpose. Now we can be fruitful toward God. Remember, this is in the context of using marriage as the example.

When we’re speaking about marriage, being fruitful is equivalent to having children. Gently put, it’s the seed of the man delivered into the life of the woman. This is another common illustration of Scripture.

Think about what Christ taught in His parable of the sower and the seed.

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Matthew 13:23

Jesus was talking about a person who is receiving the seed of God’s Word. In terms of our discussion, I would say that the good soil is a life that’s lost connection with sin, the law, and the world.

This is in agreement with other verses we’ve been given.

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.

Colossians 1:6b

The Good News is the Word of God. Does it immediately bear fruit when you receive it? No, you must receive it and understand God’s grace working through it.

Think about it. Sometimes a group of believers are all attending the same church. They all hear same good news – the Word of God. Yet, in spite of this, only some bear fruit. That’s because they’re missing the grace ingredient.

That brings us to an obvious question; what’s the fruit? Jesus talked about it with His disciples.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:7-8

For every fruit in the natural, there’s a supernatural expression. Jesus had the ability to either provide money from His purse or the mouth of a fish. He made it clear that He could either buy a meal for 5000 people or break fish and bread to feed them all.

The fact is, as long as we’re content to serve in the natural, we have no need of intimacy with Christ. If we want to see the supernatural work of God through us, that will require the Word of God and His grace in us producing fruit.

That’s the real question. Do I want the glory; or do I want God to receive glory through my life? For God to be praised, I must allow His Word to work through me. I must develop intimacy with the Lord through His Holy Spirit.

Question: What does it take to allow God’s Word to produce fruit in us?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Squatters in God’s Kingdom

What’s your purpose for being a part of God’s kingdom?  Are you fulfilling that purpose?  Jesus gives some parables to explain God’s priorities.

Today I’ll be looking at the Parable of the Vineyard as recorded in Mark chapter 12, verses 1 through 12.  You may want to read it in Scripture before continuing with this post.

In this parable, Jesus tells of a man who owned a vineyard and rented it out to some farmers.  According to the terms of the lease, the owner was to get a share of the harvest as payment.  This was a normal agreement for property owners in those days.

It’s interesting to see that the owner did all the work to set up the vineyard.  All the farmers needed to do was move in and start harvesting.

How does this relate to the kingdom of God?  Simply put, the Lord is looking for fruit.  It’s not about our Church attendance, Bible reading, or even our tithing.  He’s looking for the fruit of our relationship with the Holy Spirit that He placed within us.

During His ministry with the disciples, Jesus made this abundantly clear to them.

“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.”
John 15:5

What we have to understand is that this is not our kingdom, but God’s.  Everything we have is owned by someone else.  Even our very lives belong to the Lord.

Because of this, God is well within His rights to demand anything from us.  We know right from the outset that He’s looking for the fruit of the Spirit.

Please understand that the fruit of our relationship with Christ is for the benefit and refreshing of those around us.  The fruit of the Spirit are not merely for my personal gain.

The tenants in the parable didn’t understand this.  They wanted to keep everything for themselves.

We live in a society where we’ve been taught that in most places – restaurants, stores, etc. – it’s all about what I want or need.  Somehow we’ve transferred this mindset into our spiritual life.  When it comes to being a part of a local church; I base it on what I can get from it.

What services do you offer me and my family?  Do I like the type of music and the length of the worship service?  Do I enjoy the way the Pastor delivers his sermons?

Wait a minute!!!  Why does God have me in His kingdom?  Is it purely for my comfort and enjoyment?  No!  I serve at the Lord’s good pleasure.

The tenants in this parable made a great mistake.  They figured that if they could get rid of the owner’s son, then they could take over the vineyard.  After all, squatters have rights.

Too often, I’ve seen this attitude in God’s people.  The Bible refers to it as godlessness.  Yes, there are many godless Christians.

To be godless simply means that God and His will don’t figure into any of your decisions.  You’re living as if there is no God.  These are the squatters in God’s kingdom.  They’re living on God’s property as if it belongs to them.

If you’ve been guilty of this attitude, then it’s time to repent.  Get back to the purpose you were saved for.  We need to be producing the fruit of the kingdom.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:8

Question: What are the fruits of the spirit that you have produced most recently?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2018 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Spirit-Fruit: Self-Control

In today’s post, I’m looking at the last of the Fruit of the Spirit.  They’re found in Galatians 5:22-23.

When we talk about self-control, we usually end up referring to a person’s will-power.  I’m happy to say that your will-power has nothing to do with this fruit.  The Holy Spirit wants to produce something in you that’s way beyond your ability.

The Greek word that’s translated as self-control, in speaking of the fruit, is a word that literally means an inner strength.  It’s not about your flesh trying to control itself from the outside.  True change only takes place when we strengthen the inner man.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:25

The word for having the fruit of self-control is translated goes into strict training in this verse.  We all have an inner drive to accomplish something with our lives.  It doesn’t matter whether the purpose is good or not, all of us are driven people.

When we come to Christ, our goal should be to please Him and complete His assignment for our lives.  That may or may not be very high on our list of drives.  Spending time with the Holy Spirit allows Him to increase the drive to fulfill our destiny in Christ.

That’s why will-power has nothing to do with it.  An athlete’s drive to win the Olympics will override any desire to pig-out on chocolate.  The greater my desire for the finish line, the more self-control I can exercise.

As the Holy Spirit increases our desire to defeat the enemy, our inner strength to stay on course grows as well.  Yes, it’s victory in the spiritual battle that’s the ultimate prize for us.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10

This verse has a lot to say to us.  It uses three different words for power.  First, be strong in the Lord means to let Him endue you with His power.

Then Paul says that this power will strengthen us (the fruit) with God’s ability.  Wow!  That’s a mouthful.  But the bottom line is that God doesn’t want us relying on our own will-power to serve Him.  By the power of the Spirit, He wants to bring our inner strength up to the level of His ability.

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance…
Colossians 1:10-11a

This verse says it all.  The only way to live a life worthy of the Lord, please Him in every way, and bear fruit is to be strengthened with all power by the Lord’s might.

Stop trying to fight your battle against sin on your own.  Let the Holy Spirit work His power in you.  With the Lord’s ability, you can overcome any obstacle.

Spend time in the Spirit and let the Lord cultivate the fruit of self-control in you.  It’s well worth the spiritual investment.

Question: What was a recent time that you saw God’s self-control operating through you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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