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Pointers along the way #754

The blessing of the Spirit

- Jacob Ninan

We talk much about the fruit of the Spirit (Ga.5:22,23) and wish for them. We may even pray for them. But we ought to connect this with the 'good soil' in the parable of the sower which alone can bear much fruit. Jesus describes people with the good soil as those "who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance" (Lk.8:15). In other words, can we hope to bear much fruit of the Spirit if we don't take care to keep our soil good?

'An honest and good heart' is so crucial for the 'soil' which is something God values much. Holding tightly to the seed which is sown in our heart (and keeping our eyes focused on the goal) and not giving up even when we come under pressure are the other things.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus talked about receiving blessings. Did He talk about material blessings which many people run after, or the fruit of the Spirit? He describes there many aspects of a good soil – recognising how poor we are in our spirit, mourning before God because we find ourselves manifesting the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit, showing gentleness and mercy to the others, hungering and thirsting for the righteousness of God to be seen in us, keeping ourselves pure in our heart, seeking to build peace with others, not giving up even when we are put to trouble for seeking God's kingdom and righteousness first in our life, etc.

But it may be that even though we pay lip service to our love of the fruit of the Spirit, what we really want is an enjoyable life. Thankfully God has given us many things to enjoy (1Ti.6:17) and there is nothing wrong in enjoying them. But isn't it possible that we get so taken up with enjoying ourselves in this world that we forget, in effect, seeking the fruit of the Spirit?

This is why Jesus tells us to keep our eye 'single' (KJV, 'clear' NASB) which means to have a clear focus on the direction of our life (Mt.6:22) and to seek His kingdom and righteousness first in our life (v.33).

We have to avoid the extremes of trying to be ascetics with no connection to the world and 'living it up'. We cannot judge other people's hearts on this matter accurately even though in many cases things are obvious. Our attention should be on finding out where our own heart is and making sure that it is a good soil on which the fruit of the Spirit are growing.

Spiritual growth is not automatic just because we have been born again. We can see even on earth that some have progressed much in their relationship with God compared to others. This difference will show even in eternity – some will shine brighter than others (1Co.15:41,42). It depends on how good the soil of our heart is and how we hold on in the midst of the adversities we face in life. It grows from how well we realise what God has done for us in saving us from sin and how grateful we are for that. Those who love Him will obey Him and they will bear much fruit. God shows no partiality.

Send me your comments or questions.


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