Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Are We To Be?

 

On Monday nights this summer, Bill Helsel has been working through “The Beatitudes” at Men’s Group. These are found in Matthew 5. Jesus saw the crowds, went up on the mountain, and began to preach before His disciples. In these words, Jesus presents to us the way to happiness and blessing. This is what “beatitude” means. This is something that most people should connect with. There is a desire for happiness that drives us to pursue the things that we do in life. We all want to be blessed and Jesus makes it clear for us, how that is found. The mistake that many make however, is taking these words of Christ to be a plan to what we need to accomplish or “be” in order to attain that happiness and blessing. The approach is taken, “Ok, I just need to be more merciful, make some peace, strive for purity and then I will get my happiness. I’ll do what I need to do and be who I need to be and Jesus will give me my blessing in return.” Unfortunately, this is not how it works. Yes, the beatitudes point to who we must be but the hard reality that Jesus is pointing to in these words is that these are things that we can never be apart from God. The blessing and happiness are found only when He is at work within us.

When heard, correctly, the beatitudes are incredibly hard to swallow. Jesus said things like, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” to confront our mindset and perspective that we already have all of the righteousness that we could ever need. We are bent to point out our own goodness and list the righteous deeds that we’ve completed yet Jesus speaks right to the heart of the “accomplished” and says, “There will be no blessing or happiness until you put those things aside and realize your need.” God proclaims, “There is none righteous, not even one…there is none who does good” in the Scriptures to bring us face to face with the truth that our own righteousness, our own thoughts of “good”, are not the standard. They don’t come close to what God requires and they are not what He is asking for. So, Jesus points to the Gospel in His word. Happiness comes when you go after the righteousness that God gives. Blessing comes when you crave His work and His goodness within you much more than anything you could muster up. The sign of being blessed is clinging to the Lord with all that you have rather than exerting yourself to be who you never could.

In the end, the beatitudes show us what we cannot be unless Christ is our hope, our strength, and our trust. I cannot be merciful or have the blessing that comes with it, unless I have Christ showing me and working that mercy within me through my relationship with Him. No amount of the purity within the heart that Christ speaks of in Matt. 5:8 will come through my own determination or discipline. These are not bad things but unless I have Jesus’ work of forgiveness, washing, and continually making my heart new as I confess my sin to Him (1 John 1:9), then I have nothing. So, as we look forward to fall and the work that is to come, let us remember, that we will never be who Christ desires or demands, on our own. The attitude, the heart, the work to be happy and blessed is not going to come from us. It must come from Him.

Praying For Him To Make Us Who HE Wants Us To Be, Pastor Rudy

 

Love As You Love Yourself

Recently, I took some time to reflect on the 2nd Greatest Commandment. This was with some help from a book entitled, “What Jesus Demands From The World” by John Piper. The 2nd Greatest Commandment is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s interesting, there is something that Jesus assumes of everyone in this command. We all love ourselves. Contrary to popular psychology and self-help theories, we don’t have to spend time, effort, or money learning to love and embrace ourselves. We already do that. It is built within us to care for ourselves. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Jesus doesn’t command for us not to love ourselves but in His command, He teaches us to learn something from how we love ourselves. This self-love should teach us how we are to love those around us. This is the standard that we have from God. The degree to which you love yourself, is the degree to which you should love your neighbor.

Now, self-love is sinful when we put ourselves and our own happiness above the Lord. It is also sinful when we try to seek those things apart from Him. We cannot truly love ourselves apart from loving God. To put ourselves before the Lord is the most hateful and destructive thing that we could do to ourselves. This is why Jesus’ 1st Greatest Commandment is to “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The love we have for ourselves (or others) should flow out of our love for the Lord. This is only when it will not be selfish or sinful. As we have looked at in 1 Corinthians 13 at Pike, God’s love is the only way to love. When we know His love, we truly know what love is and how best to display it. Jesus’ insight here, is to display it in the way that you show it to yourself.

How do you love yourself? Count the ways. You work for safety and comfort. You pursue what will sustain and satisfy. You provide what brings rest and refreshment. You desire joy and fulfillment. Every day, every hour, every minute we do so much to love ourselves. We are unwavering in this love. The question Jesus forces us to examine ourselves with is, “Do I love others with this same kind of passion, energy, drive, endurance, or hard work?” This is the gauge that Jesus has given us to love. The love that we would show ourselves is the love that others deserve.

                                                       Learning To Love, Pastor Rudy

 

Adoption

“It’s everywhere I look.” This was the conclusion I came to after my wife and I agreed to spend time reading Scripture and praying specifically through the decision of adoption. God’s heart for the orphaned, lost, and abandoned child is written all over Scripture. He provides promises for those children, gives instruction to His people, and even uses the picture of adoption to display our new relationship with Him through the work of Christ at the cross. God makes it clear that He cares for these children and He also calls His people to imitate Him in that love. This was a truth that I saw everywhere and a calling that I could not ignore as a follower of Christ.

From a young age I witnessed those who looked out for the forsaken in my grandparents. Their story is unique. They looked specifically for those who no-one wanted. In that, they were able to adopt 30 kids (while having 7 biologically) from very different backgrounds with very special needs. In this example I was able to see that as difficult and challenging as it can be to bring in kids who have been neglected and who need extra care, there is also great reward. There are many stories my grandparents have passed on of the Lord providing in incredible ways, which only solidifies for me today this truth that God cares and looks after children who have nowhere to turn. In Ps. 27:10, there is a confidence in the Lord’s provision for these, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.” Those who take in foster children and those who adopt are a fulfillment of these words. They are the instrument that God uses to “take up” those who have been forsaken. The reason I wanted to pursue foster-to-adoption is to be that instrument. I want kids to know that they can hold to what Ps. 27:10 says. I want them to see the reality of it.

I also want to worship the Lord in the way that matters to Him. As James says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). To “visit” the orphan is not just to acknowledge them but to find ways to look after and care for them. For Lindsey and I, this means opening up our home. How could we not, especially in seeing how God has reached out to us in our sin? Paul says in Eph. 1:5-6, “In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” When we were unlovable, on our own, and at our worst (Rom. 5:8) the Lord took us in through Christ. The work of Jesus has made it possible for us to have a Father and home in heaven. What tremendous love He has shown us in our own adoption! Any care for the orphan, whether through fostering, adopting, or supporting those families, ministries, and organizations that do the work is in some way pointing to this love of God. We hope that you will pray with and for us as we continue in this journey. We also pray that the Lord would lead you in caring for the forsaken in some way.

 Praying For Spiritual And Physical Children To Find Their Way Home, Pastor Rudy

 

Apathy Is Not For Me!

What’s something that you feel apathetic about? I asked a group of teenagers this question and heard responses like “Homework”, “School”, “Chores”, and “Work.” Although we may be quick to associate apathy with our younger generation, if we’re honest, we can admit that this is something that impacts all of us. There are times in life that we just seem to lose interest, concern, or even enthusiasm. Sometimes those who have been around Christianity a long time will even become apathetic about the Lord. Why do you think this happens? What would cause us to become bored or tired with God or His ways? One reason Scripture points to is not being able to see the Lord clearly. This happen when we take our eyes off of Him. At Church we sing, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim…”. What we find in life is that the opposite is true as well. When we turn our eyes away from Jesus onto the things of this earth, He is the One who grows strangely dim and our hearts grow increasingly cold. The way out of the apathy funk then is turning back to the Lord.

In Matthew 5:8, Jesus says this, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The connection between seeing God as we should, not just in the future but in the day to day, is in our purity. Impurity causes us to turn our gaze off of the Lord and onto ourselves. It’s not easy to care about church when it infringes on “my time.” The Bible becomes boring when we can’t see how it applies to “to me.” The stories, the studies, the sermons all become “things that I’ve heard before” when we no longer look to see what these things show us about God, but instead only want to know, “What will this do for me?”. The purpose of all of these things is not us but the Lord. Their purpose is to point us to who God is, what He is like, what He has done, and what He wants. Those are the things that matter and shape who we are and what we do. Jesus shows us that purity will set us free from being “me-centered” to being God-centered and seeing Him as we should. This is what Jesus set to do in His death on the cross. In 2 Cor. 5:15, Paul shows us that Jesus died to set us free from life that is all about us. So, apathy doesn’t occur because God has run out of ways to keep our attention. It happens because we put our attention on other things, namely ourselves, which isn’t enough to keep us engaged.

In Ps. 51:10, David prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David knows that his purity is dependent on the Lord doing the work in his heart. He also has found that the result of his impurity is a spirit that is disengaged and apathetic. So, he prays for the Lord to renew him. So, when we find ourselves lost in apathy, we must consider where our focus is. Is it on ourselves or the Lord? We must also follow the example of David and turn to the Lord seeking His work in our hearts and eyes to wake us up again to who He is and what He has done (see Ps. 13:3).

 

                                                                            Seeking To See Him, Pastor Rudy

 

Learn to Discern

On Sunday mornings we have been looking at the remarkable gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes to believers for the good of the Church. The Church serves and matures through this gifting. One of those gifts, as seen in Paul’s list of 1 Corinthians 12, is the distinguishing of Spirits. The Holy Spirit uses this gift to protect and warn the Church of danger. Through this gift, believers are able to distinguish and discern between what is the Holy Spirit and what isn’t. Even though some believers have a unique gifting from the Holy Spirit for this work, all believers are called to it. The gifted have the ability to give an example, training, and challenge for those who are not. The writers of Scripture were gifted in this work and give all believers training to learn to discern for themselves. The writer of Hebrews tells us that through this Word given to us our senses are trained to be able to discern between good and evil.

John gives some training in 1 John 4. This is after he reminds all believers of their responsibility to discern in verse 1. There he says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” In verses 2-6 then, John gives some guidelines for those who need it. Essentially his guidelines are the same as Paul’s in 1 Cor. 12:3. It all comes down to what is being confessed about Jesus. This will manifest itself in someone’s words, character, and actions. One thing to discern is whether or not these things are reflecting Christ. In verses 5-6, John continues to show the importance and necessity of this gift and practice. Vs. 5, “They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” John shows us that there are those who are from the world and those who are of God. Those who are from the world talk like the world, think like the world, and act like the world. And see what John says, “And the world listens to them.” The unbelieving world is completely comfortable with them, whether it be their message, lives, or actions because it makes them feel good. There’s no conviction, no call to repentance, no need for submission or sacrifice. Just a sort of “Graduation Speech religion” that tells you to think positively and follow your dreams so that good things come to you.

On the other side, John says, “We are from God.” Who is John referring to here? The same “we” as he referred to in 1 John 1. Those who saw with their eyes, heard with their ears, and received the message directly from the Lord, “That God is light and in Him there is no darkness.” He’s referring to the Apostles and he says, “…he who knows God listens to us…By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” You want to be able to distinguish between spirits? Does the message (whether that be in a song, movie, music), attitude, perspective, lifestyle agree with what these men from God have spoken? That’s how we know God and that’s how we know the Spirit of truth from the spirit of error; what’s from God and what’s from demons. Again, this is necessary as John says in vs. 1, “…because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” I thank God for people with this ability and hope that He leads many others, including myself, to grow in this.

 

                                                        Learning To Discern With You, Pastor Rudy

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Enough

If you’ve ever been left at a cash register with “insufficient funds” then you know the sickening feeling of not having enough. Many athletes know the devastation of only losing by a few points or coming within tenths of a second to the winner. There’s nothing worse than coming up short when it really matters. As I write this, lent is just beginning. People have made their declarations and commitments to what they will give up during this season before Easter. When Easter arrives then many will choose to go to church because it seems “right” for this time of the year. In all of this, many are hoping to find some sort of fulfillment and satisfaction. They want to make God happy so they’ll eat fish for a month, wake up a little earlier on one Sunday out of the year, and throw on some fancy pastel colors in hopes to appease the Lord at least until they do it all again next year. The sad news for these men and women is, it’s not enough. No amount of fasting, Easter services, or fancy attire could ever secure us a place in heaven. Our works, sacrifices, and offerings would never be enough. These things are insufficient to bring peace to our souls and our relationship with God.

These attempts are nothing new. Throughout history mankind has tried any and every way possible to reach heaven on their own. Consider the Tower of Babel in the book of Genesis. This isn’t just a story to consider before embarking on a building venture. This event points to the truth of our salvation. We cannot reach heaven on our own. We will come up short and our efforts will end in confusing ruins. God’s people then thought that sacrifices may bring about security only to find that the Lord did not desire them nor would He accept them. These sacrifices and God’s Law were not set in place to see what we could do. These were meant to expose exactly what we couldn’t do. Yet mankind continues to try to find some way to do enough, be enough, and God continues to show again and again that it’s not enough. There are so many who are left tired, burdened, and empty both in and outside religion. During a holiday season they’ll go through the traditions, make some adjustments, do some work, and hope for the best but when it’s said and done, there’s nothing to show for it. After moments like this, some give up. Some decide they won’t even try. In fact, they’ll go the complete opposite direction. They’ll live for themselves, take for themselves, and fill up themselves. They’ll even go so far as to ignore even the slightest hint of religion but even those who are filled to the brim with material and pleasure find at the end of the day, that it’s not enough.

As I said, the sacrifices were not meant to bring satisfaction, the works were not meant to fulfill, and the law-abiding was not meant to achieve anything. These were meant to show us our need and insufficiency. They were meant to drive us to a Savior. Human effort and strength will not get us to heaven. It took the Lord, to come down to us. Jesus is our only way. Only His sacrifice will suffice. Our debt of sin was too great for any of us to think that we could make a dent in it with annual attempts. God gave us His law to show our weakness, and He gave His Son to achieve what we couldn’t. Jesus took the sin that we could not atone, the arrogance that we could not undo, and the punishment that we could not escape and paid for it all in full at the Cross. Jesus took on God’s righteous anger. He swallowed His holy hatred for sin until there was nothing left. Paul says in Rom. 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Paul also says in verse 3 of chapter 8, “What the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did.” Please hear this: GOD DID IT! He did not leave any work or part of salvation up to us. He has done enough. All the work required and needed, Christ accomplished, which is why He calls out to us, “Come to Me, all who are tired and heavy laden. I will give you rest!” I pray that all of us would know the hope, joy, and satisfaction there is in Jesus because He is enough!

Let Us Remember And Rest In Him, Pastor Rudy

 

The Importance of Patience

When was the last time that you lost your patience? What caused it? Was it an irritating interaction or a lengthy waiting period that pushed you to your limit? Most people in our world today know that patience is important. You don’t have to be a believer to say that “patience is a virtue” but what makes it so important? Why should we value and even strive to have patience? As believers, patience is a vital part of our influence and our assurance. Without it, we are in danger of losing both.

In Prov. 22:24-25, Solomon stresses the importance of patience by showing us the consequences of being impatient. He says, “Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, lest you learn his ways, and find a snare for yourself.” Impatience rubs off on others. Solomon gives the instruction not even to hang around those who are impatient because of the negative effects their influence can have. This is a convicting concept to digest especially when we consider what our kids or grandkids are picking up from us when they see and hear our reactions to people and situations. Impatience breeds impatience. If this is true then I believe the opposite must be true. If we are not to associate with those who impatiently fly off the handle then naturally, we should associate with those who are patient because this is what will rub off on us. Patience is important because it is influential and contagious. Our patience or impatience has the power to change our environments and shape those who are watching us. This is why we strive for patience.

We value patience because of what it says of our relationship with the Lord. If patience is present within us this serves as a reminder that we know and love Him. In Eph. 5:1, Paul gives this instruction, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” The motivation for our imitation is love. In Rom. 2:4, Paul describes the Lord as being “rich in patience.” If we are striving to be like God then we are striving to be patient just like our Father is. Is there evidence of patience in your life? This is good reason to know that you love the One who is rich with it. It is also support that you know Him. Solomon showed us that association can be influential so what should happen if we spend time with the Lord? We should see the effects of knowing Him in our behavior, including our patience. John says in 1 John 2:5b-6, “By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” We know that we know Him if we see the same patience at work in us as Jesus displayed in His walk.

None of this is possible without the work of the Lord within us. Jesus made it clear in John 15 that God desires to see the “fruit” of our love and knowledge of Him in our lives but Jesus also showed that we can do nothing apart from Him. If we want patience we must go to Jesus. We must look to Him to work within our hearts to develop this virtue within us by the work of the Holy Spirit. In Gal. 5, Paul shows us that “patience” is a “fruit of the Spirit.” Another word that we can use for “fruit” is “evidence”. As we’ve seen patience is evidence that we love our Father and that we are following in the footsteps of His Son but this “fruit” also acts an indicator of the Holy Spirit’s presence within us, producing what we cannot on our own. If we are seeing patience at work where it never was before, this should serve as blessed assurance of our relationship with the Trinity. If we are not seeing patience, then we have reason to go to the One whom we can confess our impatience to with the promise that He will forgive us and preform the work that is needed to make us who He wants us to be.

Praying For Patience In You And I, Pastor Rudy

 

Don’t “Facebook Friend” Jesus

Facebook has been around since 2004. From its beginning, it has slowly been changing the way that we interact and communicate with the world around us. This mode of socializing has opened the door to a whole new world of virtual interaction. Great things have been done in bridging gaps between long distant friends or even reuniting relationships of the past. We are able to keep up with others in ways that we were never able to before. We can now witness family grow up right before our eyes in online photo albums. We can keep in touch through posts and comments. These things are great but with all of the advantages of this tool there are also many dangers. Whether we recognize it or not social media has affected the way that we relate with others. Yes, we are able to feel close to people but, in all honesty, we can also keep them at a safe distance. We can now feel like we “know” people without ever having to talk with them or even offer anything of ourselves. All it takes is a click and a scroll. Relating in this way has a sad resemblance to how many people relate to the Lord.

Jesus said in John 17, “This is eternal life, that you know Me and the One who sent Me.” In one sense Jesus is describing how we gain eternal life. To know Jesus is to have eternal life. We cannot have forgiveness and a right-standing with the Father if we do not know and trust the Son. In this statement Jesus is also showing what eternal life is. It is all about knowing Jesus. How will we spend eternity? Knowing, getting to know, and being in relationship with Christ. This is important for us to realize because if we don’t have it now then we will never have it then. A relationship with Christ is much more than just acknowledging His existence. It goes beyond being able to rehearse some events from His life or having some of the same interests as He does. This is proven in Matt. 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” I could say that I know Carson Wentz. I know that we have some similar interests. I’ve followed his activity and kept up on his current injury status but even with all that I know about him, he would have no idea who I was. There’s no relationship there. We’ve never truly interacted. Any connection has only been from a distance. Many people have “added” Jesus at some point in their lives. They follow some of His posts every now and then and feel like this has given them a status with Christ when the truth is, there is nothing there.

When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, how would He respond when you say, “I know Him!”? To truly know Jesus we must give ourselves to Him. We cannot know Him fully from a distance. John makes this clear in his epistle. To know Jesus means to walk with Him (1 John 1:7) and keep His Word (1 John 2:4). Jesus explained in Matthew 7:24 that this looks like hearing His Word and acting on it. To be more than an acquaintance requires action. This is true, both, in relationships with others and with Jesus. It’s also interesting, when John talks about walking with Jesus, he also talks about confession. If we are going to get close to Christ we are going to need to leave the comfort of a safe distance and share ourselves, for who we really are, with Him. When we interact in this way we reveal our need to know Him and we also gain the opportunity for forgiveness and transformation. This New Year let’s look to get to know Jesus. Let’s take an active approach to taking in all that we can of Him and offering up all that we are to Him so that we may see what it truly means to have a friend in Jesus.

 

Getting To Know Him, Pastor Rudy

 

Joy To The World

Tis the season to be overwhelmed and inundated with signs and decorations telling us how to feel. “Be Merry!”, “Be Joyful!”, “Don’t get your tinsel in a bunch!” are just a few that I’ve seen so far. Of course, this promotion of good attitudes, joy, and peace are a good thing but sadly what people are missing are the signs pointing to where those things come from. It’s not that those signs are not there. They exist. They just often get overlooked in the hustle and bustle or ignored in the tradition of the Christmas season. There is certainly reason to feel joy at Christmas. One way we can remind ourselves of that is by taking a fresh look at a familiar song that has accompanied Christmas for a very long time.

In the early 1700’s Isaac Watts set out to create his own paraphrase of the Psalms. In this process he, unintentionally, wrote the words to, what would become, one of the most popular Christmas carols we have today. Watts’ paraphrases turned into a collection, entitled, “The Psalms of David, Imitated in the Language of the New Testament.” In his writing, Watts set out to see Jesus in the Psalms. In Luke 24:4 this is what Jesus told His disciples they should see when they look there, “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’” As Watts read through Ps. 98:4-9 he could see within the Jewish song for deliverance the Christian’s anticipation and joy in Christ’s return. How could he not be overwhelmed with joy after reading, “Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord, for He is coming…”? Yes, joy is commanded, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth” but it is also enabled at the thought of the Savior’s coming. Originally this song was intended to look ahead at what was to come in Jesus’ return to earth. He would judge and rule with righteousness and equity over His people. Think of what this means in light of the current climate that we live in today. Government will one day, no longer be associated with corruption or controversy because it will all rest on Christ, Himself. Lives will no longer be needlessly taken and peace will no longer be a distant thought because the Prince of Peace will reign.

The thought of Christ’s return was especially joyful to Watts because it meant the end to the suffering and hardships that plagued much of his life. Watts’ family experienced mistreatment and persecution because of issues surrounding his father and the fact that his mother was a refugee. Watt’s also had many health issues. He longed for the day when there would “…no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…” (Rev. 21:4). We also see in Revelation 22:3 that the curse of sin will no longer be. This is what brings us to Christmas and what Christ came to do in His first coming. In his birth, death, and resurrection Christ “no more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground [because] He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.” You don’t have to look very far to find the curse. We have all been plagued by it in our sin but there is blessing that flows in turning and trusting in the One who came to die in our place and then resurrect for our life. He is the reason for joy! Be joyful knowing He has come and will soon come again!

 

Praying For Joy In Jesus, Pastor Rudy

 

Believers With Attitude

What do you think of when you see the word, “attitude”? A lot of the time, we associate negative thoughts with this word. We may think of a tough guy with sunglasses or a little girl with sass. In our society, along with those in the past, young people were often thought of as having attitude problems. We can see that in how Paul addresses Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:12 he says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness…”. People had the tendency to look down on young people because of their attitudes. Bad attitudes revealed themselves in their actions. Paul challenges Timothy, “…but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” There are specific areas that Paul calls Timothy to be an example in, “speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.” If you think about each of these areas, they are all affected by our attitudes. Our attitudes have a direct impact on our behavior.  So, if we want to be examples in all of these things (which is something that all believers should strive for, not just the young ones) then we need to be believers with attitude but the right attitude. One that has been adjusted and directed by the Holy Spirit.

One of Jesus’ favorite illustrations is fruit. In Matthew 7, good fruit only comes from good trees. A bad tree cannot bear good fruit. In those cases, it is cut down and thrown into fire. Jesus explains in vs. 20 that the indicator of the condition of the tree is its fruit. The same is true of our attitudes. This is the indicator of our hearts. If we have a bad attitude then we need to look at the condition of our hearts and if we want a good attitude then we need to be sure that our hearts are rooted in the right place. Jesus shows us in John 15 where that is to be. In verses 4-9 He says this, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” Jesus is clear that we cannot produce any good fruit on our own. Our attitudes will not be what they should be by our own decisions or strength. This work must come through Jesus. It comes by abiding in Him. There are at least 5 times just in these verses that Jesus tells us to abide in Him. The idea here is to be “planted in Jesus.” The way we are planted is first by trusting in Him. In verse 9, Jesus says, “abide in my love.” We must trust that Jesus loves us and that He has shown us that love by His work on the cross. We must trust that He is our only hope for the fruit that God desires in our lives. The other way to be planted in Jesus is to obey His Word. In verse 10, Jesus says, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love…”. If we want to abide then we must trust and obey Him. Just like the old hymn says, “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”

As we trust and obey, the Holy Spirit begins to do something in our lives. Just like a good tree we begin to produce good fruit. Paul shows us in Galatians 5:22-23 that this fruit is, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Would you consider these words to be consistent with your own attitude? Do you see this fruit evidenced in your day-to-day? Maybe it’s time to go to the Lord for a holy attitude adjustment that you may be an example of what it looks like to be a believer with attitude.

 

      Seeking The Fruit Of A Holy Spirit Shaped Attitude, Pastor Rudy