Thursday, December 22, 2022

Fruit is born, not worn.

Some people have learned how to preach, learned how to pray, learned how to fast, learned how to study the bible and to rightly divide doctrine, but they still haven't learned how to love! Ultimately, they haven't learned anything, gained anything, or become anything but vanity.

So many judge others according to their abilities to preach, pray, go without food, study and teach doctrine; they are impressed with such and judge such as lovers of truth, lovers of God, and devout. However, the apostle would simply say that they are, by their efforts, simply a louder sounding brass than others. That they are still, in fact, devoted to SELF, not to Christ. 

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). 

Even worse, many are so devoted to SELF and educated in the Christian life that they wear fruit as if they were truly an abiding fruit producing branch. They could provide ten definitions for each fruit of the Spirit and even imitate the meaning of the definitions but such efforts are merely like actors in a play. They know how to "play" the Christian part, they know the Christian "lines" and verbage to speak, the clothing to wear, when to express passion and when to be silent. 

Yet, little to none of these efforts are natural to them. Rather than the power of God's love, they are compelled by their pride to perform the definitions of the fruit. They hide their grumblings, anger, frustrations, evil imaginations, resentment, and diligently wear their religious garb. 

As Christians, we ought to naturally care for the affairs of our brothers, sisters, strangers, and even all men. 

We ought to be moved with compassion to relieve the afflicted, be a servant to those around us, share the Gospel, receive rebuke with joy, turn the other cheek, and to bless those who have offended us.

It ought to be natural for us to give rather than to receive, to understand rather than to be understood, to comfort rather than to seek to be comforted. 

This is the common faith, the common salvation that the apostle John described, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that does not love does not know God; for God is love" (1 John 4:7-8).

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160