The Fruit of Faith!

Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness..”

Faith is often seen as a GIFT but not necessarily as a FRUIT. A gift is given freely by God whereas the fruit of the Spirit is cultivated into the character of a person over a long period of time. Faith as a FRUIT is cultivated into our lives through faithfulness. Faithfulness is a product of a decision of our will to trust God and be found trustworthy by God. To attain the best of the fruit of faith, we must cultivate trustfulness through the investment of time, skill and labour. To the degree that we cultivate trustfulness in our character is a good measure of our spiritual maturity. Faith as a fruit is a steady, unwavering trust in the goodness, wisdom and faithfulness of God. The outward expression of this kind of trust is stability and reliability in not only our hearts but everyday lives. We can’t say we have developed the fruit of faith unless our practical lives bear the resemblance of stability and reliability. I encourage you to be intentional about growing in the fruit of faith and develop a robust trustworthiness that God can entrust with greater and greater Favor and kingdom responsibility. Explosive Insights!

Pursuing a lifestyle of JOY!

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Happiness is overrated but JOY is underrated. JOY is beyond happiness. Happiness is circumstantial, JOY is an intentional posture of the heart that the Holy Spirit works into our nature as we abide in him. JOY-filled people are a pleasure to be around. We generally want to hang out with a person genuinely JOY-filled. JOY releases strength into your heart and body. Research has shown the medicinal effect laughter and JOY can bring to a sick person. I’ve heard of a terminally ill patient stopping his treatment in hospital, checking himself into a hotel room and watching comedy after comedy, laughing himself towards wholeness and well being. As a communicator, I’ve observed the power of laughter to open peoples hearts to your subject matter and release tension in the room. Nehemiah says, “The JOY of the Lord is your strength.” JOY releases strength and confidence in your spirit, soul and body for you to live your life to the fullest. There are many tribulations in life that attempt to steal our faith and JOY but we’ve got to guard our JOY and feed it with the life of the Spirit dwelling inside of us. JOY is connected to our faith in God. A heart at rest in God, trusting his goodness and love will be able to access JOY. God is in a consistently good mood and He’s always full of JOY. Run to his presence, drink his cup of JOY and allow it to heal your wounded heart and lift up your crushed spirit. A life saturated with JOY is not only possible but it’s a necessary pursuit of life and is only truly found in the presence of God. Explosive Insights!

Private Victories, Public Favor!

Daniel 1:8-9 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself.. And God gave Daniel favor in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.

It’s the things that people never see that sets you apart. Everyone of us have the opportunity to make choices about what we will do in our personal lives. We can choose to go with the flow of the majority or choose to be set apart, whether anybody sees us or not. You can be sure that when God gives one of his kids favor publicly, there has been a history of personal victories in that persons life. We can choose to compromise or choose to conquer but the fruit of our lives will speak for itself. What do you need to have fresh resolve about in your personal life? Be encouraged that what you overcome in the secret place will be rewarded in the public arena by Gods grace and favor. He sees every sacrifice you’ve made and not even the littlest thing goes unnoticed. 

Its The Little Things!

Zen-Confidence-Meditation-2Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. (Song of Songs 2:15)

It’s the little things in life that make the biggest difference. Life is the accumulation of little things, little thoughts, little words, little actions and little choices. The pathway to your destiny begins with a little thought. God has appointed you to a vineyard of gifting and responsibility. Ultimately, it’s not the BIG things that threaten the fruitfulness of your vineyard, as it is, the little things along the way that if you don’t catch now can undermine you later. What are the little foxes in your life that are derailing your hopes and dreams? Identify them, catch them and do something about them before they take you out.

The Character of God!

Judges 6:13 ‘If God’s with us, WHY then has all this happened to us? WHERE are all his wonderful deeds? The Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.’

Never judge God’s character through your circumstance. Gideon was reflecting back to the angel of the Lord, the sense of loss and forsakenness that all Israel were feeling due to their oppressors, the Midianites. Gideon was a picture of Israel fearing for their lives, hiding away, concluding that God had forsaken them.

Don’t make conclusions about God based upon your circumstances. Circumstances are deceiving and generally lead us to asking God the wrong questions: God, WHY is this happening to me? God, WHERE are you in the midst of this situation? I’ve discovered a better question is, God, WHAT are you trying to teach me through this situation?

It’s amazing how warped our theology can become when we interpret God’s character through the filter of suffering, hardship and hurt. Many people have been taken out by their bitterness and offence during times of contradiction. Don’t you! 

God is faithful, loving, generous, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in much love, patient and just. He delights in your success and is always making all things work together for your benefit. God will never leave you, nor forsake you. He’s trying to teach you something in the midst of your trial and even this will turn out for his glory and your maturity.

The Oracle!

From Relationship to Revelation!

Your relationship with God will determine your revelation of God. I used to think it was the other way round but walking with God is a journey of progressive revelation. I know more about God today than I did last year and if I prioritize my relationship with him, I will know more about him next year than I do today.

The greater your revelation of God’s nature and character, the greater your level of trust in him. One of the reasons why we struggle at times to live by what he says is because we don’t really trust in who he is. Our hearts, by default, are distrusting of anyone, let alone God. What God does is take us on a journey through life to teach us his character can be trusted.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.’

I love this verse but I also despise it and if you were honest, you do to. Why? Because not one person on the planet I know really wants to not lean on their own understanding. We humans are curious creatures. We want to understand, we want to control the outcome, we want to have our minds wrapped around everything so that we can get a handle on it. But following Jesus is sometimes a paradoxical mystery and the reality is we must be willing to embrace faith in God without fully understanding why it doesn’t always add up on paper.

I’ve found trusting God easier, the more I abide in his presence. God’s presence brings trust because God is trustworthy. Before I make a significant decision in life, I spend a lot of time in his presence. Trust isn’t something I cultivate, It’s already built into God’s nature. God is faith personified, it’s already in his nature to believe. God’s a believer. God never wakes up one morning and says, ‘I’m not sure I created the world as I should have. maybe I should have created it in 9 days with an extra day of rest, then 6 days with the 7th…’ God never second guesses himself or gets anxious. He is pure confidence, faith, trust and belief all wrapped into one because he is God.

The more I abide in him, the more trust becomes my nature and ultimately my lifestyle. What are you feeling anxious about? Don’t be anxious any longer, throw yourself at God and wait on him. As you worship him, pray through your anxieties and wait on him, faith will rise in you and trusting him will become more and more your primary response to what life throws your way.

The Oracle!

The Tension of Trust!

Jeremiah 17:5-6 Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength.. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. (Read v5-10 for full passage)

I love being a dad and one of my memorable experiences with my kids was teaching them how to swim. On one particular holiday, my wife and I took our 3 kids down to the resort swimming pool and one by one encouraged them to jump off the ledge into the water and into our arms. It was a lesson of trust that for 2 of the 3 kids created a lot of tension for them.

Trust has a tension to it. I call it the ‘What if’ factor. What if it doesn’t work? What if I sink? What if God doesn’t meet my expectations? What if I marry the wrong person? Too many people live by their ‘what ifs‘ rather than by what God’s Word says. However, you’ll never live by what God says, until you trust who God is.

The biggest wrestle of my walk with God has been learning to trust in him and not in myself or anyone else as my primary source. The reason why is because I didn’t know if I could trust his character. However, God has taken me on a journey to teach me to trust in him and all that I have seen of God teaches me I can trust him with all that I haven’t seen in my future.

The default of the human heart is distrust. We find it difficult to trust ourselves, let alone others. Why? Jeremiah 17:9 says, ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?’ There’s a popular song by recording artist, Sting, with the lyrics, “Let your soul be your pilot, let your soul guide you home.” Baloney! Apart from Christ, our default position is distrust, deception and disobedience. If our hearts were basically good, we wouldn’t have needed a Saviour to save and deliver us from our sin.

Trusting God requires a heart transformation. God searches the heart and tests the mind and gives us a new heart. God uses a variety of surgical instruments to transform us, most commonly circumstances. Every life circumstance is about learning to trust in God. God uses our circumstances to teach us how to relate to him in such a way that we fully trust his nature at work on our behalf. Trust is relational, not circumstantial.

Your relationship with God will determine your revelation of God. Walking with God is a progressive journey of revelation. The greater your revelation of Gods character, the greater your level of trust. Trusting God is easier, the greater your affections for God’s presence increases. Abiding in God’s presence brings trust because God is trustworthy. Trust isn’t something I cultivate, it’s already built into God’s very nature. God is faith personified, its his nature to believe. The more I abide in him (Jn 15:1-11) the more trust becomes my lifestyle.

God blesses those who trust in him and curses those who trust in the flesh. Trusting in the flesh results in a barren life but trusting in God results in a fruitful and abundant life. The more we learn to trust in who God is, the more we will live by what he speaks into our lives.

The Oracle!