Which came first: the fruit or the Spirit?
I used to have a lot of artificial fruit. What does artificial fruit look like? Well, let’s just say I ‘faked’ Christianity, I acted the way I thought a Christian would act. Let me give you an illustration…
When I was 16 years old I received a scholarship from the Horatio Alger Association. To me, it wasn’t just a scholarship; it was the beginning of a relationship. These people who didn’t even know me invested in my future education and took me to Washington D.C. for a few days, introduced me to a lot of entrepreneurs, and told me how much they believed in me. The sad part is no matter how much they believed in me or encouraged me, I did not think I deserved this scholarship and it was hard for me to accept it. In fact I didn’t even use it for 7 years! Why? Because for those 7 years I tried my hardest to ‘earn’ that scholarship, believing I did not deserve it. This is exactly what I did with my salvation.
I was told by a number of God’s messengers:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17
OK. God loves me. He gave His Son Jesus as a sacrifice to pay for my sins and now I can have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. A gift! In 1996, I ‘accepted’ this free gift but for 13 years I did not act like I’ve accepted it as ‘free.’ Instead, I did everything in my own strength and I tried to earn my salvation, revealing my lack of faith.
I tried to be a good Christian by being nice to people, changing what I say, I tried to stop drinking, I began to serve, and listen to Christian music…always talking the talk but not walking the walk—not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. Then in 2008 I began to read the Bible and on February 12, 2009 I surrendered. I stopped doing and started being.
Here are a just few things I’ve learned along the way:
- It’s not about ritualistic religion–it’s about a loving relationship
- It’s not about sacrifice–it’s about obedience
- It’s not about the letter of the law–it’s about grace
- It’s not about getting to heaven—it’s about eternal life which is knowing God and Jesus Christ
- It’s not about just reading the Bible—it’s about interacting with God
- It’s not about a check in the box for ‘quiet time’—it’s about soaking in His presence
- It’s not about memorizing the Word—it’s about meditating on His Word
- It’s not about a crisis free life—it’s about sharing in the sufferings of Christ
- It’s not about praying so you get what you want—it’s about praying to align yourself with God’s purposes and plans
- It’s not about trying to right a wrong—it’s about loving no matter what
- It’s not about living for myself—it’s about dying to self
- It’s not about serving because of guilt—it’s about serving in love
- It’s not about doing big things FOR God—it’s about abiding, waiting, listening for where God wants you to serve
- It’s not about doing things in your own strength, it’s about His strength
- It’s not about what I do—it’s about what He does through me
- It’s not about shoving the gospel down someone’s throat—it’s about being the gospel
- It’s not about getting upset because someone does not believe—it’s about understanding why they don’t believe
- It’s not about anything I did—it’s about what He did for me
- It’s not about me.
“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:17-20)
I produced bad artificial fruit for so long to try to earn my salvation, to deserve it. It is true, I don’t deserve it, none of us do. It is by grace through faith I have been saved, not of myself…not what I’ve done or haven’t done, it is a gift of God. I am no longer blinded and now I see!
Do you see? Do you see the Spirit must come before the fruit?
Are you tired of powerless religion? By ‘power’ I mean walking in your strength and not in the power of the Holy Spirit? I pray you draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Thanks for reading but please don’t take my commentary for it…read the Bible and interact with God for yourself you will taste and see that He is good!
February 11th, 2012 at 6:06 am
“It is by grace through faith I have been saved, not of myself…not what I’ve done or haven’t done, it is a gift of God. I am no longer blinded and now I see!” // Yes! I loved that, and reading this. Thank you for sharing your heart.
February 11th, 2012 at 6:24 am
Thank you for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed reading this as it is from my heart 🙂
February 11th, 2012 at 12:04 pm
I think you’ve pushed the artificial fruit aside – a very moving post – thanks!
February 12th, 2012 at 4:41 am
Thank you! 🙂 Yes, I said bye bye to the artificial fruit and I’m thankful to know the One who allows me to enjoy the fruit of His Spirit. I appreciate you reading…have a blessed day!
February 11th, 2012 at 2:15 pm
I am extremely thankful for our fellowship and totally thank God for His word and all because of Jesus Christ who is and who was and who is to come AGAIN !
I love that we are in Christ and we are His branches and our Father is the One who prunes us to bear His fruit and for the love of God to be spread through His children as HE so graciously pours His love into our hearts by His Holy Spirit !
I love you my precious and dear branch Arcelia and I love that our True Vinedresser graciously placed us next to one another for prayer and encouragement and I am very grateful to God in Christ and in the Holy Spirit for your sharing with me and many of us who are HIS CHILDREN .
Did I tell you that I love you very MUCH ?
many hugs to you precious Arcelia <
February 12th, 2012 at 4:48 am
Oh sweet Anna…words can not describe how thankful I am God has brought you into my life. You are a woman of God that loves Him with your entire being. I am so thankful you were obedient to love me fervently even through the difficult moments and now God is rewarding both of us with this sweet fellowship. Thank you for praying for our family, thank you for being a vessel used by God to pray us to be branches on His Vine! We are proof that God hears prayers–my eyes went open! I love love love you very much too! Thank you for praying for us.
February 15th, 2012 at 5:08 pm
Love this, friend. Thanks for sharing
February 25th, 2012 at 5:01 am
Thank you for reading my friend 🙂
February 25th, 2012 at 7:27 am
I remember a video title that is a short summary. (cross TV )
“When Did it Become ‘Salvation By Faith, Through Grace’?
Good points about the best person Jesus.
March 21st, 2012 at 9:58 pm
You are a gifted and powerful writer…keep up the good work!
March 22nd, 2012 at 8:38 pm
I appreciate your encouragement and I’m thankful our Father is enabling me to write and share what He has poured in me.
March 22nd, 2012 at 8:35 pm
[…] must put ourselves on His altar and die before we can bear fruit. We do it once at rebirth and continue to present ourselves as living and holy sacrifices, […]
April 25th, 2012 at 6:35 pm
Jesus is truely the way, the truth, and the life. God bless you for admonishing me through your write up. Thanks.
June 25th, 2012 at 3:28 am
Thank you Augustine! May God continue to bless you!
April 25th, 2012 at 6:53 pm
I will love to read more from you, for l am inspired by your write up. Thanks.
April 30th, 2012 at 7:15 pm
[…] I prayed I would abide and remain in Jesus Christ because I knew apart from Him I could only bear artificial fruit. I couldn’t ‘fake it’ I needed Him to surgically remove this root of bitterness […]
June 23rd, 2012 at 7:41 pm
[…] me what it means to walk by the Spirit. They are learning the Spirit must come before the “fruit.” We are learning together the ‘incredible walk’ is not a perfect walk but a walk […]
June 25th, 2012 at 12:43 pm
I really appreciated your contribution to life, because God so much valued life, that is why He send Jesus to died for life. Therefore, there is need for total dependant on Him. Thanks.
July 31st, 2012 at 7:52 pm
[…] I can NOT love anyone apart from Jesus Christ the Spirit must come before the fruit […]
August 11th, 2012 at 8:13 pm
[…] God and from training them in His ways…I do not want to waste another moment, I want to bear much fruit, I want to be a worker in God’s harvest. So one month ago I […]
September 2nd, 2012 at 6:21 am
[…] God’s grace I am growing in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I am learning, we bear our crosses […]
September 14th, 2012 at 11:03 pm
[…] to know God the Father and Jesus Christ IS eternal life. You will learn God’s Spirit must come BEFORE you can produce eternal fruit. You only need to believe on the Lord Jesus, turn from your sins and […]
July 23rd, 2013 at 1:38 am
[…] God’s breath in us. Only then will we bear authentic kingdom fruit, for the Spirit must come BEFORE the […]
February 13th, 2016 at 7:18 am
[…] life of a Christian is not perfect nor is it about DOING things for God but BEING in […]