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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The Source of Fruit…

"How can you know when you are in the flesh and when you are in the Spirit?" The answer is: by what is produced in the life! The flesh invariably produces one kind of life; the Spirit invariably produces another king. Jesus has this truth in mind when he says: "By their fruits you shall know them" -Matt. 7:20.

Until one becomes born again as a Christian, he has no choice but to live by the flesh and produce the life of the flesh. . . . On the other hand, to be born again only supplies the possibility of living in the Spirit; it does not make it automatic. The true Christian can, and often does, manifest the phony righteousness of the flesh, though he can also (and does, as he learns to live by faith) manifest the wholesome qualities of the Spirit.

When we learn how to recognize which force is at work within us, then we shall be ready to learn what to do in order to change from the flesh to the Spirit. The flesh produces death, the Spirit produces life! “. . . the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life." What is being dispensed in the ministry of the flesh? It is death. What is being dispensed in the ministry of the Spirit? It is life.

To depend on everything coming from you, in response to the demand of the law, produces immediate death. To depend on everything coming from God produces immediate life. What is death? The absence of life. Life produces its own distinctive marks; death is the absence of those marks. . . . Jesus said, "I am come that you may have life, and have it abundantly" -John 10:10. Life lived to the full--love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. That's life!

In contrast then, what is death? It is the absence or opposite of those qualities of life. What is the absence of love? Hate. What is the absence of joy? Misery, weariness of spirit. Thus fear, frustration, boredom, worry, hostility, jealousy, malice, loneliness, depression, self-pity--these are all marks of the absence of life, therefore, they are forms of death. We do not need to wait till we die to experience these; they are part of our experience while we are yet living. They represent death in the midst of life.

Whenever the qualities of joy, trust, confidence, beauty, worth, fulfillment are present, they come only from the new covenant. It is the Spirit of God who produces them. They can come from no other source. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:1. God already loves you as much as He ever will, and nothing you could ever do, or not do, would change that fact.

What is the source of my activity? Is it the flesh, or the Spirit? Is it my background, my training, my education, my personality? Or is it God at work in me through Jesus Christ?

The new covenant refreshes the spirit continually. When the human spirit weakens in the face of continued demand (as it was meant that it should), it looks immediately to the God who dwells within and from that Fountain of Living Water takes vigor and vitality to meet even the routine demand before it with unflagging zeal.

People who live on that basis are a delight to work with. They know the secret of their activity is "nothing coming from me but everything from God." That is the permanent glory which never fades. The activity of the flesh is always a fading glory. - (Authentic Christianity, pp. 63-75).

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to demonstrate your fruit in my life, your bolness, your beauty; your wisdom, knowledge, and power; your love, joy, peace, self control, and patience; your loyalty, faithfulness and obedience; your confidence, courage, and compassion; your goodness, kindness, and gentleness. Help me Lord, to be more like Jesus every day. I ask all of this in the mighty and wonderful name of Jesus, for His glory, and for the extension of His Kingdom. Amen.

Be encouraged!

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