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  • Writer's pictureJenny

How Do You Know?

How do we know if we are healthy, strong Christians? How do we measure our devotion, or sincerity to God? Reading the Word? Worshiping? Praying? Serving? How do we know we love the Father and others, the two greatest commandments? What is the evidence?


In contrast, how do we know if we are out of fellowship with the Lord? What happens when our spouse or a friend does or says something that makes us mad? Or hurt? Does it make us fume inside? Climb into our shell? Do we want to retaliate? When someone asks, "What's wrong?" Do we blame our spouse, the kids, a friend, or our workload? Why are we reactionary? Is this how the Lord wants our life to be? Jesus said abundant life, not abundant stress.


If we are full of the Spirit, the Word says our experience will be a life of abundant joy, peace, and patience, and ALL of the fruit of the Spirit. As we surrender our lives to God, and trust Jesus with all aspects of our lives, choosing not to worry, we should, it seems, begin to catch the positive aspects to what Jesus calls us: rest, calm, ease, being in sync with Him.


One very easy red flag is anger or hurt in our life, and especially our unwillingness to forgive. Jesus said, if you don't forgive, you will not be forgiven. That is serious! He even repeats Himself in Matthew 6:14-15, if you forgive, or if you don't forgive. And in Luke 7:47, the one who forgives little, loves little. Our greatest commandments are to love God and love others. If we aren't willing to forgive and reconcile with others, where is the love in our relationship with the Lord, and subsequently with others?


According to James 1:14-15, it begins with our own desire, the condition of our heart, so we need to pay attention to our desires! Out of the heart comes evidence of our condition - perhaps words we know we shouldn't say, thoughts, or desires that spring from selfishness. Do we need to crucify again our selfish desires, our worldly passions, the old man?


If we have a shortage of the fruit of the Spirit in our demeanor, or characteristics of "the world, the flesh, and the devil" creeping into our life, we could check Galatians 5:19-25, to see into which of the two categories we seem to fall: the works of the flesh, which are obvious, or the fruit of the Spirit?


James 1:18 says, "He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the first fruits of His creatures." If God wants all to be saved, what kind of example are we to the world if we are not willing to die to our anger and forgive in order to be full of joy and peace, which we want anyway? I often think of Jesus' statement in Matthew 9:13, "Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." And as James 1:20 says, "man's anger does not accomplish God's righteousness."


1 Thessalonians 4:11 says "seek to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and work with your hands" to provide for your family and help others. This doesn't sound too hard.


Weary and worn out, or rejoicing and thanking God all day long? That's a pretty good barometer of our life and our relationship with God and others!


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