“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
John 15:8 NLT
Our spiritual fruitfulness brings glory and honor to God, the Father. It is the only way that the unsaved world and the devil, recognizes those who truly belong to God. Miracles, signs and wonders follow us as the disciples of Jesus; but it is really in our ability to bear spiritual fruit that God takes the glory.
Our spiritual development begins with the manifestations of each of the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Each one of the manifestations of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, does has a significant role to play in the development of our total man (spirit, soul and body).
But as Christians we must acknowledge that, we do also need the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, for us to be able to function in the offices, or in the callings of God over our lives. No matter what we are doing in the Kingdom of God, we do need the gifts of the Holy Spirit to function effectively. The gifts of the Holy Spirit boosts our level of productivity in the Kingdom of God.
Our ability to stand in the offices or callings of God, is what positions us for God’s glory. As Jesus said in John 15:8, this is only possible as we are being fruitful while abiding in Him. But the gifts of the Holy Spirit helps us to stand in the callings or offices of God for our lives.
Are you an Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher or an Evangelist? You can’t stand in the call of God over your life, without the manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
But even then none of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, can be imparted to you, without your ability to bear the nine spiritual fruit.
Spiritual growth is normal for any Christian. A believer in Christ who is not growing is spiritually unhealthy. When a child is sick, we do have enough sense to get a medical Doctor involved with the situation concerning the child. When a Christian is spiritually sick or unhealthy, we don’t go to any one else but to God for help. Only God can fix the unhealthy situation in the life of a Christian.
In most cases when a Christian is spiritually unhealthy, it is evident to us that such a Christian is still holding on, to certain aspects of his or her past lifestyle. Such a believer is in need of our help and spiritual support to be able to stand boldly before God.
Righteous living helps us to bear spiritual fruit. As mentioned last week an unrighteous lifestyle, is what often drags a Christian back and forth between the Church and the unsaved world. And there are so many who are living this type of lifestyle, on a sloppy plain in the Kingdom of God today. They want to live the triumphant Christian lifestyle, but they can’t seem to break away from the worldly lifestyle in their past.
Many of them do often use the excuse of seeking to be relevant, in influencing the unsaved world with the gospel, as a smokescreen for clinging on to their sinful and unhealthy lifestyles.
They remain spiritually unhealthy, and like the fig tree, which Jesus cursed in Mark chapter 11, they do run the risk of being completely cut off from the body of Christ. We do need spiritual health to keep on track with our spiritual growth or spiritual development.
GET YOUR SPIRITUAL WEIGHT RIGHT
Sometimes spiritual growth can be spontaneous, instant and may be aggressive. But if the fruit of the Holy Spirit is not being developed simultaneously, as spiritual growth is taking place in a believer; the result can be disastrous for that believer. This is what opens the door for a faulty foundation, in the spiritual life of such a believer.
In many cases Christians with a faulty spiritual foundation, are confused in their faith confessions and in the doctrines of Christ, as they are spiritually unstable or unfocused. The enemy often uses the confusion in their lives, to create divisions within various congregations, as they move about from one local church to another. This is why the fruit of the Holy Spirit is very important for any Christian, who desires spiritual growth.
Each one of the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit are essential for the building up of the Christian character in us. If for any reason at all spiritual growth occurs in a believer, without the fruit of the Holy Spirit, in building up the Christ-like character in such a believer. The spiritual weight that is being accumulated with the speed in spiritual development, can cause a spiritual breakdown in such a believer.
This is due to the fact that the Christian character is not being built up, due to the absence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, even as spiritual development or growth is taking place.
An unrenewed mind in a believer that is experiencing any spiritual growth or development, is nothing short of a puffed up mind. This is a scenario for disaster to occur in such a believer.
This was the type of problem that Paul confronted among the Corinthians, as those whose Christian character had not been developed went about creating division within the Church. They went about spreading rumors about some people following Appolos and others following Paul.
Apostle Paul had to address the divisiveness among them, when he wrote to them that:
“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 NIV
This situation is typical of a believer who is unfruitful, while it may seem to us that he is growing spiritually. We need the gift of the discernment of spirits, to be able to identify this and to deal with it immediately.
The Christian character in us is needed to help us, in carrying the spiritual weight that is being accumulated in our spiritual development or growth. The Christian character in us helps us in carrying the deposits of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
There are certain things that the Holy Spirit will never deposit into our spirit man, because He knows that our Christian character has not been well developed to carry the spiritual weight of such deposits.
THE WORD AND THE LOVE (COMPASSION) OF GOD
Many believers do often backslide as a result of this deficiency of the Christian character in their lives. Jesus pointed this out to us in the Parable of the Sower, when He said:
“Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.”
Mark 4:16-17 NIV
Those who quickly fall away from the body of Christ did so, because of the lack of spiritual growth in them. They have no spiritual root in God’s word, or in His love for them to grow up spiritually.
We cannot develop the Christian character without the love of God. The love of God is the foundation of the Christian character in all born again Christians.
God’s love will always cause us to grow spiritually. Love (compassion) works on the inner man to do what Paul mentioned in Ephesians 3:14-20, when he wrote that:
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”
Ephesians 3:14-20 NKJV
When we are able to receive and believe in the love of God, we will become rooted and grounded in Him who is Love (1 John 4:8). That’s why the devil will always try to steal, the word of God from the heart of any believer in Christ, because he does not want him or her to be rooted and grounded in Love.
He will try to make such a believer to take offense at God’s word, with the purpose of preventing the word of God from having any root in that life (Mark 4:17). And if the word of God has no root in a believer’s life, then the believer is not going to be rooted and grounded in God’s love.
The devil also knows that it is the power of God’s word, that causes us to be rooted and grounded in God’s love. He will use his tactic to render the word of God of no effect in a believer’s life, so as to hinder spiritual growth or development in that believer.
We must recognize that love is the initial fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives as Christians. When we are growing in love, we are also spiritually growing up into maturity.
But when we begin to see the word of God, as being offensive to our spiritual lifestyle (Mark 4:17), then we can’t grow in love. And if we can’t grow in love, then we can’t experience what Paul said in Ephesians 3:17.
In other words if we are not growing in the word of God, then we can’t grow in His love or be established, so as to be rooted and grounded in love. Being rooted and grounded in God’s love is what sparks off our spiritual growth or development.
That’s why Jesus said in the Parable of the Sower:
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.”
Mark 4:3-4 NKJV
“The birds of the air” are the forces of the evil one. Their work is to make any believer in Christ reject God’s word, and thereby hinder his love walk.
The moment we take offense at God’s word, the devil steals that word away from us. He uses that to prevent us from growing in love. And he uses the lack of growth in the love walk, to hinder spiritual development in Christians.
That’s why Christians who reject some portions of the scriptures, while holding on to others, are never growing up in the love of God. They can’t experience God who is love, if they are rejecting any one of His written word.
John said by the Holy Spirit:
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
Revelation 22:18-19 NKJV
We can’t grow up spiritually if we are not going to accept the whole bible, as God’s word (His spoken Word) into our lives.
Jesus said in the Parable of the Sower:
“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
Mark 4:20 NKJV
Those who accept the whole Bible as the word of God to them, without rejecting any of it are the ones referred to here by Jesus. They are the ones who are bearing spiritual fruit, and their love walk opens the door for the gifts of the Holy Spirit into their lives, while enabling them to bear more fruit.
The spiritual growth or development of such believers is unhindered by the devil. They may have some bumps on the road to spiritual growth or development. But their overall spiritual outlook is great. They are the ones who will often use the troubles of their lives, to develop more spiritual muscles as they are growing up before the Lord.
It is the root of our strong and solid foundation of love, that empowers us to stand up against the devil, in enjoying the blessing of the Lord.
DEMONSTRATION OF THE WORD BY WALKING IN GOD’S LOVE
In Paul’s writing to the Corinthians about the Macedonian Church, he said:
“There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be.”
2 Corinthians 9:1-3 NIV
These believers at Macedonia were going through some spiritual challenges, that were affecting their overall economic outlook from the outside of the Church. But they never allowed that to affect their giving spirit.
The love of God was strong among them, because they were strong in the word of God.
The Macedonian Church was able to partake in the grace of God, with the abundance of joy, which is another manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit. They were walking and living in all of the manifestations of the fruit of the Holy Spirit among them, even in the midst of abundance of trials and tribulations concerning their faith. Their Christian character had been built up to carry the spiritual weights in the midst of persecutions. The Macedonians had learnt to develop spiritual muscles in the midst of trials and persecutions. It is important to note that they never lacked in spiritual gifts or finances. They were able to give and become a blessing to other Churches across Europe, because of the manifestations of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their midst.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit were never lacking in this Church. They were rooted and grounded in God’s word. And this had affected their love walk also as they gave.
MY RUSSIAN EXPERIENCE
During a recent mission trip to Russia I was able to witness such love in one of the local congregations. This was in a Church whose foundation was laid in the love of God. The giving spirit in this congregation is so amazing. No wonder they were truly growing in the word and the power of the Holy Spirit.
They will not allow the enemy to create division in their midst, but were always prepared to shut the door on his face by keeping themselves in the love of God. No wonder this Church is supporting and sponsoring, other numerous missionary endeavors across the world today. The love of God is working in an amazing way to bless the nations through them.
Are you allowing the fruit of the Holy Spirit to build up your Christian character? It is wonderful when you allow God to work through your life to bring about changes to affect your world. Keep up in the spirit with the flow of God. Your spiritual growth or development will cause you to do great exploits for the Lord.