by John Bowman
Sunday, September 10, 2017
The purpose of transformation is for you to bear fruit. As you are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, you start to resemble him in your actions and your deeds.
Pastor Joel Osteen always says, "Give us a year of your life and you will never be the same for the better". That's because it takes time to start to see change in your life. If you are consistent in attending a good bible based church for one year, you should start to see some good fruit in your life. Old mindsets start to change and you begin to live a different life.
- Fruit Test. What's your fruit smell like?
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23
I use "Fruit Tests" when I meet with someone to determine how to help them. Recently, I met with a man who told me he was struggling with getting angry. He said that since he became a Christian three years ago, he's actually gotten worse. The more he focuses on his anger issue the angrier he gets. I told him that's the problem. When you focus on Jesus and become like him, the anger issue will fade. When you focus on your "sin", you struggle.
I also use this when meeting with someone in conflict. Pastorally, if we have to call someone in to meet with us over an issue, our goal is to work everything out for the best. To keep unity in the church. The response is totally up to them. We present what we've heard and they usually either respond in pride or humility. I am not responsible for their reaction. How they react will totally determine the next steps we take.
If someone is struggling in their personal journey, I will usually ask, "how's your devotional life?" The answer to this question is always the same. "I've really let it go lately" or "I haven't been able to make time for it". The answer to any issue you are going through is always "Jesus".
I met with a long time friend and Christian who was brave enough to meet with me about some behaviors he had done he was ashamed of. It takes courage to confess your sins to someone else. I didn't judge him but asked him if he was spending any time with God. He said truthfully I haven't been doing that consistently over the past year. I told him what I'm telling you, the answer is easy, start right now or tomorrow morning spending time with him. Open your bible or devotional time. Pray. Spend 15 minutes with him.
Romans 12 is a great indicator of your fruit. This is a great test of your fruit. How well do you stand up to this Christian standard?
We start of with our lead indicator of transforming our minds. Then the lag indicator of testing and approving his perfect will should take place. As we've mentioned earlier, Romans 12:1-2 says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Then . . . Romans 12:3-21 says,
- For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
- Love must be sincere.
- Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
- Be devoted to one another in love.
- Honor one another above yourselves.
- Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
- Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
- Share with the Lord's people who are in need.
- Practice hospitality.
- Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
- Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
- Live in harmony with one another.
- Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
- Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
- If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
- Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[d] says the Lord.
- On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Back to the beginning the Discipleship Playbook, we started with Trusting the Process. A mature believer has the perspective that everything works together for our good. You have to know that when you are a believer in Christ and seek after God that He is getting you to a place of Christ Likeness. How do we know if you are becoming mature in Christ? Your fruit will smell good.