"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'." (John 7:38)

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1Cor. 2:12-13)


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Select Fruit

"For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." (Romans 11:29 ESV)

"Simon Peter said to him, 'You shall never wash my feet.' Jesus answered him, 'If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.'" (John 13:8 ) Having lost his boast in self-sufficiency, Peter then responds boastfully toward the opposite extreme; "...'Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!' Jesus said to him, 'The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean, but not every one of you.'" (John 13:9-10)

Here, we witness the pride of Peter arguing every angle, hoping to avoid the work of fellowship that God divinely established for the body of Christ.

But Jesus states, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet." (John 13:14)

Apart from Judas, the other disciples are clean, "...because of the word that I have spoken to you." (John 15:3)

Herein, lies a perplexity in the Christian walk. How can we know who is really clean? Peter, who was clean, fought Jesus tooth and nail for his own way. Judas, who was unclean, was rather quiet and seemed to mind his own business. How do we know who the true disciples are? If we find, gathered in the same assembly, both those called by God and those destined to destruction, just what is the litmus test for discerning the goats (or wolves) among us? It is by this:

"...every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2)

"If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons." (Hebrews 12:8)

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)

So, it is possible for Spiritual gifts to be manifest through anyone God may choose, while at the same time finding the individual actively grieving the Holy Spirit. While they are capable of revealing great powers and mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, we can also find they are incapable of deep, and intimate relationships with others.

One of the greatest examples of such double mindedness I can think of is Balaam. (Numbers 22-24) While he ultimately performed God's will, his heart was very deceitful.

"Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing," (2 Peter 2:15)

"Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion." (Jude 1:11)

Such hypocrisy is revealing of a self-centered and self-serving 'faith'. Several reasons for this are:

...they are still immature in their faith;

...they are more concerned about gaining wealth and self-notoriety;

...they are too fearful to become vulnerable with others for the cause of Spiritual fellowship.

Spiritual gifts are given to us by God and will not be taken back. Yet the gift is not the fruit, and without fruit there is no betrothal to Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit comes by laying down our own lives, surrendering ourselves to the convictions of the Holy Spirit, and thus cultivating a Holy relationship with the Father and Son, as well as with the body of Christ because the body and the Head are inseparable. You can not truly love the head while actively avoiding the body.

The common denominator here appears to be the calling of God.


"By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." (John 15:8)


  1. Well said, Paul. The confusion of gifts as fruit is so very prevalent. Fruit must be tasted, and maybe we have to get close to each other for this to be discerned. Close in a way perhaps that the other disciples didn't even have with Judas.

    About this subject of fruit, below is a poem about Jesus cursing the fig tree. I think it fits with what you shared. I wrote it after discovering something unique about fig trees - that as soon as the leaves appear on them, it means there is also fruit. So when Jesus saw from afar a fig tree with leaves, he expected there would be fruit. We know of course there wasn't, and what happened.

    Here is the poem. Love you!

    There once was a tree
    that shouted it had leaves,
    which meant it should have fruit.

    Other fig trees were barren,
    as it wasn’t their time,
    so quiet, they stayed put.

    From a distance Jesus noticed,
    and hungry He drew near,
    to hopefully find upon this tree,
    what it said it did so bear.

    But alas, it lied! It’s fruit, a farce.
    It’s leaves were all it had.
    It acted the part, it looked to be good,
    when the truth was it was bad.

    So in anger, Jesus cursed
    the tree with fruitless limbs.
    Not because it bore no fruit,
    but because it lied to Him.

    1. I had forgotten all about that fact of the fig tree. Interesting that you point out that 'nearness' is the determining factor in discerning the spirit of anything; we then see Jesus as well had to draw near to the tree to see if it had fruit.We too must be close to others in order to detect the truth of their presence.

      I love your poem! Especially the last two lines. It reminds me of the uninvited wedding guest who had no wedding clothes. The Bible says that after being confronted, the stranger was speechless. Sneaky things don't like to make much noise, lest they incriminate themselves. :-0

      Thanks so much for adding to the article, Pam!
      The beginning of the fruit of the Spirit is love!

  2. Ooh I love that connection to Jesus 'drawing near'! Didn't see that before. I wasn't even sure what I was saying... :)

    1. Ah, the beauty of being enveloped by Him. We can flow with His life without even knowing it!

  3. Excellent post Paul. All around us we see that gifting is valued over the bearing of fruit, both in the church system and in the world. The insatiable crowd gathers around the obviously gifted, demanding more and more of their gifting. The gifted are burned out, without ever learning how to produce abundant fruit, and then often quickly passed over and left for the next celebrity gifted one. We see this phenomenon in the world with the never ending quest for the next new 'star' and whole TV shows/industries devoted to it. Unfortunately, I have seen this too many times in the church and seen the result when the 'anointed' one inevitably falls into moral/financial failure or has some kind of breakdown. This is not the way Christ taught us to relate to one another. We need this message you have shared here so desperately.

    1. Funny thing, I woke up this morning and had two recent "So-and-S0's Got Talent" videos runnung through my mind. Then I come to find your comment. It is a very sad reality that the church system follows the ways of the world. Have you noticed the number of 'high priest' failures in these churches, especially the mega-churches? Nanette and I talk about this and the obvious conclusion is as you have stated in your comment. Leaders tend to separate themselves above common relations and accountability. Left to this place, one is extremely vulnerable to the temptings of the enemy.

      Great insight, here Cheryl! Thanks for dropping by and expounding on the tangible consequences that come by failing to become intimate with the Spirit of the Word.