where’s the fruit

by Teen for Christ on 01/10/2012

This summer, I learned about how important it is to have a Christian-community for support, but I do not really have that, despite being heavily involved in several aspects of my church, including the youth bible quizzing program and the youth group. I do not really have people who I connect to or can simply talk to about my struggles. Nor do I have a mentor planted in the word.

So I find myself often going back and forth between a couple passages in the bible that talk about “good fruit”, trying to find an ‘escape hole’, so-to-speak, that would make living a Christian life easier and could help edify myself and my church and my youth group. It isn’t that I don’t want to live for God, it is that I am tired of having a mind set that after asking for forgiveness from God, within a short period of time, I will mess up again, as well as that I am longing to find some way in which I can fit in with my youth group; that if I can find a loop-hole, I would be able to partake with the youth free of conscience. But there isn’t, leaving me the church outsider. Maybe I am that one weird girl who just cannot fit in because she is too different. But whatever the supposed reason, it is really because I am not happy with my church and quite frankly fed up with my youth group.

And I get it! As Christians, we are the biggest examples of hypocrites and the definition of internal warfare, as I mentioned in a previous post, because we are literally fighting ourselves in regard to our earthly desires against our passion and desperate need to follow God. So I feel like the biggest hypocrite for pointing any of this out, but, generally speaking, no one cares to change. We enter into worship with God on Wednesday nights and then right after we exit the room, we curse with the same mouth. We exclude. We judge. We tend to be ignorant. But why? How does one look intently into the bible on a weekly basis and then reflect a life of a judgmental, ignorant, blasphemous, conceited people?

I have studied several books in the bible, and never have I ever read about us being told by God to be any of those attributes! On the contrary, we are COMMANDED BY HIM to be a loving, accepting, nonjudgmental, out-reaching, merciful, forgiving, welcoming, and fruit-bearing people.

So, where is the fruit?

In Galatians 5:22-23 it says that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It then goes on to say that against any of these things, there is NO law.

So then, where do we develop these attitudes?

Anytime I feel a bit of neglect towards a person, the Holy Spirit reminds me about hell, not threatening me, but helping me remember that if I do not display God’s love in my life, that if my life is not a mirror image of God’s grace and joy and love, then that person may never experience truly the majesty of being broken for God. No matter what a person may do to me, I would HATE for them to experience the torment that is hell, which is defined as being completely and utterly separated from God’s love.

But again, everyone makes mistakes. Is that enough? Will that be our answer to God when he asks us where is our fruit? Will we simply tell him, “Oh, well, everyone makes mistakes. We tried”? No. We would be scrambling around trying to find a shred of proof.

And we are warned in the gospels, as is written, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” – Luke 3:9

We know that we need to produce good fruit. We know that faith without deeds is dead, as identified by the book of James. What in the world then is keeping us from doing that?

 See, a few weeks ago, I felt so unaccepted at my youth group that when the pastor asked me to join the group for bowling, I had just about broken down almost in tears. That was when I told him and another youth leader that I do not have friends at the youth group and did not want to be the awkward person there who no one will talk to. The person who doesn’t appear in any photos, despite there being hundreds of photos taken from the event. I went under the pastor giving me his word that at least him and this other youth leader were there for me…

That's the fruit. There it is. Some of you reading this have probably read my original post entitled "Where's the Fruit?" I have created this post because upon it being posted and reading it over, I realized that the point I am trying to get across may have become lost in some of the text. I wrote it not to point out the things that are not working in my church, because it is not mine to judge, but to tell you all that there are people like me in your churches... Members who don't feel accepted and are really and truthfully scared to seek help from the church and congregation and staff due to judgement, ridicule, being called a liar or an attention-seeker, and the gossip. I am not content just going through the motions, nor am I okay with hearing sexual connotation and jokes in church or feeling like I have to be put together and perfect. I have friends from school who have actually given up Christ because we, as a whole and individuals, claim to live our lives for God and then we walk out the doors and continue on with our indifferent lives.

I mean, no matter what the situation, I would never give up my relationship with God. He is too real for me to ever even imagine life without Him. I have such a strong faith in Him because of all that I have been through which He has carried me through. But not everyone has this. How can we, as Christians (claiming to be followers of Christ), let there be a possibility of us turning off nonbelievers who simply want to know this unconditional love we profess with our lips?

It is my CHRISTIAN friends who pressure me into drugs and sex and partying. It is my CHRISTIAN friends who judge me. It is the CHRISTIAN “rolemodels” who surround my mouth with swearing. If I try to share a struggle with a fellow CHRISTIAN, they chuckle at it, not taking it seriously, or they only say what they think they are supposed to say regarding it, mindlessly, not even caring.

However, it is my CHRISTIAN youth pastor who is constantly trying to ensure I feel wanted and know that I matter and it is one of my CHRISTIAN youth leaders who sits down with me for a couple hours just to hear how my life is going and to offer me support and it is my CHRISTIAN Bible quizzing coach who has gotten down into the dirt to help me up and who is constantly encouraging me through God's word. And that's where the fruit it.

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