Blogger's Note: Since we are traveling to Europe and likely will not be able to post my devotional journal tomorrow, I decided to do it and post it here on 7/27 so that I can remain accountable to my discipline in this very important devotional part of my life. ... wrb
Passage of the Day: 2nd Peter 1: 8 (see bold text below) … 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities [see verses 5 – 7] in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
My Journal for Today: The Apostle Peter, in today’s verse and passage, is clearly trying to help converted believers to live a full and spiritually productive, i.e., FRUITFUL, life in Christ. And doing all I can to live up to this exhortation, I know, as do you, if you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, that living the fully surrendered Christian life is a most challenging proposition.
In reading Matt. 7: 15 – 20, Jesus taught that we can recognize the true from the false prophets or believers by the way they live their lives. As He said in verse 20, “… by their fruit you will recognize them.” And what are the fruit which we see blossoming to maturity on the tree of life in a true Christian? Well, we’ve already looked at Paul’s list of fruit (see Gal. 5: 22, 23) and Peter’s in today’s passage. And if you’ve associated with real-for-sure Christians, you may have seen these fruit manifest in those who boldly witness openly and often to non-believers. You may have seen Christians reaching out in mercy and love … even to the very unlovable or maybe even their enemies. And you may have seen these real-deal Christians giving much of their time, talents, and treasures to or through the local church without making a show of their giving.
Yes, these and other “fruit” of God’s Spirit are evident on the tree of life exhibited by true Christians. You will also see lives which go from the “bad fruit” mentioned by Jesus in Matt. 7, being transformed into the “good fruit,” living on the tree of a converted believer. Before I came to Christ, much “bad fruit” (which is described by Paul in Gal. 5: 19 – 21) grew openly on my tree of life; but when I came to surrender my life to God’s Spirit, God planted His fruit in and on me; and now God’s fruit grows for His glory and prayerfully for others to see Christ in me [see Matt. 5: 16 or Eph. 2: 10].
Does this mean that the fruit of the flesh is not still in my being? No, … such fruits could blossom in me IF I surrendered to my selfish sin-nature. But as long as I cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in my life by Godly choices [in faith], those Godly fruit will grow and become ever more apparent to any or all who see my tree of life growing in their midst. Prayerfully all of us who live the life of a Christian will remain in submission to God’s Spirit to allow Him to ripen and develop God’s fruit in our lives. To that end we live for Christ; and we know that we are saved by and for Him – i.e., more assurance of our salvation.
My Prayer Today: To live, dear Lord, is to live for You. Amen