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9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit (9) Fruit of Gentleness
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쏝ut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23 ...
       
 
  
 

Faith

Manmin News   No. 108
8507
December 16, 2007


"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

As faith is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1), it enables one to accomplish what cannot be done, accomplishes things that cannot even be hoped for, and clearly reveals what is unseen.
When we fix our eyes only on the present circumstances, we often find ourselves doubting or giving up half way through. However, as we fix by faith our eyes on the things to come, not the present, it remains unchanging to the end. Therefore, without faith it is impossible to please God.
What kind of deeds of faith must we demonstrate to God so that He will be pleased with our faith?

1.Faith is unchanging.

If something is "unchanging," it does not simply mean that something has the identical beginning and end. Only when the heart improves more and more than the first time and becomes perfect despite the passing of time can we say that an individual's faith is unchanging.
From the moment I accepted the Lord and to this day, I have never lost the first love; my gratitude for the love and grace of God and the Lord, and the love for other souls only intensified. By the same token, your faith and faithfulness must also grow always.
However, have your passion for God and your sense of purpose in any way grown cold and become unclear? If you had possessed faith all along, you would have made every effort to fulfill the goals you had set early on, and received great grace and strength throughout your life in Christ. For instance, when you harbored an individual to evangelize him, you might have at first been very cordial in preaching the gospel to him. Once you began to feel that the person was not being receptive, did you give up? The right thing would have been for you to keep praying for him and serving him in love with an unchanging heart. Until that person's faith matures enough to stand firm on its own, you have to look after him with the kind and magnitude of love and interest you had shown him at first.
When I first founded the church and was personally looking after the church members, I never for a moment let go of them from my heart. I planted in their heart seeds of faith until they could settle down at the church, and when I was not able to visit their homes personally I made certain in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Spirit that other church workers would do so. When I did not see a member on a Lord's Day, I fasted and stayed up all night in prayer for him and made every effort to receive from God His answers to help that member with his problems.
When the church experienced rapid growth and it became difficult for me to keep track of each member, I committed to God the flock He had sent me. No matter where I was and no matter how busy I was, I never let go of them in my heart and marched onward, trusting only in the Father. That is how God personally interfered in the lives of churchgoers at Manmin and allowed me to visit them in their dreams and visions to deliver God's answers to their problems.
Even in doing God's work, I urge each of you not to do everything by your might but with an unchanging heart, trusting in God who allows you to bear fruit. Only then will God be pleased with your faith and allow you to reap fruit. Furthermore, when you bear the fruit of patience and perseverance, God will empower your spirit to quickly become a beautiful spirit with whom He is pleased.

2.Faith grows.

True faith is not a standstill or shrinking back (Hebrews 10:38-39). When you first accept the Lord and receive the Holy Spirit, God gives each believer faith as a gift; this faith, however, is as small as a mustard seed and will barely warrant salvation.
A believer standing on the first level of faith upon receiving the Holy Spirit must quickly move on to the second level of faith on which he will put into practice the Word of God he hears. A believer on the second level of faith must move on to the third level of faith on which he can gradually live by God's Word. Even after he reaches the third level, he must advance towards to stand on the foundation of faith, then into spirit and whole spirit (please refer to The Measure of Faith for additional information). Faith, however, does not grow on its own; one must make an effort to live by God's Word. Only when an individual strives to fathom His Word, never ceases calling out to God in prayer, and keeps obeying God's Word in gratitude of His grace will his faith grow. Of course, depending on the kind of heart each individual possesses, the pace of growth may differ; the faith of one who strives, however, is bound to grow.
If your faith is at a standstill or if you have stopped praying and have fallen behind as you were unable to overcome trials, you cannot be said to possess true faith. If you had been at the threshold of the third level of faith 3 or 5 years ago, where should your faith stand now?
If you are still at the threshold of the third level of faith even after the passing of a number of years, that is the result of the lack of your effort to be circumcised in the heart as well as the absence of true resolution. You may have confessed with your lips, "I desire to be sanctified" but you have also failed to resolve to put that confession into practice; for that reason, you must fathom and transform yourself from the heart.
Among the Seven Churches in Revelation, only the church in Philadelphia received the Lord's recognition and blessings as it obeyed God's Word despite having small strength. Even when you lack strength – in other words, when your faith is not yet great – you will not be able to put God's Word into practice immediately even if you have understood it. When you take God's Word to heart and resolve time and again and pray in order to wholly obey it, you will surely be transformed.

3.Faith bears fruit.

At times, people may not acknowledge the effort and devotion you have made in secret or without their knowledge. Before God, however, all that you do will not fall to the ground but be remembered and the God of righteousness will reward you even for the littlest of good deeds you have done.
In order to receive God's rewards, the effort and the devotion have to be made by faith, and that faith will be attested to by the fruit it bears.
If you have no fruit for what you have done by faith, how would you be rewarded in heaven? No matter how diligently and faithfully an individual may have made effort, if he had done so only according to his own frame of thought and with fleshly devotion, he will not bear good fruit or even if the fruit is borne, it will appear as though it buds but will drop to the ground before it becomes ripe.
When an individual has walked by an unchanging faith and with spiritual devotion, God will see to it that he bears fruit. Only when the spiritual fruit is borne can your effort and devotion be paid back as blessings on the earth and as rewards in heaven.
The same applies to the fruit of evangelization. There will be times when you are ill-treated or hear harsh words from those who persecute you while preaching the gospel. It may appear that the fruit you bear does not reflect the diligence with which you have preached the gospel. You may also feel that despite the amount of money, time, and effort you had invested in bringing someone to church, he does not settle down at the church as wheat. When you do not become discouraged or give up to the end and keep praying with the grace of God, He will make sure that you bear the fruit.
There will also be people, because of their hardened heart, whom you will be unable to bring back to God despite your countless hours of preaching the gospel, prayer, and fasting. Even so, keep in mind what Galatians 6:9 tells us, "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary"; if you have sown with love for other souls and an unchanging heart, God will allow you to reap the fruit; even that fruit is someone other than the one to whom you have originally preached the gospel. God will increase in you the strength to preach the gospel and the love for others so that you will be able to more easily bring back a greater number of people to salvation. Only when you bear the spiritual fruit will your effort and devotion be stored in heaven as heavenly rewards.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, by growing your faith with utmost diligence and with an unchanging heart, and fixing your eyes on the rewards God is to give you, may each of you lead a life in Christ in gladness and gratitude, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!


 

 

 
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