Watching the Winter Olympics and even though I am not a sports nut by any stretch of the imagination, but some of these athletes have performances and attitudes at a level that is beyond description.
One comment from Lindsey Vonn really struck me, “I left it all on the mountain”.
Cooking that down to terms the average human can understand she was saying she had held nothing back. There was only one thing that flashed in my mind, “Jesus paid it all!”. Jesus, gave it all, He held nothing back.
Then I considered my own time ‘on the mountain’. When I stand before the thrown, will I be able to say, “I left it all on the mountain”? Will I, bring it all to the table and leave it there, before my Lord?
Bringing it all to the table
Perhaps the most externally visible indicator of doing ‘Bringing it all to the table”, in our walk as Christians, are the Fruits of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
It is the obvious things, that we have a tendency to overlook.
It is so obvious, that if we are not producing the Fruits of the Spirit. This is something that we really can’t fake effectively. It is also something that we also know in advance of those around us; if we are paying attention.
So, to the heart of the matter. Just as every athlete, must train and focus on perfection well in advance of the big day when they compete. That moment when they find if they ‘left it all on the mountain’ or not.
Matthew 12:33 (HCSB)
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
Jesus states the same thing I mentioned, we are known by the kind of fruit we produce. Jesus also, used vine and branches for illustrating the spiritual health of his disciples.
John 15:5-8 (HCSB)
“I am the vine; you are the branches.
The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.
If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.”
The question is back to the ‘fruit’ again. The answer is remaining in Jesus and having Jesus remain in us. If we do that, we will product ‘much’ fruit. We will be fruity.
Incrementally, we are making our way to understanding just how this works. The key to producing much fruit (exhibit those Fruits of the Spirit), is being in lockstep with the Lord Jesus. This sounds good, but just how do we do that? He is sinless. We on the other hand are flawed and severely disfigured representations of Christ.
Here are some things that help us stay on track:
Be in the Word – Be diligent in being consistently in God’s Word.
John 8:31-32 (HCSB)
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
So much of or spiritual health is dependent on how well we feed it with the Word. It and prayer are the single most important Ingredient, for being a healthy branch (or tree as the case may be).
Just a little note here: It’s always interesting when scripture, becomes one of our clichés. Personally, I feel this is the worlds means of attempting to minimize the impact of scripture but removing the phrase from the context.
The phase is, ‘You will know the truth and the truth will set you free’, or just ‘the true will set you free’. But contrary to it’s common usage, the real context is ‘If you continue in Jesus’s word, you are His disciple; you will know the truth; and that truth will set you free’.
Prayer – The two-way conduit of sharing our heart with God and His with us.
Philippians 4:6 (HCSB)
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
If you want to know about how to tighten up that relationship with Jesus; here is the key! Prayer is power. Power for thriving in His Spirit.
It isn’t ours to worry about anything. We leave our burdens at the foot of the cross and take up our own and follow Jesus. Being thankful, because we have faith that if we submit our requests in accordance to His will; He will take care of us, as He is the Good Shepherd.
Surrender – Giving up our will in submission to Gods.
2 John 1:9 (HCSB)
Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it, does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.
In other words, anyone that supplements the will of Christ, with their own, simply doesn’t have God in control. They no longer ‘remain’ in Christ. On the other hand, if we surrender our will, for the will of Christ, we will remain in His teaching, and the we are with both the Father and the Son.
Surrender is perhaps one of the things that we have the hardest time with. We wrestle with this demon and just when we think we have it conquered, our self will slip in and we begin to subvert the will of God in our lives.
The word ‘I’ is a dangerous word in this regard and must be buffered with our submission to Jesus. (I will – I want – I need – I can’t – I am – etc.)
Yes, we sometimes use ‘I’ out of habit or convenience. ‘I’ bet you could fine in my writing, cases where I used the word ‘I’. It wouldn’t take you very long at all. It isn’t necessarily something that we shouldn’t use, but it is something that we may need to take pause and consider if we are saying ‘I’ will insert my will in place of the will of Christ in my life; in this matter; this one time.
Live by faith – It stands to reason, if we are to be faithful, we are necessarily going to need to live by faith.
Galatians 2:20 (HCSB)
I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Giving our lives to Christ Jesus, means His substitution for us, renders our old lives dead, we live as Christ lives in us. The familiar ‘You are bought with a price’, underscores the fact that this life is not ours to make these calls and establish ourselves as the authority in our lives. We must instead live by the faith we have vested in the Grace of Jesus.
He has bought, paid and delivered salvation to us through His Grace. It is there that we must place our faith.
Obedience – The Spirit and the Word will provide you with instruction; obey it. Not a suggestion.
John 15:10 (HCSB)
If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.
‘Keep my commands’; obey! The result, is that we will remain in His Love. Everything we are talking about here, condenses down into this. We must surrender and obey. We must have faith in the promises and obey. We need the Word to understand what is required of us, so that we can obey. And on and on.
All this and we can assure ourselves that we can and will be ‘fruity’. We will bear fruit; the fruits of the Spirit. We can and will be that branch firmly attached to the true vine. We will be that healthy tree producing much fruit. We will be listening to the Sprit and the Word and being obedient to our Lord.
2 Corinthians 13:13 (HCSB)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
Do not be discouraged. Paul so well knew that we were entrapped in the flesh and subject to failure. Grace is there to make the difference for those who are faithful.
None the less, we must strive for the goal. Reaching forward to what Jesus has waiting for us ahead.
Philippians 3:13-16 (HCSB)
Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.
Call me fruity anytime you want.