God's judgments are good. Judgment is different from wrath. Wrath is God's destruction against sin. Judgment is God's righteous discipline and brings redemption and restoration. God's wrath destroys. His judgments redeem.
As we look at our nation today, we can quickly see that our moral foundations are decaying. But this is just a sign that there is a much deeper problem—there is also a crack in the moral foundation of the church.
If we are to see God's hand of blessing and favor remain on America, the church in the U.S. must repent of all compromise and sin. We must allow God to cause His fruit to grow in our lives. Fruitfulness in the church will have a profound impact not only on us but on our nation as well.
Jesus is looking for fruit in the lives of His people. It's not enough to look good from a distance—He's looking up close for fruit.
"And seeing in the distance a fig tree [covered] with leaves, He went to see if He could find any [fruit] on it. But when He came up to it, He found nothing but leaves, for the fig season had not yet come. And He said to it, No one ever again shall eat fruit from you. And His disciples were listening [to what He said]" (Mark 11:13-14, AMP).
From a distance things can look great. The fig tree looked great from a distance; it was filled with leaves. But when Jesus got up close He discovered that there was no fruit on it.
From a distance the operation of the gifts of God in our lives can look great. God's gifts are without repentance; so you can start off right and begin operating in gifts of the Spirit because of your relationship with God. But it's not enough just to start right. We have to finish right.
It's possible to begin with a strong relationship with God but then to start riding on the gift God has given you and stray from Him in your heart. It's possible to have strong gifts that can be seen from a distance. But it's only when you get up close to a tree that you can see the fruit it has.
Our true fruit is revealed through our closest relationships. Only when you get to know a person can you see what fruit they truly have. Jesus doesn't just want us to be leafy trees operating in gifts. He also wants to find fruit. His destiny for us is that we would be fruitful trees.
Jesus took this so seriously that even when the fig tree was out of season for bearing figs He still held it responsible for not having fruit. The truth is, despite what season it is, despite what our circumstances are, despite whether we're having a good day or a rough day, Jesus wants us to be bearing fruit. It will not always be easy to bear good fruit. It requires a death to the desires of the flesh and to the self-life. But God wants us to be ready, in season and out of season, as we see in the apostle Paul's letter to Timothy, his disciple:
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Tim 4:2-5, NASB).
- Continue reading >>
Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.
Dare to go deeper in your faith. Our "Life in the Spirit" devotional takes you on a journey to explore who the Holy Spirit is, how to interact with Him, and how He works in your life. Are you ready to go deeper?