Have you realized that people often speak higher of themselves than what they actually live out. We all have areas in our life where we esteem ourselves or view ourselves as more developed and mature than we truly are. The truth is, we all have shortcomings that reveal our need to spiritually grow and mature.
We see an example of what people say they’ll do vs. what they actually do play out in a parable Jesus told in Matthew 21:28-32. Jesus said, “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”
Nothing Jesus teaches is for the purpose of producing condemnation but to poke you in your heart that a change is needed in your thinking or behavior. If you can feel that poke, it means that your heart is not hard which is good news! It’s sensitive enough to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and note that need for change. That is not the time to run or get beat up by guilt. It’s the time to thank God for His mercy and grace to forgive you and for you to ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to change!
Each and every one of us is in need of ongoing change in our life. We all need the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to help us become more like Jesus. You have figured out by now that we will never attain perfection or be perfectly like Jesus. That is why Jesus came and paid the penalty for the sins and imperfections in our life. Our faith in Jesus and in His sacrifice of taking the punishment for our sins is what makes us righteous before our Heavenly Father God. Our faith in what Jesus did is what makes us spotless in God’s eyes. What a magnificent thing! But, we still see our own imperfections and flaws and areas of needed change. Jesus cares about them and desires transformation within us because they affect and work to hinder our blessing in this life. They also get in the way of our ability to influence others for the Lord.
2 Cor. 3:18 speaks of the need for this ongoing transformation saying, “And we who …all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” This verse reminds us of the need to experience life-long transformation that will come only with the help of the Holy Spirit within us. So, we don’t beat ourselves up but we do take honest assessments of the need for transformation as the Holy Spirit convicts and shows us.
For those who don’t adopt this attitude, Proverbs 26:12 NKJV will be their life. It says, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” This person may love Jesus but if they won’t let the Lord work change in them, they’ll experience very little transformation and hinder the blessing God wants for them.
God’s Word is powerful! Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
God’s Word has the inherent ability to bring transformation to our lives if we will put faith in the promise of God’s Holy Spirit strengthening us to make those changes.
The Apostle Paul closes out today’s Fresh Manna speaking of the need for spiritual development and maturity putting it in words I could never improve upon.
Galatians 5:22-26 “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.”
Simply having knowledge about God and His Word can become a place of pride. 1 Cor. 8:1 RSV says, “…Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Putting actions to how God instructs us to live produces transformation. It’s about what we do, not what we say. Is the fruit of the Spirit of God actually evident and an ongoing pattern of your day-to-day lifestyle?
Let’s not just know about the fruit of the Spirit. Spiritual maturity is developed within you when the fruit of the Spirit has become your character. That only happens over time and through the poke and conviction that alerts you and leads to change that produces transformation!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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