In my last devotional, I shared my challenging experience following the directions that came with models I wanted to build, and also how I struggle every now and then with following the Bible’s instructions. OK, the Scriptures refer to those “instructions” as “commandments”. A commandment is not a suggested way of doing things, but GOD saying, “DO IT THIS WAY!” They’re not intended as an option, but as orders that the ultimate military commander is passing down for his followers to obey.
I think that too often we may be tempted to think that we really don't have to obey all these commands, that Jesus loves us anyway, and his grace will cover all. That is all well and good, but He did emphasize in John 14:15 – "If you love me, you will obey my commands.”
Although I don’t know exactly how many commands Jesus gave (research varies, placing that number between 50 and 123), the good news is that we don’t have to keep them without help. John 14 goes on to say that Jesus would send the Holy Spirit to help us. It is clear that the Holy Spirit in our lives encourages us to at least attempt to keep those commands. And I believe the primary evidence of the presence of GOD’s Holy Spirit in our lives is the fruit generated through us, as spoken of in John 15 and in Galatians 5:22-23, where we find nine character qualities that are evidence of the fruit of the Spirit. I personally think that the first, agape love, is the fruit of the Spirit, manifested in the following eight character qualities – but you don’t have to agree with me about that. The question I ask myself daily is, what would a fruit inspector see in my life right now? No matter how mature a believer may be, the Vinedresser continues to work at producing fruit that is sweeter every day. I must continue to surrender to that ongoing pruning and hope you do too.
Notes from the Staff @The Woods