“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
Frequently, believers go about looking for confirmation of their own salvation. We also find ourselves looking at others and wondering, “is he or she even saved?” Often such queries are prompted by observing a behavior or attitude in someone, that gives pause to wonder.
As I have matured in my spiritual life, I have come to realize that it is all very simple. Just as one comes to an apple tree, expecting to see apples, and one comes upon an orange tree expecting to see oranges, we can be confident that when we encounter a Christian, we are going to encounter the fruit of the Spirit, whether it be a bad season, or a season of abundance.
We all have read the passage I am using today, and I am willing to bet that few of us have gone below the surface, the true extant of what each word can mean. Typically we read the passage from the perspective of normal situations as indicated in every day life in America, where we are more concerned with the temporal aspects of life and not the deep spiritual undertones. We seldom hunger, feel little persecution, and the identity of a Christian is more cultural than based on whether we are born again.
As I write this, sitting comfortably in my lift recliner, surrounded by bibles, I know that somewhere, there is a believer that is being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. There might be a situation where he or she is losing a job, or denied business, they might be facing charges of blasphemy for saying something against Islam. They might be the only believer in village under the persecution of islamists, bent on rooting out infidels. Regardless of the circumstances, their faith life is anything but comfortable, and they more than likely, don’t have a bible.
Yet, they persist.
When one looks at today’s passage from that persepective, each word has more meaning and deeper ramifications. Loving for those under pressure of persection is a sacrificial act, one where they must share the Gospel message, even at threat of death, with people with a relentless passion.
It is truly a godly love, not a fleshly, superficial “love” that we speak of here in the states. I can say that anyone who is able to love in that setting, is truly filled with God. Sadly, here, people who say they call upon the name of the Lord, fight over the efficacy of wearing a mask.
I can go down the line from characteristic to characteristic and see the difference between believers in far off lands who are willing to die for this faith, that we take for granted, and we here in the west who have not yet seen our blood spilled in any significant fashion.
I suspect that will be changing.
Christian persecution is like a tsunami, a rising wave of destruction sweeping around the globe, destroying churches and making martyrs everywhere it goes. It is only a matter of time until hits here.
I wonder whether we will be ready. Will we be willing to stand for our faith when guns are drawn and pointed at our children. Will we stand when our spouses are killed before us as we are made to watch. That all may seem extreme, but it is happening now, somewhere.
Brothers and sisters, we must determine now that we will stand. The wave is coming. It starts by making sure that you know the Lord. Read the passage and ask yourself: can I love those who persecute me. Can I be like Jesus, who going to the cross said: “forgive them.”
“And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
Colossians 1:17 NKJV
In Him all things consist.
Jesus held together the cross on which He died, He held together the nails that pierced His hands and feet, He held together the Roman soldiers who pounded the nails and mocked Him, and He held together the very people who yelled “crucify Him!” That was LOVE!
I could never love like that from the flesh, or mere human will. Through Christ I can.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13 NKJV
The coming times of pressure and persecution will bring much revelation about who we are in the faith. Some of us will be revealed to be true believers, others will fall away. Those who stand will see God in ways that could have never imagined and know an intimacy with Jesus that will transcend all persecution, all pain, and brings anticipation of eternity to come.
Seek the Lord today, and ask that He reveal to you your true state. He wants no one to perish, but it is sad state indeed to find oneself so close to salvation and still bound for hell. I pray your fruit be abundant.