Welcome 2020s – Take Roots to Bear Much Fruit
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against which there is no law” Gal 5: 22-23
Dearly beloved in Christ,
Greetings in the matchless name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Welcome to the 2020s. Praise God for what the LORD has done for us in the last decade. Probably we may not have succeeded in excellent ways in all that we had envisaged for the finishing lines of the 2010s, but praise God that we could taste His faithfulness in our lives as individuals, families and as a community. What the Lord values in us is also, not our successes (in our terms often), but our faithfulness in our relationship with Him. As we enter a new decade, the 2020s, with all the known and unknown challenges, let us count on His faithfulness and resolve to be faithful. Behind us are His wondrous deeds. Before us are His merciful plans. Both of them are marvellous and more than can be told. With such a God behind us and before us, we need not allow the past to swallow us, nor the future to worry us. Let each day and each year of our 2020s, be an opportunity to taste His faithfulness and express our faithfulness to Him. Christian life is not measured in terms of our successes and failures in our terms and definitions, but our fruitfulness, as a result of His faithfulness and our faithfulness to Him. Over the next few months, in this column, let us discuss fruitfulness in our lives, as emphatically expressed in the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (Gal 5: 22-23). As we have entered in a new decade with a new set of challenges, we can’t be fruitful without a constant dependence on the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit as our Comforter (Fortifier) and Counsellor. The life and ministry of the disciples were unimaginable without the filling of Holy Spirit in their lives. To face our unknown days ahead, for us, too, it’s important to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
• Live by the Spirit
This can be possible only when we take conscious efforts not to satisfy the desires of the sinful nature. Our sins have been forgiven but we live in a fallen world where the acts of the sinful nature are clear: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like and that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:18-21). What are those sinful natures from the above listed things which we have not overcome till now, or are struggling with? Isn’t it our top priority to ask God for the grace to overcome that?
• Be Led by the Spirit
If one lives by the Spirit the guaranteed portion is the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:23-24). Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Crucifying our passions and desires has to be a daily affair. Law finds no just occasion against men who are led by the spirit, for they themselves check every wrong desire within them, and so fulfil the whole Law. The flesh and law are correlative terms: to be free from the one is to be free from the other. The flesh represents unaided human nature, and law is the standard which this unaided human nature strives, but strives in vain, to fulfil. By the intervention of the Spirit, the law is fulfilled at the same time that its power is abolished and human nature ceases to be unaided. In order to bear this fruit, we must be planted and properly rooted spiritually: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Ps. 1:1-3) If we want to bear spiritual fruit, then we must reject sin, walk in holiness, and delight in God’s law. We must also be planted in the house of God – connected to the Body of Christ. Psalm 92:13-14 also says: “Those that are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing …”
• Keep in step with the Spirit
Believers are engaged in a conflict, in which they earnestly desire that grace to obtain full and speedy victory. And those who desire thus to give themselves up to be led by the Holy Spirit, are not under the law as a covenant of works, nor exposed to its dreadful curse. Bible talks about both gifts of Spirit (I Cor 12: 4-10) and fruit of the Spirit. Today people appreciate the gifts and pray earnestly for gifts and very rarely we pray for or appreciate or acknowledge fruit of the Spirit like patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness; on the contrary, we consider it as a weakness of the person. We need to remember that gift of the Spirit is from God;God gives gifts to whomever he likes to; but the fruit all believers need to produce. Gift of God is important but fruit is mandatory; so, let us keep in step with the Spirit by daily meditating on the Word of God and crucifying the sinful nature with its cravings and wants. Doing this will help us to live and be led by the Spirit, to bear the fruit of the Spirit. Let this decade be a life bearing the fruit of the spirit.
Wish you all a Spirit-filled Happy New year 2020
UESI General Secretary