Features, Inspirational

Producing Fruit (Pt. 4) — Galatians 5:22

J.C. Riley
By J.C. Riley from New Creation Ministry

My wife is one of the most hopeful and determined human beings I know in this entire world. She is a Guyanese woman who knows the rapturous experience of sinking her teeth into a succulent mango newly picked from the tree. I’ve witnessed the look of expectation on her face as she unloaded a bag of mangoes from a Georgia supermarket and braced herself before the first bite for the moment of truth! ‘Will this one be a taste of home or another dud?’ No matter how much I’ve tried to deter her from wasting money on mangos from the supermarket she keeps at it and every now and then her persistence pays off. This experience helps me to understand that there is a difference between partaking of fruit that was allowed to remain connected to its source and those that weren’t.

The Effects of Conversion

One of the common definitions of the term convert is: causing something to change from one form to another. The Greek term for convert as used in Luke 22:32 narrows the biblical usage by defining it as to turn. Luke 22:31,32 says: “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me (the King James says: “when thou art converted), strengthen your brethren.”” Due to the infection of sin, we naturally produce the fruit of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-22. Prior to turning our minds back to the Lord, we conduct ourselves “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience…” Ephesians 2:2. Should we then be surprised when we see the manifestation of corruption, betrayal, indulgence and violence in our experience? Until we learn the truth of God and choose to pledge our allegiance to Him the only fruit we can produce is that of sin. The effects of conversion are well described in Ephesians 4:28: “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor…” An about face!

The Highest Purpose

The highest purpose we can reach for is not scholarly achievements, the great amassing of wealth or worldwide fame. None of these are wrong of themselves, but to set any or all of them as one’s chief focus is disastrous! No willpower can resist the gravitational pull to violate their conscience and the rights of others while being motivated by these pursuits. The safest and surest foundation that anyone can build upon is to forfeit the commitment to seek our own glory in exchange for glorifying the God who gives the body breath! “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:8.

The unconverted person is bent on glorifying oneself whereas the converted person finds their highest purpose, better yet their only purpose, in glorifying God. To glorify means to make glorious or cause to appear. In the controversy between light and darkness the highest purpose we can commit to is allowing the nature of God (love, righteousness, mercy, humility, kindness) to appear in us! While believing Satan’s lies hinder us from walking this path, Jesus grants us divine access when He says: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Stepping Aside

The question we each must wrestle with is ‘will we step aside from living for ourselves and allow the Godhead to become the object of our worship?’ The book Steps to Christ describes our reality: “The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.” We can be easily tricked into pursuing the results of living a full life without paying the price required. There must be a death of the old in order to be a realization of the new. The journey of resigning from Satan’s grueling employment and following Jesus the Christ will cut every layer of infected flesh that suffocates the seed of purity from taking root within us. Jesus says: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24. Stepping aside and allowing the Godhead to lead our lives is the key to producing righteous fruit and this is our highest purpose!

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