How did we become children of the Creator? We didn’t buy, barter or negotiate our way in to the kingdom of God; we weren’t savvy enough, raised in the right home or more spiritually attuned than others. We received the kingdom without payment, as a poor child, bankrupt, not as an affluent business man; we brought nothing to the table.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 ESV),
“You received without paying; give without pay.” (Matthew 10:8 ESV),
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”” (Mark 10:15 ESV).
We grow as God’s children the same way, as we depart from this position of absolute surrendered dependance before God and begin to believe that our growth is up to our own efforts, we have departed from biblical Christianity. We have nothing of any value to offer the King, He is the one that offers us everything. All of our righteous acts (self disciplined, white knuckled) are like filthy rags before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6); thank God that our righteousness is found in Jesus, not in ourselves – both before and AFTER salvation. How do we please God? We please God by faith – “without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6 ESV). Faith is trust and it is the only human trait that relies upon something outside of a person. So we trust in something (or Someone) else to save and to sustain. The church at Galatia had gotten it backwards as they moved back to morality and behavior modification (law, rules) as the means upon which they depended to change them. Paul emphatically says, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1–3 ESV).
We obsess on fruit in the church today and point to it as the end goal. Fruit production is not the end goal. Fruit is a byproduct of the end goal. The end goal is believing and knowing Christ (John 6:27-29) and finding Him to be our ultimate treasure (Matthew 13:44). We spend the vast majority of our time talking about fruit (how beautiful it is, how much impact it has, how counter cultural it is). The problem is that we make fruit an idol in our hearts and frustrate the vast majority of saints who realize that they aren’t producing the fruit that they are being told that they should be producing. Why? Because we are not responsible for the fruit production. We need to be constantly reminded that the goal is not the fruit; the fruit is produced as we abide (surrender, depend, trust) in Christ (John 15). This is what we need to be constantly pointed to – depending, trusting, surrendering, knowing, abiding. Then the fruit will take care of itself and God will get the glory for it, not us because we didn’t produce it.