From the day the Holy Spirit entered my heart in 1996 it’s been quite the journey. I’ve been on mountains, I’ve been in the lowest of valleys. I’ve seen the shadow of death. I’ve explored the caverns of the recesses of my mind and discovered that there were terrible, vial things hidden in the dark. I’ve dragged them to the mouth of the cave and thrown them off a cliff. On the outside of my mind, where other people dwell, I’ve been an encourager and a discourager with the same mouth. I’ve allowed people to matter more than He who created me, at which time I would retreat into the recesses of my mind again and as I went back in I’d pick up those vial things from the valley below the cliff. I’d use them for company. Sounds pretty dramatic doesn’t it.
Life is filled with drama.
And I can be a drama mama inwardly but outwardly I try to keep it sane. I don’t want the world to see the crazy that lives within me. But believe me it’s in there. So I went back to the revival to hear “crazy” preach again last night. And I say that in the most respectful way about Sebby Volpe. Sebby is crazy about Jesus. He’s just crazy enough to let the Spirit lead in such a manner that when you leave the service you not only knew that you were in the presence of God, but God had stirred up a little bit of crazy inside of you too.
Sebby spoke on the spirits last night. A subject matter of my heart for months and months and months. I’ve longed to see the Spirit moving in a great way. I’m also aware that not everything that moves is of the Spirit with a capital “S”. There are little spirits out there that can make a big mess of things if we’re not careful. So the scripture says to try the spirits and see if it’s of God. (Paraphrased from 1 John 4:1). And so I earnestly seek God’s wisdom to know what’s real and what desires to deceive me.
A.W. Tozer wrote this:
Now our Lord Jesus. That great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” said Paul (I Thess. 5:21) . “Beloved, believe not every spirit,” wrote John, “but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1) . “Beware of false prophets,” our Lord warned, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Then He added the word by which they may be tested, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
And so I lean on scripture to guide me through this haphazard world that seems to go from one extreme to the other on spirituality. The pendulum swings from deader than a hammer to wide open crazy! And I’m somewhere in the middle leaning toward the crazy side because I know Christ ain’t dead. So what struck me about Tozer’s writing was the closing of that paragraph. “Ye shall know them by their fruits” – Matthew 7:15.
So regardless of denomination I look at the fruit of the body of Christ (people I believe to be saved) And upon inspection of the fruit I find this:
They’re a sweet bunch! But they’re not sowing any new seeds. They are content with our four and no more in their congregations and so they rest on the laurels of those who have gone before.
Oh they are the faithful! Every Sunday, rain or shine you’ll find them in their place, hanging on the branch. But don’t ask them to move to another limb because that’s where they’ve hung out since their granddaddy brought them to that church and for pete’s sake don’t ask them to blend in with another tree, even if they are apples.
They put themselves up on a pedestal of righteousness and only affiliate with those who will conform to their standards of ritualistic observances. Your peeling must be the right color and your flavor must be the same. Usually bland.
Also called C&E Christians. Christmas and Easter only. I truthfully don’t think they’re fruit at all.
They draw people into them with gadgets and gimmicks. But often times it’s a flesh thing. There is no fruit inside. And because of that people are convinced there is no such thing as “fruit of the Spirit.”
And then there’s my favorite:
SPIRIT FILLED FRUIT
It’s could also be called the passion fruit. The passion fruit has a tough outer rind with a juicy, seed filled center. It’s a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins that benefit your health. Hello? Doesn’t that sound like what a true Spirit filed Christian should be? I’ve been hurt so many times (many by fellow believers), so I’ve developed a somewhat, though not impenetrable skin. Else I’d have already left the tree. I have however managed in 21 years of salvation to keep that ooey gooey center that makes me love people all the more and have a desire to see souls saved. I am filled with the seeds of the gospel but I’ve allowed life to squelch my desire to sow them. I’m considered to be a little too passionate for the Lord sometimes. How can that be? After everything He’s done for me.
Sebby Volpe makes people uncomfortable because he tills the soil when he comes to town!
The world is looking for a tree that bears a fruit that has passion and power. It’s called the cross of Jesus. But they’ll never see it unless we become passionate about our purpose. I’m leaning a little closer to crazy this morning!