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.
Jesus’ authority was rooted and grounded in God Himself. That is what terrified people. They said, “Never have we heard anyone speak like this.”
The authority in Jesus’ teaching was reminiscent of that of the Old Testament prophets, who prefaced their oracles not by saying, “In my studied opinion…” Rather, the prophets prefaced their announcements by saying, “Thus says the LORD…” But in the synagogue of Capernaum, the LORD Himself, the Word of God incarnate, rose to speak on matters theological. When He opened His holy mouth, all present were stopped in their tracks, filled with amazement, and pierced by a sense of dread to hear the truth proclaimed with such transcendent finality. That is how we should respond every time we hear the Word of God. We are not listening to the word of scribes, preachers, or theologians, so our hearts should be filled with a holy dread and awe when the Bible is proclaimed.
- R.C. Sproul, He Taught Them As One Who Had Authority: St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary (via solideogloriaa)
The grand difference between a human being and a supreme being is precisely this: Apart from God, I cannot exist. Apart from me, God does exist. God does not need me in order for Him to be; I do need God in order for me to be. This is the difference between what we call self-existent being and dependent being. We are dependent. We are fragile. We cannot live without air, without water, without food. No human being has the power of being within himself. Life is lived between two hospitals. We need a support system from birth to death to sustain life. We are like flowers that bloom and wither and then fade. This is how we differ from God. God does not wither, God does not fade, God is not fragile.
- R.C. Sproul