Romans 2:1-8(Amplified)
THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. 2[But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. 3And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict? 4Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? 5But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed. 6For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]: 7To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.
8But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath.

Judgements, Intimidations and Manipulations

There was a time when Sharon and I were first married that we had a lot of conflict in areas. I had been a Christian most of my life and Sharon was only about a year old in the faith at this time. She had come to accept Christ as we had shared the Lord and read the Bible together. It was at Easter time as she watched the movie, “The King of Kings”, that the Lord made those scriptures alive to her and drew her to Himself. Before we were married we lived in two different cities. I had been going to college in the town where she lived. After leaving school that year I had a time of tremendous drawing to the Lord and was trying very much to walk with Him in every aspect of my life. By the time we got married in August she was encountering someone in me, different than who she had come to know. All I seemed to think about and care about was the things of God. It’s not that this was a bad thing, but I seemed to think that Sharon should be where I was. Instead of watching TV she should want to read her Bible and pray. So there was this rift between us. I remember praying one night and saying something to the effect, “God I don’t know what to do, I’ve tried to do what’s right and I’ve tried to change her but I can’t.” The Lord spoke to my heart in that time and said, “That is not your job to change her, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Your job is to love her.” When I stopped trying to change and drag Sharon in my strength, she began to start coming forth in her own relationship with the Lord, because it was His doing and not mine. I say all of this to let us know that there are many of us that knowingly or unknowingly are still judging, intimidating and manipulating others to be what we think they should be or do what we think they should do. THAT’S NOT OUR JOB! STOP IT! You let the Holy Spirit deal with them in His time and His way. Meanwhile, know that while we are so busy trying to control others we have some issues of our own that we need to be focusing on. Maybe people aren’t all you think they should be or do for you all that you think that they should, but who made you the judge of them? We are all at different places in our life and in our relationship with the Lord. We have to respect that in one another. We all want to encourage one another in the things that are right and good, but that doesn’t make us someone else’s judge when they don’t live up to our expectations. We only see things through our own colored glasses and if we were to look at things through there perspective it may look a lot different and we may have a whole lot more empathy for why they are like they are. Only the Lord knows the thoughts and the motives of the heart. He alone is qualified to truly judge each individual.
If we are trying to control others, even if our intentions are good, that is a form of witchcraft. We use guilt, judgements, intimidation, seductions and various other means to control others to our way of thinking and doing. In some cases our intentions may be good, as mine were with Sharon, but our methods are the flesh. If one stubbornly is self-seeking, self-serving and disobedient to the truth then eventually they will answer to God for it if they refuse to repent and change their course. We have all been at times, either the perpetrators or the victims of these types of control. For some of us they have become a normal way of life and how we get our way. Instead of using God’s truth with mercy and grace we have wielded it like a club of condemnation and judgement to bring others to our way of thinking. It takes place in the other dynamics of our human relationships as well.
Take the time for a little introspection to see where you might be doing this to others. Remember that by the same standards that we judge others we ourselves will be judged. We need to be far more focused on judging our own walk, relationship and obedience to Christ. Our calling is to strengthen and encourage one another, not to be their judge. After all, that’s not our job; that’s His.

Blessings,
#kent

If a Tree has Leaves, does it have Fruit?

Matthew 21:18-19
18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

A fruit tree is expected to produce fruit after its kind. A Christian is expected to produce fruit after their kind.
The fig tree in this story is said to represent Israel. The person coming from the outside might enter a city like Jerusalem and see it flourishing. They could go to the temple and see it full of activity and religious men walking about it and throughout the city. Jesus teaches us here that just because a tree has leaves and looks healthy doesn’t mean that it is fruitful. If it is a fruit tree that appears healthy and yet produces no fruit, it is failing in its purpose in life. Just like Israel, if we appear to be the people of God, have all of the churches and religious services, but do not bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, then we too are barren. We are missing our purpose. Our purpose is to not bear healthy looking leaves, but to produce fruit in the way God has purposed us to do. No amount of leaves or trappings can hide that.
Adam and Eve used leaves to hide their nakedness and we often do the same; hiding the shame of a life that is void of fruitfulness, but full of activity. Jesus says in John 15:1-8, “”I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
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. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” We are taught here that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. He doesn’t tell us that our function is to produce leaves, but to produce fruit. Leaves are a support and facilitator for the fruit, but they can never take the place of the fruit; they are like faith and works, they go together.
Jesus gave us many examples where He shows us that we have responsibility and accountability for His life in us. If we take and receive the life of Christ in us, then live our lives only for ourselves we are a fruitless tree or branch. We are to bear fruit so that others might be partakers of the life of Christ and be nourished through what He is imparted to us.
The fruit of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23 are, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This fruit operating in our lives will allow us to be fruitful in the gifts and abilities that God has given each of us for our ministry and calling.
One day the Lord will examine our tree or our branch. We have responsibility for what it is bearing. If we are truly abiding in the vine then we will be producing the fruit and not just the leaves. It is important that we judge ourselves that we be not judged. How fruitful is our tree?

Blessings,
#kent

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