The Daily Word of Righteousness

The Importance of Fruit, #2

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20—NIV)

The Lord Jesus is telling some of us who are preachers that He wants the believers to look to Him in a new and more intense way. He is ready to bring forth His Life in us to a far greater extent than we have believed would be possible in this world. In order for the Life of Christ to come forth in us to this extent we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit as never before because bringing forth the Life of Christ in us to a greater degree requires that our adamic personality be diminished to a greater degree.

When we first receive Jesus, God welcomes us with open arms. There is much in our personality that God is not pleased with, but He overlooks these adamic traits and forgives us through the blood of the slain Lamb, Jesus Christ.

When a suitable amount of time has passed, and we have pleased God with the amount of grace we received initially, God comes down to prune us. The purpose of the pruning is to cut back the unnecessary growth of religious and other activities that have accumulated in us to this point.

Now we pass through a time of God's "anger," so to speak. He seems to withdraw from us. He attacks (a suitable term!) the elements of our personality and behavior He is not pleased with.

"In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8—NIV)

During this period He may tear us to pieces.

Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. (Hosea 6:1—NIV)

Have you been there yet? It isn't much fun, is it?

But such times of Divine anger, seeming withdrawal, tearing, and injuring are as necessary for us as they were for Jacob. They are the cup we must drink if we would bear the quantity and quality of fruit God desires.

Jacob possessed treasures: his four wives and his many children. It seemed like Esau was going to come and murder him and his family.

Jacob could have taken his male servants and planned a strategy to defend his possessions. Or he could have attempted to placate Esau with gifts, which, in fact, he did.

But Jacob, because of the call of God on him, did what we all must do when God calls us to account for our conniving and thievery. He did not rely on other people to deliver him. He did not frighten his family to death. He went alone to seek God. The old heel-snatcher was facing truth at last.

God could have overpowered Jacob easily. But God does not cut across an individual's integrity. Jacob clung fiercely to God until God agreed to bless him.

To be continued.