“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.”
1 John 3:2 NLT
Our spiritual lives as the children of God was designed by God to be fruitful, just as the life of Jesus on earth was fruitful. As Christ was on this earth, so are we also. And that’s the way God sees each one of us.
We were all created in the exact image of Christ Jesus. God desires that we see ourselves on earth in this way also. The devil himself sees us in this way also, but he is terrified in fearful dread of God’s capabilities through us.
We are like Christ Jesus here on earth. Everything that we do should always reflect His glory in us. Our ability to bear spiritual fruit, is crucial to the manifestation of that glory of Christ through us.
But unfortunately if we are not abiding in Christ, we will be unable to be fruitful so as to reproduce after Him. Jesus explained what it means to abide or remain in Him, when He said:
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:4-8 NIV
Jesus said “…remain in me, as I also remain in you.”
In other words when we are living the Christian life, with a Christ inside minded attitude; that’s how we can truly begin to experience the reality of His life on the inside of us. A believer in Christ who is not living with this reality, will soon begin to forget that he is, in fact the righteousness of God in Christ.
Many are no longer abiding in Christ, because they are not living with that conscious mentality, on their inner man of Christ’s righteousness being in them.
Living consciously with the mentality of Christ’s righteousness on the inside of us, is what makes us holy before God. We are holy, set apart for God’s glory, because of Christ living on the inside of us, who is the hope of that glory. The world does not know you or recognize you yet, because you do not belong to the world, and the world does not know God. But that’s what they are all seeking, yearning, waiting and longing for – your manifestations as the sons and daughters of God.
You are therefore holy not because of some special anointing or revelation. You are anointed and holy because of the working of the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in your life. The nine fruit of the Holy Spirit works with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in manifesting the glory of God through you here on earth.
You are therefore set apart to God or holy, for the manifestations of miracles, signs and wonders. Your ability to live a holy life has nothing to do with, how you dress or any other things that you wear. You see, religious externalism in hypocrisy is not holiness.
Living with the inside minded consciousness of Christ, who is in you is what makes you holy or a saint of God. You became a saint from the moment, when you were set apart for God. God already has His hand in your life. All that you need to start doing now, is to learn to listen to Him as you continue to abide in Him.
This is how the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit will continue to work together in your life, until your flesh (not your spirit man or your mind), begins to discern between good and evil in this world (Hebrews 5:13-14). That is your pathway to living a holy life – your flesh must begin to discern between the good and evil of this world.
A believer who is not abiding in Christ can never understand this. It is a lifestyle that is unattainable to them. The life of Christ seems like a fantasy to them. This lifestyle in Christ Jesus seems so unattainable to them, due to their lack of faith in their ability, to sustain the righteousness of Christ in them. Living a lifestyle of faith in God, is what is needed to sustain the life of the righteousness of Christ in you.
NO FAITH, NO SPIRITUAL FRUIT
The scriptures actually says:
“But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
Romans 10:6-11 NIV
Paul laid it out plainly here. If you are not ready to start acting, and living as if the Bible is real and true to you, you will never experience the power of God for salvation in your life. It is that simple.
And there had been so many, who had ran away from living the Christian lifestyle, because they kept wondering as Paul said here:
..”who will ascend into heaven? (that is to bring Christ down)..”
But the very same scriptures warned them about the danger of thinking or wondering about such things. It says in verse 6:
…”Do not say in your heart.”...
Paul pointed out here to us, not to ever even entertain such a thought about Christ Jesus. It doesn’t means that such thoughts of unbelief and doubts, about Christ’s resurrection will not come. They will always come, and the devil is the one putting those thoughts in you.
But we are being warned about the danger of tolerating them. We are not to even allow such thoughts into our hearts. Yet many had entertained them, and it had led to their demise away from their faith walk before God.
Such an unfruitful Christian lifestyle begins when a believer starts thinking and wondering, if Christ will really come down from heaven, to appear physically to them, before they will start believing in Him. Faith does not act like that. A believer in Christ who struggles to live a fruitful lifestyle, will always live on a “fantasy Island” like this.
These are the Christians with this Thomas’ faith, who are trying to get the blessing of Abraham. No, Abraham’s blessing will not come like that to you. And since such people are not abiding in faith, Christ is not real to them. They can only fantasize about Him in their head, but their heart is far away from obedience to God’s words.
And since they can’t use their Thomas’ faith to get Abraham’s blessing, their Christian life had remained unfruitful. They are not growing in Christ, and their faith in Him had been stalled.
SPIRITUAL FRUITFULNESS IS YOUR CALL FROM GOD FOR CHANGE
But spiritual fruitfulness is essential for our spiritual growth. To bear spiritual fruit as the children of God, Christ told us that we have to remain in Him. The way we abide in Him is by first rejecting doubts, and then by activating the law of faith through our confessions. Our confessions are based on His written words in the Bible to us, and not based on what you are going through right now. Faith confesses what is believed with the heart.
So by abiding in Him we are also telling Him, that we do cherish the covenant relationship which we do have with Him. We can’t say that we are in a covenant relationship with Him, if we are not living by the terms of our covenant with Him in His blood.
In order to keep our relationship with Him healthy and fruitful, we need to be making certain changes in our lives. Changes are sometimes difficult, but they are necessary for our spiritual growth and development.
Jesus said again about what God does in making us fruitful as His Branch:
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
John 15:2 NIV
The process of pruning is harsh to the vine tree. It is a process that makes a beautiful vine tree initially look ugly. God removes every thing in our lives, that we had based our dependency upon. He removes those things, so that we may start depending solely on Him and on His word.
The pruning process is not an easy thing to go through, but it is a necessary process that makes a tree much more fruitful and productive.
Our spiritual life is just like this. God, the Father is the One who does the pruning in our lives. He does that to make us into the vessel that will be able to carry His glory.
There are people who had resisted the pruning of God, only to find themselves eventually out of the household of faith. They had rejected the spiritual pruning of God, and in doing so they had rejected God also. Making the lifestyle changes to reflect the image of Christ inside them, was too much changes for them to make.
The Prophet Jeremiah was once directed by God, to go to a Potter’s house where God gave him a message for the nation of Israel, about the changes that was coming over the nation:
“He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”
Jeremiah 18:6 NIV
The clay in the hands of the Potter is messy. Everything really looks so marred and ugly in the hands of the Potter; but by the time the Potter is finished with molding the clay into his desired object, we will see a masterpiece of art in his hand as the finished product.
This is what the pruning process looks like initially to the Vine tree, but as it begins to bring forth fruit and becomes productive, we are amazed about what a tree like that can bring forth.
As Christians we can only be fruitful, if only we are learning to always yield to the changes, that our Heavenly Father is bringing into our lives. The clay does not ever resist being molded by the Potter. Neither does the Vine tree resist being pruned by the Vinedresser. So why are some believers resisting the changes that God wants in their lives?
The Holy Spirit warned about the consequences of resisting the pruning or changes of God in our lives through the Prophet Isaiah:
“But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Isaiah 1:20 NLT
And when the consequences like “the sword of your enemies” comes; it absolutely has nothing to do with God. When we are rejecting God, He will only step aside by removing His hand of protection from us. As His hands of protection are removed, the devil steps in to do his havoc. God is not the destroyer of lives, the devil is the one who destroys. It is a dreadful thing to reject the change of God in our lives.
GOD’S PLAN IS IN THE BLESSING
God created us all individually and uniquely for His own purposes on earth. We can only be fruitful in bringing His will, to come to pass through our lives here on earth.
The Lord directed the Prophet Jeremiah again to deliver another message to the nation of Israel when He said:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
God’s plan for each of His child, is for us all to be fruitful and multiply, as we fulfill that plan that He had chosen for our lives. It is sometimes astonishing to see Christians kicking against the plans of God for their lives. Oftentimes such people who kick against the plans of God, can never find fulfillment in life. They are unfruitful in other endeavors of life. When we reject the plans of God for our lives, we will remain unfulfilled, unfruitful and unproductive.
The scriptures says in Revelation 13:8 as an example, about God’s plan to save the world through Jesus. It refers to Jesus as:
… “the lamb of God that was slain from the foundation of the earth”…
This means that before the heavens and the earth were ever created, God already saw Jesus Christ in His plan, as being slain on the cross for our sins. Jesus was obedient to this plan of God for His life. And through Him the blessing of salvation came to us all.
God saw us all and knew us all before we were born of our parents. His plan is for us to be fruitful and productive in His Kingdom to bless the earth. Follow the plan of God for changes in your life, until the blessing begins to manifest as you live by faith before Him.
GOD’S COVENANT WILL MAKE YOU FRUITFUL IN THE DOCTRINES OF CHRIST
This is one main reason why we need to cherish, esteem and honor always our relationships with God, above any other things here on earth. It is weird and distasteful for us while in the presence of God, to acknowledge that we are in a covenant relationship with Him, and yet still do want to live like the rest of the sinners in our unsaved world.
In order words we can’t call ourselves Christians, if we are not living by the words of Christ, to follow those words by doing what He tells us to do.
This is why our lives as Christians needs to be fruitful. We have no other option as the children of God. Our relationship with Christ must evolve and grow stronger and stronger, if in fact our heart is committed to abiding in Him. Jesus wants us to be fruitful in our relationship with Him.
If we can learn to be committed with one another, in our relationships here on earth, then we can definitely show a higher level of commitment, to Christ in our relationship with Him. Our level of commitment in our relationships with our fellow human beings, who we do see daily does often requires some efforts and inputs on our part. We do this so as to make such relationships fruitful and productive. We often make sacrifices for one another in these kinds of earthly relationships.
However we do know that the moment some levels of trust in such relationships are breached, people normally will break the relationships up. This is the way the unbelievers behave with one another in the world. It really gets ugly when people divorce one another for flimsy excuses.
But our relationship with Christ is not like that. He remains faithful forever and committed in the covenant relationship, that we have with Him. His faithfulness makes us to love and trust Him more. The more we trust and love Him, the more we are able to bear spiritual fruit that glorifies Him in the relationship.
For this to take place our spiritual growth is important. We can’t remain like a baby Christian forever. It is therefore time to grow up.
Paul once chastised the Corinthians about their lack of spiritual growth, when he told them:
“I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?”
1 Corinthians 3:2-3 NLT
Christians who often reject changes from God, and His spiritual pruning in their lives, are doing this because they feel too comfortable with living on spiritual milk. They love the spiritual milk, rather than the meat that is able to make them bear fruit and grow in the things of God.
It is the sinful nature in their lives, that is hindering the spiritual growth of Christians like these. They want to live like the people of the world inside the Kingdom of God. That’s why they are unable to bear any spiritual fruit. The only fruit that often manifests in them, is the fruit from their contacts with the unsaved world around them.
It is time for many believers in Christ to leave the elementary teachings of Christ, for the teachings that are healthy for the spiritual development of the spirit, soul and body. A balanced spiritual diet.
The scriptures says:
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”
Hebrews 6:1-6 NIV
Yes, indeed God permitting we will go back into those elementary things. But growth does not come to new born babies, by feeding them with baby foods all their lives. At some stage those babies will outgrow the use of baby foods.
The same thing goes for us spiritually also. At some stage in your walk with Christ, you just want to move on into eating spiritual meats. That’s the time when you know that you are spiritually growing, and ready to bear much more fruit.
No, that’s not the time for those elementary teachings. Many who had tasted of the goodness of God before, had actually gone back into the world that they were once saved from. They did so because they got fed up of eating the same elementary spiritual food all the time. Their Christian life had become stale, unproductive and unfruitful as a result of this. They decided to rather go back into what they left behind before becoming Christians, instead of enduring feeding on the same spiritual milk that they are receiving.
God wants us to be fruitful and productive in our Christian life. We were not born into the Kingdom of God to be on the same spiritual level at all times. It’s time to grow up! It’s time to drop those elementary things and start eating spiritual meat!
And the time for you is now. Start digging into the word of God! Begin by praying more in the spirit than ever before. God is developing your spiritual muscles as you do. This is the new you in the new year – 2018.