The Apostle Paul told the Galatians that the “…fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
If we have the Holy Spirit it would be evident to those around us because we would live our lives in such a way that no one could accuse us of lacking any of the traits Paul listed. Come Monday morning however how many of us can say that we’re patient, kind and gentle? I know I can’t, either I’m angry that the kids woke me up way too early, I’m frustrated that traffic on the highway isn’t moving fast enough or the long list of emails from impatient clients makes me impatient!
I’m not saying that doing and being good has any bearing on our salvation, most Christians nowadays know that we don’t earn it. Doing and being good is a result of that salvation. So I can’t help but ask sometimes if I’m really saved if I don’t perfectly example the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and I know I am not the only one who asks this question, it’s one of the big ‘what ifs’ we Christians ask ourselves – what if I am not really saved? It doesn’t help that the Bible confirms that many who think they know Jesus will be turned away from Him [Matthew 7:23].
What are we to do then with this grey area of I accepted Jesus into my heart but I am definitely not the perfection that Paul describes to the Galatians? Well rest assured brother and sister Christian, rest assured. The Bible also tells us that we can know with utmost certainty that we are indeed saved and will spend eternity in Heaven, even though we fail to place a check mark beside the virtues Paul talks about.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9 NIV
Being saved doesn’t require a church membership, a long list of charitable organizations that rely on you. It doesn’t mean you have to stand on a street corner every night after work handing out Bibles, you don’t have to give every last penny you have to the needy. To be saved Paul says is to declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and declare with your heart a full belief that Jesus rose from the dead defeating the sins of the world. Jesus is who saves you, doing the things I listed above come naturally to those who have come into the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
John 10:28 NIV
John reminds us that once saved, no one can take us from Jesus, no one.
Naturally the question then becomes, what do I do with that Monday morning bad attitude that doesn’t exactly point others to Jesus? Well, the easy answer is… REPENT! Jesus, Paul and John aren’t asking or even expecting us to be perfect. They know that it isn’t possible, except for Jesus of course. Even the unchurched world isn’t asking us to be perfect, in fact it’s those of us that like to think that we are perfect that drive them away, they don’t like the hypocrisy. Repentance can be one of those fruits of the Spirit that the outside world can look at and say “well, that’s cool.” And I think that this is where we can bring the world and Jesus together. You see, Jesus loves a repentant heart and the world can’t help but love a repentant person. A repentant person is different from the world and nobody stays mad at a person who admits they don’t have it all together, in fact hearing a person say “it was my fault” is so far off of how most people behave these days that we can’t help but love them. Just ask anyone why the world loves Canadians, they’ll say it’s because we’re always saying sorry.
The Bible says that because we follow Jesus we will be different from the world, being repentant is different. In a world that is forever finding new ways to sin we can be the ones who find new ways to bring the gospel to the world.
Here’s the long and short of it friends, if you’re a Christian already don’t listen to the lie that your Monday morning behavior will condemn you. You may not always be all those things but you will be some of those things sometimes and the rest of the time you can repent of when you weren’t. Don’t go and try to be perfect, love Jesus and good things will follow.
Anyway, this is what was on my heart today and I’ll admit that much of it is me talking to myself, rambling even. But I also know that a lot of people struggle with knowing that they’re saved so I thought I’d share my rambling with you in hopes that it helps. Have a good day and don’t forget to be Jesus to someone today.