Friday, October 23, 2009


Matthew 7:20--"So then, you will know them by their fruit."

So many VBS songs confuse young minds about what it means to be "fruitful". I have to say that it took me a long time to understand it exactly. The Bible refers to fruit and farming so often. This week, I had a strange revelation. I have been reading about self-control and concentrating on Galatians 5:19-25:

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

These lists are not exhaustive. I'm sure there are many other sins that cause the Holy Spirit to hide deep within us. I'm also sure that there are other ways that we can show others Christ within us. However, these two paragraphs go hand in hand. You cannot have both. They cancel each other out. I went through and noted on a scale of 1-10 how sinful I am and how fruitful I am. If you know me at all or have ever read my blog, you would know that self-control is my weakness...or maybe it is kindness. Either way, I am not showing people Christ when I cannot control my thrashing tongue.

If I would have rated myself five years ago, things would have been different. Being a follower of Christ causes me to constantly change. It is a never-ending self-improvement process. I am striving to minimize the sin and increase the fruit. "They" say we should have 5 fruits a day...I'm working on my 8 fruits everyday!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Weekend Challenge

Of course everyone knows that I have been reading So, You Want To Be Like Christ?. I am currently reading the chapter about surrender. Today's section was about studying Christ. Chuck Swindoll references Hebrews 12:2, "Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--than exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And how he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God." We are to be Jesus' apprentices, learning how to listen and follow God. I think of my student teaching experience which was apprentice-like. I had studied for three and half years how to be a teacher, but then I got to try it out myself with people to help me become the best educator possible. We are to be the exact same way with Jesus. He studied God, did what he was supposed to do, and reached the finish line in heaven.

I need to stop just studying the Words of Christ and put them into action. Philippians 2:3-4 crawled all over me this morning; it says, "Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." Jesus was the most selfless person; he did whatever God asked him to do. Every person has their own agenda, even the most Godly people. My goal for this weekend is to push myself aside, my curious ears and degrading mouth, and lift and encourage people with my words and actions. I am also reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke 9:23, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Jesus laid it out in three steps, but the process is so much harder.

We'll see how this goes...hold me accountable if you're reading this and I challenge you to try it too...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Perfect People

We know there's no way that we can be perfect. We've been taught all our lives that the only perfect person is Jesus Christ. So, why do try to act perfect? So many people cover up their insecurities and shortfalls, but we all have them. Our "imperfections" make us different from others.

God has really been working on my heart about this topic and he has sent me several devotions and pieces of scripture that have led me to this post. It all started during mine and Jordan's unemployment. God really comforted us and brought us through that time with confidence, not in ourselves but that our Almighty God would always take care of us.

I have also been reading about how to become more like Christ. Of course I'll never be perfect like Christ, but my readings are teaching me how to have a more Christ-like character. I have recently been reading in So, You Want to be Like Christ?" about uncluttering our minds and slowing our pace. We try to fill our minds and lives with things so we don't have time to think about how we have fallen short. God tells us in Psalm 46 to be still and get to know him. Silence makes people insecure. Chuck Swindoll puts it so well, "Insecure people need to stay busy; they need the constant attention of a fawning multitude. Unless that changes they will forever be shallow, underdeveloped people." I see this so often! Chuck also said that people will see you as confident when you have a peace and contentment within. The only way to have true peace and contentment inside is to spend time with Jesus.

The other thing that God has shown me about these so called "perfect" people is their lack of understanding of the body of Christ. I see this in men, women, and children. People are jealous of a skill or attribute that another believer possess. I know first hand that people don't like me because I can cook/bake and because I'm a leader, but I can't sing or take care of the sick. I see kids get angry at other kids because one can color better than the other. In 1 Corinthians, we are told that every person is given different skills and when we work together we are like a body. Only Jesus could do everything. We have to work with others to accomplish everything that Jesus could.

We cannot be perfect people. We (this includes myself) need to accept our imperfections and be content with ourselves. I am glad that I got to put this out there because I feel like preaching sometimes! It's so hard for me to understand others...especially other ladies!

So in the words of Natalie Grant..."There's no such thing as perfect people, There's no such thing as a perfect life, So come as you are broken and scarred, Lift up your heart and be amazed, And be changed by a perfect God."