As I lately took the picture I posted above, I was sure I would use it for a blog article. Nonetheless, I had no clue about what to write as yet. A few days later I added Scripture and, still, I had no idea and no desire to write at all. Just today as I was meditating on this Scripture from Matthew chapter seven again, I wondered what this ‘good fruit’ Jesus spoke of might be and how we could recognize it immediately. It seems to me that all things God is allowed (!) to work in us and through us automatically produce good fruit. Good works, however, we do apart from being led by Him have not sprung from this tree which is rooted in Christ and, therefore, they are not really good in God’s sight. They are even bad! That reminds of the following Scripture where Jesus told us,
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (Jn 15:4-8 ESV)
Abiding in Him is key, but how do we get there? 🙄
Regarding our human nature, we are all some way or other. Either we are reasonable and intellectual people or we are emotionally reactive to whatever kind of feelings pop up in us. We can also be very strong-willed and determined to have it our way, always! We ought to know that none of us can change who we naturally are and, also, that none of these features I just mentioned are wrong in themselves. However, we should also know that this kind of personality we have developed over time is not automatically surrendered to God, just because we believe in Him and in what He did for us (atonement and its implications). In fact, there is much more to it, dear brothers and sisters.
I know that I am a both intellectual and emotional woman by nature and that I use my self-will, strongly and only then, when I feel threatened by someone. As a people pleaser I usually let people pick on me until enough is enough. Someone who has drawn narrower boundaries than I did in the past might come over as tougher than I at first sight, but that does NOT mean that my silence in a certain situation would be better than their boldly speaking up. Actually, we cannot judge from the outside whether it is better to act this way or that way UNLESS we know God and His guidance. So many today seem to know a lot about God, but do they know Him as He really is? Below there is a short excerpt from one of Oswald Chambers’ devotionals in which he expresses, I believe perfectly, how difficult it is to prove you are being led by God. Chambers said,
If we do a thing from a sense of duty, we are putting up a standard in competition with Jesus Christ. We become a “superior person,” and say – “Now in this matter I must do this and that.” We have put our sense of duty on the throne instead of the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to walk in the light of conscience or of a sense of duty, but to walk in the light as God is in the light. When we do anything from a sense of duty, we can back it up by argument; when we do anything in obedience to the Lord, there is no argument possible; that is why a saint can be easily ridiculed.
No argument possible…. Pheeew!! That’s it indeed! How often I am confronted with God’s leading in a situation, with a slight nudge as to what to do or not to do when soon afterwards countless arguments, springing from my own mind or from listening to others, seem to ridicule that which I initially sensed was the proper thing to do, in this blink of an eye before reason set in and would begin to fight God’s subtle leading. In order to deepen the topic of how to get more balanced, I want to share with you now T. Austin Sparks’ thoughts on how the life of our Lord differed from what and who we are by nature.
How poised He was, how balanced! Take the matter of mind, heart and will, and you find in His case those three were perfectly balanced. We are very different naturally.
I suppose people as a whole can be divided up into three classes. Firstly, those who are more in the realm of their head than anywhere else. They are all head in one way or another. If they are not intellectual, they are of another kind of mentality – introspective, analyzing, going round things in the mind; all thinking, all puzzling, all reasoning, all working in that realm: that is the chief characteristic. You can see it almost in their faces. It is this trying to get through with the head that more or less characterizes people of a certain class.
Then you have another class, all heart, all feeling, all emotion. They simply live in their feelings, perhaps different forms, but still feelings. They are governed by their feelings, and just how things affect them in the realm of their emotional life. They are either up or they are down, you can never be sure, but you do know that whether they are up or down, it is their feelings that are ruling. If only they would think a little more and not move so much on impulse, they would be more balanced.
The third class – people governed by will, people of a drive, forceful, assertive. The will is unreasoning sometimes. They do not stop to think. They get a drive on but do not think of the damage they are doing to themselves or other people. Their will overrides feeling, very good sometimes to do that, but to be all will, all of that kind of strength, determination, grip, and force, oh, it is overbearing and does a lot of harm.
People are more or less divided into those classes naturally, but you cannot find anything like that with the Lord Jesus on earth. You can find will coming in at times very strong, and sometimes heart, and sometimes mind. Yes, mind could come in, and who could stand up against Him in that realm? Some of His answers silenced, paralyzed, those who were cleverest. Look at some of the answers He gives, some of the ways He deals with a problem. They think they have Him this time, there is no way out. A simple statement – and the whole thing collapses; they have not got Him at all!
But the point is this: while these things are there, they are balanced; there is never strength of will to the hurt of sensibility; there is never strength of emotion to the damage of rightful severity. He does not allow His heart to run away with His sense of judgment. He is perfectly balanced; and that is one of our needs. But that is why the Holy Spirit has come, and this is one of the things that has to take place in a Holy Spirit-ruled life. It has to become a balanced life, to be saved from being lopsided.
May the Holy Spirit, and no other, more and more guide us in our everyday life, too. Amen.