How can you tell when you're actually living out your faith? Is it simply the fruits of the spirit gradually becoming apparent in your daily routine or does it look more radical?
So it looks we’ve set up a conflict here between fruits and radical living. In other words: Is the Christian life just about personal holiness? Or should I be fighting crime and rescuing slaves and beating up dictators?
Let’s be clear: The American church absolutely loves the whole personal holiness thing. Almost every Christian book in your bookstore is about transformation, renewing your mind, a better you, “Gospel Centrality,” fixing your heart, tending to your emotions, and a bunch of other self-involved disciplines. Not all these are bad, but the focus is obvious.
Even missional work in America is considered a personal holiness thing. I’ve heard it preached, “In the end you’ll grow closer to God and see what He’s doing for you.” Again, not really wrong, but you see the implication.
We’ve very much disconnected God’s saving grace with His call to glorify His name. When we stick a wedge between Grace and Glory, we’ve lost the Gospel. A lot of theologians want to set up Jesus and Paul like they were saying different things, but NO, they were not. Jesus and Paul would both say Jesus is both the Gate and the Road.
I’ll put it simply, in sort of a rhyme:
The saving truth of God’s grace, the story of the cross, our redemption = LEADS TO = Empowerment for the glory of God, our sacred mission.
Most of us are in love with Jesus’ words but not so much his mission. We like meditation and transformation and revelation but not suffering with Jesus for the sake of the Gospel. We do not intuitively embrace suffering for Jesus. Therefore, you get the comfortable confines of an American church. It is absolutely insane to think the majority of Americans understand the NT church; it’s freaking crazy out there.
So to answer your question: I’m not sure what particular convictions the Holy Spirit has given you about your journey, but the fruits of the Spirit will include you actually fulfilling the Great Commission.
I’m not saying it’s 50-50 — I do believe that we must be resting in the glory of the Good News to really understand our purpose and His Story, so Prayer-Praise-Scripture is super-essential. Then as you seek for yourself all the fruits of a God-centered holiness — the love, joy, peace, purity, and all the goodness in Him — this also means you’re Going, Making Disciples, and Giving for the Gospel.
Please don’t disconnect those things, and also check your heart that you’re not merely “doing to do.” I believe God actually does care more about who you’re becoming, but out of your being will emerge the faithful doing.
“Abiding in Jesus means understanding that His acceptance of us is the same regardless of the amount of fruit we have produced. Ironically, it is only when we understand that His love is not conditioned on our spiritual fruitfulness that we gain the power to become truly fruitful. … In other words, those people who get better are those who understand that God’s approval of them is not dependent on their getting better.”
— J.D. Greear
Abiding in Jesus means understanding that His acceptance of us is the same regardless of the amount of fruit we have produced. Ironically, it is only when we understand that His love is not conditioned on our spiritual fruitfulness that we gain the power to become truly fruitful. … In other words, those people who get better are those who understand that God’s approval of them is not dependent on their getting better.
- J.D. Greear