Sunday, February 16, 2020

Examining Fruit

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians regarding Communion at the Lord’s Table, we are encouraged to examine ourselves, so as to not partake of the emblems in a sinful, or unworthy state (1 Corinthians 11:27-34).

Examining his own heart is something that King David was in the habit of doing (Psalm 139:23,24), and he stayed in close enough contact with Jehovah that it was written that David “had a heart after God.” It is a great help to examine ourselves with God in order to maintain a healthy and open relationship with the Lord Jesus. He already knows us inside and out, so it’s impossible to hide anything from Him. The examination is not for His benefit, but for ours, that we might know our own weaknesses! 

In Jeremiah 24 this week, it becomes clear that the Jews of Judah had either not learned that lesson, or the habit of examining one’s own heart had fallen by the wayside, for all were righteous in their own eyes. But God sees through us, knowing the thoughts and intents that can fill the human heart if we are not careful to check. 

In today’s chapter, the fig tree comes up, figuratively representing the nation of Israel, and specifically the Tribe of Judah in Jerusalem. The human heart can justify anything if we let it. Call it rebellion, or peer pressure, or just following the leader, we can quickly fall out of favor with our Almighty Father. 

Unchecked, and left uncorrected we can become a Judas without being overtly aware of it. It’s one subtle step off Jesus’ path, and then a second, and a third. Then we wonder why God seems so far away. But the truth is, God did not move, we did. 

Stay close to Jesus, and He will stay close to you. If He is your goal, then let nothing get in the way of your line-of-sight to Him. Accept no blockages; avoid pitfalls; and if something happens and you do lose sight of Him, bring yourself to a halt, and look diligently for Him, resetting your sights on Him. 

Doing this is a benefit of the Holy Spirit’s gift of temperance. It is self-control mixed with commitment, developing self-discipline to stay the course and be His Disciple. 

When I speak of self-discipline, I cannot help but be reminded
that discipline and disciple come from the same root word.

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