To read the second part to this 2 part series, click here.
I have a feeling that there will be many other posts like this one. Where I take current revelations and lay bare (confess) the true reality I have found in my own heart throughout the journey of grasping the truth of His Word. Buckle up if you choose to continue on in this post. Know that the realness you read in posts like this one, have come through a work of the Spirit in my life. And that work is revealing the critical importance of my heart condition when it comes to relationship with God, alongside the fact that “forever” is what immediately follows my vapor of a life in this age.
REALIZING WHAT I’M REAPING
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do…Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these…those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Gal. 5:16-25
Now I used to read Galations 5:19-21 and immediately justify myself from having any works of the flesh. I would look at the qualifiers that were clearly not me like “drunkenness” and “orgies” in order to leverage my innocence. I would then skim over the rest of the qualifiers like “divisions” and “fits of anger,” considering myself better than I really was, and would internally justify away, defend my innocence and walk away lieing to myself about where my heart really stood before the Lord. Now, after gaining an urgency for knowing Him, that is something that my theology cannot afford, knowing that those qualities will not translate into the age to come. However, the fruit of the Spirit will. You see, God is not wanting there to be any hiccup between our life lived in this age and the next. The inheritance of bodily resurrection unto life will function within the paradigm of reigning with Christ/Messiah on this earth, and it is under His governing and values that I will serve and operate FOREVER. Either I believe and have faith in Him and His mission, or I don’t. God is still seeking to make it alive and the top reality in my own heart, as I continue to cry out for Him to help my unbelief in His purposes and mission. This life truly is the internship to the “forever” that will be if we endure to the end (overcome) with our hearts still intact for the Lord and not secretly given to ourselves. I am learning His values, so that when I enter into the next age I will govern with Him in the way by which He governs. All throughout Scripture He is laying out the qualities by which we are to live now, that way we are set to govern with Him in the next age, while on the earth. For so long His government principles in this life, seemed trivial, ethereal or unimportant to my own heart. They were good ideas and suggestions with a heavy emphasis on “optional.” The motivation in my own heart to consistently live out love, joy, peace, etc, was because it caused me to be celebrated by men and praised for the well-being of my own heart. What was seen by others on the external of who I was, mattered more than what dwelled internally. I was aiming for eternal destruction with hidden pride and selfishness deeply rooted on my insides and the works of the flesh fully active and alive in my heart…covered by outward works of ministry rooted in self-approval. The hope of His calling (hope=resurrection upon His return; calling=invitation to join Him when He returns) was not essential to my current structure of life and basically none existent! Yet that is what those in the Word of God lived their lives unto.
God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption (destruction NIV, i.e. Gehenna/hell), but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (everlasting life NKJV/NLT, i.e. resurrection). And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:7-9
FRUITFULNESS SET ON FOREVER
So, with all that said, I have recently been pondering on the fact that so much fruitfulness for the next age is unseen until He is revealed on that Day, thus it becomes depreciated in the eyes of many, eventually leading it to become unappreciated. Or better yet, ignored when it comes to the everyday processes of life, thus there is a disconnect between what is and what people think will be (spending eternity in the floaty clouds of heaven instead of on the earth reigning with Him). The end result of God’s mission really matters to how we read the Word, live our lives now, our motivation in pursuing holiness, and whether we will obtain salvation (bodily resurrection to life) when Jesus the Messiah returns to be King over the earth. Based off the “full version” gospel I have recently discovered through the Word, I no longer am seeking to escape trials or tribulations, but am yearning to take those moments and use them as springboards for holiness/Kingdom values to be birthed through grace given in prayer. He is returning for a spotless Bride and truly that comes through persevering based on a hope that transcends this age. For many like myself, we were taught from a very young age to base our reality on what is seen and benefits the immediate. Thus, much of western Christianty’s world view steers toward immediate benefits that can be seen, even if it is not said. Our Christianity is set primarily on the externals of the here and now, instead of the internal fruit that will cause us to obtain “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14) and live out Kingdom realities.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. “Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit…I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. John 15:1-2,5-6
I have come to the conclusion that there is a distinction between “bearing fruit” and doing external works/deeds in His name (ministry). It was that very lack of distinction that caused me to think more highly of myself than I ought in years past when it came to my Christianity. I saw my works of ministry as fruit and was deceived. When in hindsight, much of it will be burned up by the fire of God’s reality, based on the simple fact that my insides were lacking the unseen fruit that is necessary to withstand the flames that will test my work at the end of this age.
DRIVEN BY HIS MISSION
As some of my other posts have indicated, I recently have had a revelation about the gospel and God’s objective looking more toward the end result of our hearts than about the immediate need WE feel should take priority. The leading of the Holy Spirit begins to become far more clear as we are “filled with the knowledge of His will (mission) in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him” (Col. 1:9,10). Knowing His mission (end game) matters, because if that is not constantly in the bulls-eye of our target in life, then we will place our confused priority list at the forefront, call it God’s, and potentially miss the mark when it matters (at His return). Our hearts must be entrusted to Him, and it can only happen through His grace which is granted in the place of prayer, for the sake of ultimately enduring to the end and being saved-resurrected to life (Matt. 24:13).
Well, to sum it all up, my life of ministry for years, was mostly based on seeking to marginalize the Kingdom values like humility, meekness, patience, self-control, etc, unless it outwardly benefited me in the eyes of others. My lack of understanding God’s mission and will caused me to distort and twist Scripture in order to elevate my status and purposes on this side of Christ’s return. I was an expert Pharisee, who looked clean on the outside but inwardly was dirty and lieing to himself, in order to gain in the immediate (praise, recognition, approval) and receive my reward in this age and not the next. I was far more needy than I wanted to admit to. Revelation 3:17 was a rock that shattered my “stain glass window” of a world. God was calling me out to be a nameless, faceless individual in the depths of my own heart, and for me to allow Him to mold me…instead of all the other things that surrounded my life and sought to exalt me into something He never asked for. Oh how real God’s mercy has become in the midst of realizing the darkness of my own heart and speaking the truth about sin. His justice and jealousy over my heart is mercy and love toward me, so that I might truly know Him. It is the judgment and righteousness of the coming kingdom that sets the standard for holiness in this age. Sanctification and a higher moral standard are not arbitrary realities given by God in this age before we die and go to heaven–they are real standards that will be enforced on the earth in the age to come.
Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Matt. 3:8
And now for a little levity: