Fruit

Published on Feb 6th, 2013 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0

In II Corinthians 3, Paul is getting beat up once again.  People were attacking his credibility. They were pressuring him to produce what credentials he held.  Where were his letters of recommendation from those people “in the know”?  People are like that.  As a group or as individuals, they come up with arbitrary standards of what they believe is being a successful parent, spouse, worker, church member, pastor, etc (you can fill in the blank).  They then try to judge us based on those standards.  We often find ourselves bowing to their pressures of acceptance.  If we do not measure up, which we never really do because their superiority is the whole point, then we react in several destructive and always, frustrating ways.  It is possible that we even begin to question if we are able to be used by God.

 

Paul, though, does the opposite.  He looks for the acceptance of God with his life’s work by looking into his own heart and then he looks at the fruit in the Corinthian’s lives.  In verse 2, he finds in himself and in those he works with, a deep love for the Corinthian believers.  He knows of all of the struggles the Corinthians are having and that in themselves, they are not all that lovely.  He realized that this love he has for them must be a work of God on his heart.  That becomes proof of the work of God through Paul.

 

He then looks at their lives and sees a change in them that can only be from the work of Christ in their lives.  He realizes that God has used him to speak the truth, and that God is using that truth to change their lives.  Christ is writing the letter of their changed lives through the work of the Holy Spirit, but Paul is being given the privilege to deliver that letter.

 

So do not spend so much time listening to the arbitrary standard of those who simply want to make themselves look better.  But do spend a lot of time allowing the Spirit of God to show you your heart.  People are messy and often unlovely, but do you find yourself still feeling compassion and love toward them?  Do you find that you still love the very people who are trying to judge you by the rules and regulations that Christ has set you free from?  That is a work of God in your life and is a tell tale sign that he is working through you.

 

Take the time today to look around.  What lives around you are being changed by Christ through the Holy Spirit of God through the message that you are preaching and teaching?  How is your spouse more like Christ?  Your children?  That friend you prayed for or with?  That co-worker?  That church member you wrote the letter of encouragement to?  Remember you are looking for fruit that only God can bring.  You cannot use the measures of success that people make up.  Being used by God in the sanctifying process in someone’s life is an immeasurable joy.  I would encourage you that when you look around you do not look with a false humility (this just means that you are taking credit that you do not deserve).  Most people would say that they are impacting no one.  This could be false humility, lack of obedience, or an indication that the Spirit does not live in their lives.  If you are faithfully sharing the Word of God, he will use that truth to change people.

 

We may love to receive ink recommendations from people.  We may also love the easy measurement standards of the black and white laws written on the stone tablets.  But it is when we let go of those measurement standards, take a step back from self promotion, and look at the beauty of the work of God on someone’s heart, it is then, that we are able to rejoice in how God is using our preaching and teaching of his Word to change lives.  No greater joy than being part of that kind of ministry in people’s lives.

 

So keep sharing the Word with your children.  Keep praying for your spouse.  Keep using the Word to encourage people.  The rule of success is not in great numbers or even in huge changes in people’s lives.  It is often is simply seeing God slowly change them into his son’s image a little bit every day.  The joy is knowing that you have the privilege of sharing the truth that God uses in their lives.

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