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The Fruit-Bearing Work of the Spirit 


Things will never be ideal on this earth. We understand that because we are sinners, imperfect and inadequate, we will always fall short of God’s perfect standard. At the very moment of our salvation, we came to realize that our sin was great, but that Christ is a greater Savior. This recognition of our utter unworthiness and inability to “help ourselves” is what drove us to our knees to plead for God’s mercy and forgiveness. This sense of inadequacy becomes, then, the pattern for every Christian. As we live the Christian life, we realize more and more that anything we do, and anything good we see in one another, is an “evidence of God’s grace.” Left to ourselves we will fail miserably, but God, by His grace, is bearing fruit in each of our lives. 

Since it’s true that anything good that we see in other Christians is ultimately a work of God’s marvelous grace, then we should be thanking God for His work in each of us. I am thankful to be a part of a church where, by His grace, doctrine is not “up for grabs,” but taught and fought for in all pulpits, big and small, motivated by the conviction that sound doctrine leads to sound living when applied to one’s life. I am thankful to be a part of a body where many of God’s people love being together, studying God’s Word together, because they understand that “man shall not live on bread alone, but upon every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

I am thankful for a body where many delight in serving one another, meeting pressing needs, and are willing to give of their own spiritual and material resources for the building up and encouragement of God’s people, giving evidence that they have their eyes fixed on God’s “kingdom and His righteousness,” rather than on earthly things. I am thankful for a body where many serve “behind the scenes,” not from compulsion or for personal notoriety, but because they simply love God and love His church. Love, indeed, is the goal for them, not a means up the ladder to climb for personal gain.   

I am thankful for many in our body who have experienced devastating trials and suffering, and yet are fighting, tugging, grappling, wrestling, pleading, and enduring in the Christian life, striving to “suffer well” amidst their pain. I am thankful that though these past few years the Lord has taken many dear loved ones home, those left behind at least for a time have come alongside one another to comfort, cry, weep, and strengthen one another in great moments of weakness. “A friend loves at all times,” even the dark valleys and dry wildernesses of the Christian life.   

I am thankful that though we have some who are unable to regularly gather with us, that there are many in this body who have a heart for visiting the weak, the hurting, the lonely, the suffering. I am thankful for those who, though from a human perspective seem to have nothing to be joyful about, are constantly rejoicing, thankful, and praising God! You make the Psalms, at least in our present experience, real & that joy attainable, by God’s grace. You remind us that to you “God’s love is, indeed, better than life” itself.

The Apostle Paul writes, “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). As we look to the future, we can be confident that when we submit to God’s good and perfect will, and strive to love Him supremely, He will, indeed, continue to do His work in us. And when we fail, and we surely will, He will be there to raise us up yet again in Christ. It’s all grace.