Bearing Fruit or Living Barren
Preston and Kelly Condra are tonight’s guests on Dr. Mike Live. They are here to discuss their book “Bearing Fruit or Living Barren: The Essentials of Christian Spirituality.”
Why do we have to think differently about the Christian life?
Being spiritual is more than “doing” and “serving.” We are not against people doing good service for Christ. But people either functioning in their flesh or in their spirit, while they are serving. They can do nice and wonderful things, but may still be functioning in their flesh. We can do “nice” things, even when we’re not functioning in the Spirit. There is a difference.
Engaging in ongoing spiritual evaluation is necessary for spiritual health. This is not a deep self-introspection like psychologists would do. It’s the word of God, and the Spirit of God speaking to us. We need to decide if what we are doing is bringing glory to God.
Is there a difference between biblical spirituality and religious activity, and if so, is it dangerous to confuse the two?
Religious spirituality is acting out in good works, but God cares about the motives of our heart. I can put the money in the plate with grumbling or gratitude. I can help someone with humility, or with pride.
We must allow the truth to critique our flesh.The introspection is to see where I am with the Lord, and evaluate myself in His eyes.
Spirituality is a condition. Being spirit-filled is being indwelt. If I am not content, then I am in the flesh. We compare ourselves with Scripture and it is simple to see…If we immediately repent, and move in the opposite direction, it can be very simple.
Three spiritual enemies of the Christian:
- Recognizing Carnality –
- Controlling Thought Life – Satan can sneak in with discouraging, fearful, condemning ideas. That whole concept of framing the mind, setting the mind on things above is important. Not thinking about the past, or what we could have done, is not going to help us move forward. Limit our minds to things above. I’ve heard “you can be so heavenly minded you are no earthly good.” That is a false statement. We need to be focusing on the truth, focusing on His character through us.
- Operating by Faith Rather than Laws and Rules – We are not in a performance mode. We are not trying to keep God’s favor by our actions. Instead, we believe Him, and He works in us. That’s a whole new way of thinking for American Christians. Americans are go, go, go. We are independent. But I can grumble about ____ and produce nothing.
The natural man is rebellious against God. God loved us in Christ. It’s not a mushy emotion, but an act that gives us access to eternal life in God. God isn’t just “love” as we define “love” in the world. Many natural men are God-haters. Advanced rebellion is rampant.
Once a person is born again, there are 2 conditions: carnal or spiritual. Looking to God in faith, empowered by grace, and doing God’s will is what being spiritual looks like. We are slaves to one or the other. Bondservant to God or going back to jail in the flesh, is what we’re doing as Christians. A Christian can sin just like the unredeemed sinner. The natural man doesn’t have that choice. All he knows is the flesh.
Everything the spiritual man does is empowered by God. The believer cooperating with God. God fills us with what is lacking, when we are Spirit-filled. Acts 2, the believers didn’t know any principles we’re getting taught now. God directly made Himself evident.
The spiritual man can know the things of God. So many Christians say we cannot know the things of God. When they say you can’t know, it means they know…that you can’t know.
Dave Hunt wanted to write a book called “The God That Hides.” He said you have to put the effort in. It’s a journey, not just a sinner’s prayer. We are to study God’s word, and the Holy Spirit ministers His word to us. When we are born again, God doesn’t just download everything we need to know. We need to SEEK Him. We need to adjust ourselves to God.
Adjustment is a concept we don’t hear much. we are to be adjustment to the Truth He shows us in Scripture. James 1 says He will give us all the wisdom we need. Knowing the adjustment comes through the Scriptures. It’s in His Word. It is sufficient.
Christians get confused, when they think there is 1 perfect job, 1 perfect house to live in, 1 option in life. If we are not carnal though, we have lots of choices. We can fall in love with someone and not be confused about whether we are to marry or not, etc. We can make logical decisions. The early Church was not in angst about what to do. They just did it!
We can choose what we like, if we are living according to the obedience of the Holy Spirit. We are not reading tea leaves. We are to walk as mature men, having the mind of Christ.
Believing IN God is different than believing God. Rightly dividing the Word of God is key. When we understand the Scripture, we can apply it correctly in our everyday decisions.
Carnality is a decision to not doing what God’s Word says, instead of a “funk” I fall into. We think of backsliding, or falling into a carnal lifestyle. But moment by moment, we can fall into the fleshly thinking and attitudes. It doesn’t mean you’ve automatically backslidden, but we are simply being carnal.
Instead of praying, “Lord, help me to be patient.” Maybe we should say, “Lord, keep me from being carnal.”
We already have the fruit of the Spirit. We have many character traits of the Lord. We need to KNOW that we have these things, and live them out. I know Christ has patience. Christ is in me. I need to access the patience by faith.
Praying a sinner’s prayer isn’t the fulness of being Spirit-filled. A true believer understands truth. The Holy Spirit gives those who are submitted to the Lord, wisdom and discernment.
Living barren by quenching the Spirit. Quench means to not do what God wants us to do. Not sharing your faith is quenching the Spirit. We’re putting out a fire, or bringing a halt to the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s actually not doing what we’re supposed to do.
How important is studying the Word of God, to obeying the Word of God? It is imperative that we study Scripture. God guides us into all truth as we study His truth! We need to be renewing our minds, replacing lies of Satan with the truth. Personal Bible study is important. Memory verses are important, too. Being spoon fed by the pastor isn’t enough.
Principles of spiritual, carnal, grieving, quenching and being spirit-filled are all great sermon series topics. Very important for the Believer.
Being led of the Spirit is important to understand. The more I study the Bible, the more literally I take it. The word pictures become clearer. Being led doesn’t always produce “peace.”
Mystical things are not dependable. The more we depend on mysticism, the darker things get. An emotional soulish up and down roller coaster happens when we’re in mysticism.
Galatians 5 is key for walking a Spirit-filled life.
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