Producing fruit of the spirit, changing the world, experiencing the abundant life, and exhibiting non-lukewarm character, all require brokenness and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Tim Burns once said, “Your character is a product of the choices you make, and the reactions you have toward the circumstances in your life.” Human character determines whether or not man sins; if he can persevere and overcome; if he will follow Christ and his God-given purpose; if he would “love God and humans wholeheartedly”. In short, if human character isn’t right, man isn’t right with man, God, or even himself.
Man’s propensity to disobey God’s laws has led to bloodshed, deaths, destruction, instability, and conflict among brethren since almost the beginning of time. Life struggles also have become overpowering giants for countless individuals, and not knowing Christ has sent uncountable people to hell.
Eckhart Tolle once said, “The world can only be changed from within.” The biggest problem of man is that he has a prevalent disobedient character problem, and until these issues get resolved, freedom would be a struggle for mankind. Only through man daily practicing brokenness, which both enables Holy Spirit to produce fruit of spirit in man’s character, and also, thre Trinity to make God-given purposes come true, can all this happen.
“To have peace with God one must intentionally die to self, to all self-ambition, until you are only living for Jesus” (Kathryn Kuhlman).
“Brokenness is the shattering of my self will – the absolute surrender of my will to the will of God. It is saying, “Yes, Lord” – no resistance, no chaffing, no stubbornness – simply submitting myself to His direction and will in my life” (Nancy Leigh DeMoss). Even though “surrendering your will to God” is not a popular practice, doing so makes our life full and abundant (since when we surrender, we abide in Christ). Note the following:
“If you stay connected to Him, if you draw spiritual nourishment from Him, if you allow the power that flows through Him to flow through you, nothing will hold you back from reaching the most abundant life possible”. Bruce Wilkinson
Jesus said in John 15:5, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
Colin Smith once said, “Nothing in this world can bring you the fullness of life that God wants you to know. You were created by God and for God, and your life cannot be full without Him.”
“We were made for God and nothing else will really satisfy us.” (Brennan Manning)
To summarize, surrendering will to God, or practicing brokenness, is a key component in abiding in Christ, since when the Trinity’s and man’s wills are not at conflict, you are abiding. When we abide, or stay connected to Him, we draw spiritual nourishment from the Vine, including the fruit of the spirit joy and others and also wisdom and power to overcome – helping to give us the fullness of life God desperately wants us to experience. Abiding in Him is the only thing that really satisfies us.
Brokenness of the unbeliever is needed for man to accept Christ as their Savior, so the Holy Spirit can enter the soul of the unbeliever, and start producing fruit of the spirit in the believer at the rate he yields to the Spirit. This will transform the character of man into innate Jesus characteristics:
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
“Now, what is Jesus Christ? The fruit of the spirit is a good example. Jesus is total love, total joy, total peace, total patient, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control” (Rick Warren).
Fruit of the Spirit Examples
Fruit of the spirit behaviors include showing extraordinary love to difficult family members, forgiveness after being wronged; being gentle in our disposition when things don’t go our way, finding joys in the mundane and in sorrows, being patient during trials, encouraging others in our struggles, still give another person benefit after being hurt, having self-control in our anger and frustrations, and being able to say “no” to sin in spite of luring temptations. If the majority of humanity would behave like this, many of man’s problems would go away.
As Max Lucado once said, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day.”
Quotes to ponder
“Life is made up of choices. Who you are sitting here today is the sum total of your choices”. James MacDonald
“Character is everything”. Scott and Kris Wightman
“Your character is who you really are”. Andy Stanley
“God wants His character and likeness to be reflected in your life”.. Colin Smith
“To be a Christian is to be like Christ”. Matthew Kelly
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1)
“Character is the root of the tree, conduct, the fruit it bears”. M. Bounds
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
“The fruit of the Spirit wasn’t intended to be a list of goals for us to produce – it is the Holy Spirit through us who produces fruit” .(Dan Kimball)
Fruit of spirit are not fruits produced by man’s self-effort, but rather a choice to abide in Christ daily through complete brokenness, which enables the Holy Spirit to grow slowly over time, like real fruit on a tree, fruit manifested in our lives. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
The Vine (Christ) is a source of life. Branches from a tree cannot water themselves; nor survive on their own. They must draw water, nutrients, and life through the vine of the plant. In the spiritual realm, Jesus calls us to draw close to Him, and to continually feed upon the Vine for growth of fruit and survival. Only when believer is “filled with the Holy Spirit” (continually yields to Him) can that person exhibit full fruition of the fruit of the spirit. If the Christian doesn’t surrender to the Holy Spirit, none of these Christian virtues would be experienced in his life, and the old flesh would take control, producing fruit of the flesh characteristics instead. How consistently we abide in Christ determines how plentiful the harvest of the Spirit’s fruit.
Philip Graham Ryken stated, “The fruit of the Spirit is the natural produce of his gracious inward influence, the spontaneous and inevitable result of His uniting us to Jesus Christ.” When we practice brokenness, we are united to Christ.
Growing plentiful fruit of spirit over a lifetime requires certain conditions of the heart to grow. A lifelong attitude of surrender to the Trinity, developing daily knowledge of God’s Word, growing love of God through knowing and obeying Him, a presence of spiritual community from other Christians, renouncing old sin tendencies through Christ’s power, and daily dying to self and put on new self in Christ, all are essentials to growth of God’s character in our lives.
When we spend consistently over time reading and meditating God’s Word, and also be in prayer, Holy Spirit continually reveals truth to us. Then, as we become obedience to those Scriptural truths instead of obeying desires of our sin nature, Holy Spirit then transforms us over time and we begin forth to exhibit His fruit in our lives as He imparts God’s holiness to us. Thus, Jesus’s innate character replaces our fruit of the flesh tendencies.
Psalm 119:11 says: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you”.
“Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness.” (Charles Stanley)
Any smart gardener knows that to produce pretty flowers or juicy fruit, they must ‘continue to prune the plant so that the nourishment is focused on fewer branches, giving those branches a more concentrated boost’. Smaller, less fruit grow when there are many competing, unnecessary branches. The same thing is true when the Holy Spirit grows fruit of spirit in our lives.
In John 15:2, Jesus said, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Pruning means “to trim by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stem, especially to continue growth.” In gardening, water sprouts, root suckers, excess lateral branches , etc. may be removed by the gardener, so more and better fruit can be produced. The Holy Spirit in our lives may use life changes to remove bad influences and life interferences that may limit the growth of His fruit in our lives. The idea for the Holy Spirit is to grow the best innate Jesus love, patience, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, in our actions, so it would attract the most nonbelievers to Christ, and would also, make us interact with the world the best possible way possible. And again the Holy Spirit prunes in order to encourage us to put Him in the center of our lives.
Ungodly relationships, addictions, an unforgiving heart, a job that interferes with God’s plans, past hurts, unfaithfulness, sinfulness, idolatry, etc. – God sometimes painfully but with precision uses trials to remove areas of life interfering with the growth of His product. Are there any areas in your life that may be candidates for God’s pruning? The process can be only as painful as your rebellion lets it to be.
“The Scripture passages remind me that God loves me very much and has a plan for me”. (Susan McCarthy Peabody)
Even though God may sometimes seem mean to us in our trials, it is all for our own good. Romans 8:28 reinforces this: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
Before you were born, God created you for a purpose to create change to a world which desperately needs to know about Christ and the importance of yielding to the fruit of the spirit. Brokenness is your only responsibility for completing that mission. Trinity is responsible for everything else.
Brokenness must be exhibited, so optimal fruit can be produced by the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we are in darkness, how can the lost see the Light? And if they don’t see the light is us, how can they experience freedom found only in Christ? They see our light when our fruit of the spirit is reaped in our Christian living.
We must practice brokenness even when it hurts, and when we go astray from the desired path, God has to practice discipline sometimes – every time out of love – love for you, and love for others in this world. Our sinfulness cannot be a stumbling block to those who desperately need them. Even if it hurts you, God is will to give smaller pains of life for you to avoid to bigger pains of life through disobedience. And He definitely wants you to be rewarded in heaven for your efforts.
God created you to experience intimacy with Him. He loves you more than you ever imagined. The cross is the proof of that fact.
Using this analogy, a basketball coach may have to act strict on occasion to his players to lead his players back toward the right path, toward achieving the team’s goals and dreams of success, when they go astray. But the coach, if he or she is of any quality, will go back to his nurturing, loving ways after the player changes his attitude and does what he supposed to do. That is how I believe God is like to His children. We are on God’s team and Coach God is willing to give us trials to make us stronger and of more endurance, so we can excel on His team when we perform in games. Don’t quit the team or let bad attitudes get in the path of your success in the games of life. Everything God does is out of love!
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the apostle Paul tells us to “Examine yourself to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves.” We must use the Bible as our guide. It is so easy, and so important not, to live lukewarm Christian lives.
“Apart from the Holy Spirit in your life, the greatest power you possess is the power to choose” (Neil Anderson). Use your power wisely. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Finally, 1 John 2:6 says: Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6
“We change the world not by what we say or do, but as a consequence of what we have become”. (David R. Hawkins)
Closing Quotes & Bible Verse
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” (Romans 6:12-13)
“Change involves pain. Change involves suffering”. David Stoop
“To be a Christian it will cost a man his love of ease”. C. Ryle
“It’s not about being comfortable, it’s about being useful”. Steve Campbell
“When you’re through changing, you’re through”. John Maxwell
“Satan knows that the only offensive weapon we have to raise against him is the sword of the Spirit; the Word of God. He can’t keep it from being powerful, but if he can tempt us to think little of it, he knows it will never be powerful in us”. Beth Moore
“You can only serve one master. . and you need to decide who it’s gonna be”. Steve Campbell
“Five minutes before you see Jesus face to face, what will you wish you had done differently today? Do it.” Anne Graham Lotz
“I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word”. Psalm 119:25
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word”. Psalm 119:67
“ This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “ Joshua 1:8
“The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip”. Psalm 37:31
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!” Psalm 119:1
“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws”. Psalm 119:30
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi
“The reason so many of us struggle so intensely with adversity is that we have yet to adopt God’s perspective and priorities”. Charles Stanley
“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply”. W. Tozer
Henry H. Halley once said, “To run God’s thoughts through your mind often will make your mind grow like God’s mind.” And by studying God’s Word daily, “we run God’s thoughts through our minds.” Here are some quotes about the Bible:
“For the Christian, there is one thing and one thing only that should be our baseline – Scripture”. Steve Campbell
“The Word of God is the absolute authority in the life of a Christian”. Dutch Sheets
“The Bible is God’s inspired Word – not a mere collection of various writers’ opinions, ideas, philosophies, or “inspired” thoughts”. John MacArthur
“The Bible presents true truth, truth that is unchanging, truth that fits in with what exists, truth that answers the questions of life”. Edith Schaeffer
“The more you read the Bible, the more you understand yourselrf, the world you live in, and the One who made both”. Mike Macintosh
“If the Bible is perfect and without error, it follows logically that we must present it as the most authoritative book in the world – the one document that contains the last word on truth” John MacArthur
“We may read other books that are exciting or insightful or helpful – but only the Bible is the Holy Spirit-inspired, life-giving, joy-producing revelation from heaven”. Mike Macintosh
“When you know what God says, what He means, and how to put His truths into practice, you will be equipped for every circumstance of life”. Kay Arthur
“Ultimately the goal of personal Bible study is a transformed life and a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ” Kay Arthur
“God did not give us His Word to satisfy our curiosity but to change our lives.” Charles Swindoll
“There is no substitute for the Bible”. Henry H. Halley
“Approach God’s Word like the divine, supernatural, power-packed text it is”. Beth Moore
“Our primary goal – our driving passion – should be to know truth and then adjust our beliefs accordingly”. Kay Arthur
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrows, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12