A precious memory from my years doing jail ministry:
I was speaking to a group of prisoners, explaining that many people claim to be Christian, but they live and act no differently than anyone else. If people are truly Christian, they should be different from the rest of the world.
Joe spoke up, “Why is that? Why do we need to be different?”
I said, “It’s not that Christians need to be different, Joe. Christians are different. True followers of Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. They have a desire to please God. Once you have Christ living in you then you have all the fruit of the Spirit available to you—you just need to exercise it.
“There are nine fruit of the Spirit and they are found in Galatians 5:22-23: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All Christians receive ALL the fruit of the Spirit, not just some of it.”
Joe asked, “What if I don’t feel like exercising self-control? What if I don’t feel like exercising love? There are some mean guys living in this facility—they’re not easy to love.”
“I understand, Joe! But Christians don’t live by feelings, we live by fact! If you have the Holy Spirit you can do it. Colossians 3:14 tells us to ‘put on love.’ It says nothing about feelings. It just says, ‘put on love.’ Next, we are to step out in faith, trusting God and allowing the Holy Spirit to love through us. He will do that. As you begin to show love toward another, you will suddenly notice it’s not so much you putting forth the effort, as it is the Holy Spirit loving through you. It’s almost as if it’s something supernatural—in fact it is.
“It’s the same with self-control. You can pray this way: ‘God, You know I have no self-control in certain areas of my life. Yet, I now have the Holy Spirit living in me. You and I together, Lord, we can do this.’ Then, as you step out in faith, praising and thanking God that He is helping you one step at a time, He will.
“It’s important that we trust God to help us exercise His fruit. Trusting God is what the Christian life is all about.”
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:27
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 2 Corinthians 3:16
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. 2 Corinthians 6:17a
SONG: AT THE FEET OF JESUS – Lyrics by Liana Wendy Howarth; Music by Kathleen
[This life is temporary. This life is short. When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever. Where will the “real you” live? Will you live for all eternity separated from God? Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven? Learn more so you can make your most important decision: http://www.godlife.com/gospel/ and http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity
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