February 24, 2012

Stolen Fruit

It’s time to take the fruit back from the enemy! It’s what he used to lie to Eve and it’s what he uses to lie to us.

Raise your hand If you can say, “I don’t have any self-control.” Or, perhaps, “I lack peace.”  How about, “If I could only be gentle”?  OR, “GIVE ME PATIENCE….NOW!!!!”

Any hands going up?

OK…how bout now? “If I can do good this once.”  “I am not reliable (faithful).”  “I just can’t be kind.” “I don’t have any love.”  “My joy is gone.”


I thought so.  We have all said a variation of the above.

I used to say, “When God passed out gentleness He bypassed me.”  Oh, and I believed it to my very core.  Funny how what we believe expresses itself in how we act. You see, I believed I didn’t have gentleness therefore every time I didn’t act gentle I reminded myself of my truth, “There I go again…no gentleness” and so I lived out a vicious cycle of a lie.

What compounded the cycle was that I WAS bold.  VERY BOLD!  I believed boldness was bad.  I believed boldness was the opposite of gentleness.  Boldness had a hold on me that I couldn’t shake no matter how badly I beat myself.

You beat yourself too.  Have you ever replayed the stupid way you handled a situation? You remind yourself of your big mouth and then can’t stand the way your foot dangles off the corner.

Well, I would take a sledge hammer to my spirit and throw a blow to that bold place from where my foot would rise up.  Then I’d think about it from a different angle and throw another blow.  When I was done lashing myself, I’d start all over again to make sure I didn’t do stupid bold and “gentlelessness” things again. But I always did.

I still do.

However, I no longer beat myself up.  I’ve stolen the fruit back from the enemy!

Things changed when I came across Proverbs 28:1, “…but the righteous are as BOLD as a lion.” (Emphasis mine). Hmmm…boldness is not bad?  Boldness isn’t a stupid impulse I can’t control? I needed to hear that Truth.  I needed to eat it, digest it and allow it to flush out a lie.

I recently ate Galatians 5 which has transformed me even more.

I had always been taught that I needed the fruit of the Spirit.  I was warned that my flesh was at war with the Spirit.  There never seemed to be a solution to the problem.

That’s when a big but of the Bible jumped off the pages. Galatians 5:17-18 says, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature (“yeah, I got that”). They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want (“Oh well, I give up”). BUT if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” (Emphasis mine again).

Wait a minute! Hold everything!  Let’s back up to Galatians 5:1 for more Truth, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Stand firm, then? I’ve heard that line before (see Ephesians 6).  This must be war!

You’d better believe it is!!!! The same war that was waged in the garden is the war still being waged. What are you going to believe? Who are you going to believe?

There’s a very simple Truth about the fruit of the Spirit.

It is this:  YOU HAVE IT ALREADY!!!!

IF you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, YOU HAVE IT!

You HAVE love!  You HAVE joy!  You HAVE peace and patience and goodness and gentleness and kindness and faithfulness AND YES, even self-control!!!!! YOU HAVE THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT because JESUS IS THE FRUIT!!!!

The key to living in abundant fruit is found in Galatians 5:25b, “…let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Let me say it another way, If Christ has set you free, then you have a new departure point.

You crossed a line when you accepted Christ.  That line moved you from “I don’t have any self control” to “I HAVE self control.”  It removed “I don’t have any peace” to “I HAVE peace that surpasses understanding.”  HE moved you to a meadow of belief that proclaims boldly, “I AM as gentle as a lamb.” It allows you to cry out, “I HAVE rivers of patience!”

Are you with me?  I know, believing and agreeing with Truth can be daunting when lies seem so real.

Look at it this way.

The lie is that Jesus’ death was not enough for me to be filled with ALL of the fruit of His Spirit!  It’s good enough for everyone else to be filled, but it’s not enough for me so I will continue to stay on the other side of The Cross. The place of lack.

The Truth Paul declares is, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Vs. 24.

That can’t possibly include you, right?

I’ll use Paul’s words again, “You were running a good race.  Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” Vs 7.

The truth is you HAVE the fruit of the Spirit!  Who’s stealing that truth from you? “That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.” Vs 8.

Are you ready to embrace the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth yet?

Start with, “I have joy!”  “I believe I have joy!”  You may not be able to see it yet, but it’s there! It can grow!  It just needs a new departure point!  One based on TRUTH not on lies!

Rise up!  Take back the fruit from the enemy and cross over to Truth!

Proclaim every day the fruit you thought you didn’t have.

Determine to stay in step with the Spirit of the living God as you walk in His ways. When He says, “You don’t need that now” obey Him.  When He says, “Walk away.” Do it!

30 days from now you will see a transformation in your life!

You will be a garden of lush fruit whose heart overflows with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Now that’s the kind of apple I want to eat.  Anyone hungry?