The Joy is in the Fruit

LifeLink Devotional

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Philippians 1:11  …filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Has anyone else ever been disappointed by the amount of fruit in a Pop Tart? They are advertised as having real fruit filling, but I have yet to find any real fruit in mine. I find a jelly like paste that has a fruit flavor, but when I bite into something that is supposed to have real fruit filling, I want a hunk of fruit. If they are going to tell me that this pastry is made with real strawberries, then they’d better put gobs of real strawberries in it. Don’t mix up a bunch of stuff that has no relationship to fruit and then add a little bit of smashed berries for flavoring; that’s not real fruit filling. Why not label the product correctly? Pop Tarts – Small amounts of smashed and strained real fruit to enhance the flavor of the chemically based filling. My apologies to all of you who work for the company that makes Pop Tarts. I don’t eat them anymore, but when I did, I did it mainly for the frosting. Now I’m even more upset, because they finally put more frosting on them, and I can’t enjoy it.

We have far too many Pop Tart Christians. They advertise themselves as being filled with the real fruit of righteousness, when in fact they have added only small amounts of fruit to a concoction of worldly based activities that have no relationship to righteousness. Then they coat it all with the frosting of self-righteousness, seeking to enhance their image so they will be appealing to the spiritual consumer. They use confection on the outside to cover the concoction on the inside.

In today’s Scripture passage, Paul echoes the words of Jesus when he says that when we are in Jesus Christ, we will be filled with much fruit, and it will be to the praise and glory of the Father. This will prove that we are true disciples of Jesus.

We have been duped by the world’s system into believing that a little goes a long way. If we attend church once a month, or even once a week, that’s enough of God to get us through. There’s no reason to get carried away with religious involvement. There’s life to live and experience. Why would we ignore the immediate pleasures and benefits of the world to participate in spiritual activities that lay up treasures to inherit later? We want our treasures now. A little righteousness will suffice.

I am very concerned about the working definition of the word commitment that has become the reality of the last two generations. Unfortunately, I see it too often in the Christian community called the church. There is a claim of commitment to Christ and His Lordship, but the lifestyle choices don’t validate the claims. Some of the choices are not sinful, but they are self-serving and they interfere with the commitment we supposedly made to Christ and His ministry. We’re so busy with our careers, our relationships, and our kid’s sporting events that we put those things ahead of spiritual activities for personal growth and outreach to a lost and dying world.

What makes this new definition of commitment so dangerous is the sweetness of the frosting. All the opportunities that the world offers can become distractions to being filled the Spirit of God, so that we can be filled with spiritual fruit.  There’s a reason the fruit is called the filling. They are synonymous in Pop Tarts and in Christianity. The filling of the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of righteousness. But we have become so attracted to the  frosting that we want to taste it before we even get to the fruit. And the frosting tastes so good that we don’t even care anymore whether we are fruit filled or not.

My friends, seriously and honestly look at your life today and see if you are a Pop Tart Christian.

  • Have you elevated friends, family, career, or recreation to a position of equal priority with bearing real fruit for Jesus?
  • Are you satisfied with just a little fruit of church attendance that is easily interrupted and displaced by tiredness, inconvenience, or better frosting in another activity?
  • Are you refusing to commit to a life group because it will interfere with personal frosting choices?
  • Are you abiding in Christ and remaining in Him in all areas of your life so you can bear much fruit to the glory of the Father?

Think seriously about this today, and may the Holy Spirit touch your heart with His grace to return to a biblical definition of commitment. God wants to see some big hunks of real fruit. It’s in the fruit where the joy is found.

John 15:5, 8  5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Pastor John

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