Each Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm, our Deacon of the Month, shares a devotion with us during our prayer time. From time to time, we will post some of those devotions here when available in case you are unable to attend service. Below is one such devotion:
Wednesday Night’s Devotion from Merle 6/24/2020
The title of tonight’s devotion is “what’s the difference”, or more precise, “what’s the difference between a Christian and a Fruit Producing Christian”? While both are saved, is the “quality of life” different? Part of this devotion’s scripture is found in Deuteronomy and 1 Timothy. In Deuteronomy 29:5, God is telling the Israelite people what He has done for them while in the wilderness. They were in the wilderness because of their disobedience for not listening to God. Verse 5 of Deuteronomy 29: “And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot”. How many of you have had clothes or shoes you have worn for 40 years and still have them? If you do, I want to know the company that made them! Did you know there is a difference between living pay check to pay check because you are living within your means and not having enough from pay check to pay check to live within your means?
1 Timothy 6:6-9 says: “But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” Mr. Webster defines perdition as: “Entire loss; utter destruction; the utter loss of the soul.” The last definition gives the best description for the scripture cited.
“Utter loss of the soul.” I just had a discussion with someone a few days ago about poverty. Mr. Webster defines poverty as: “The quality or state of being poor or indigent”, and indigent as: “Destitute of property or means of comfortable subsistence”. Here’s a scenario of what poverty could look like:
If a person made $100,000 a year salary and lived in New York City they would probably be renting a place to live (Destitute of property) and probably live on one meal a day (destitute of comfortable subsistence). Now, a person living in rural America, like we do, on a $100,000 dollar a year salary could live like a king so to speak. They may not spend a lot of time in theaters, fancy restaurants, performing arts halls and such, but they would still enjoy life with all the scenes God has created: listening to the birds sing, watching the squirrels playing, watching a garden grow, watching the leaves on the trees move by the gentle breeze blowing or just listening to the quietness of the country.
You see, poverty could be the quality of life we create for ourselves. Continuing in 1 Timothy 6 with verse 10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”. Did you know that being just a Christian could lead you into poverty?
What do I mean in saying that? Here, we are looking at poverty as a quality of life for the soul that depends on our spiritual walk with the Lord. If a Christian loves “their” money and covets after it; it will cause them to “err from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:10) meaning they are in spiritual poverty. Here are some possible examples of a fruitless Christian that has poverty of the soul; a life full of “telling the Lord I want this or that”, a life full of “the Bible being like a cookbook, a dictionary or something that fulfills a need to know at the time”, a life of “thanking the Lord for the good things and only asking Him; ‘Lord why is this happening to me’ in the bad ones”, and last, a life of asking “Lord why does the money run out before the next pay check comes?” Yes, poverty is what we create from the desires within our own soul, not what the world leads us to believe we should have. Philippians 4:19 says: “But my God shall supply all your need (not wants) according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. How rich is God? Psalms 50:10 says: “For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” In short, a fruitless Christian will see clothes and shoes wear out faster, household things will tear up more often, their home always seems to need repair, their car seems to always need repair or tires, parents staying monetarily responsible for their children no matter how old their children get, and last but not least, not enough money.
Let me put into perspective what I am trying to say about the fruitless Christian with what God’s Word says: Haggai 1:6 “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes”. I can’t put it any plainer than that.
Now, here’s what the fruitless Christians can do to stay free and enjoy what the Fruit Bearing Christian enjoys: 1 Timothy 6:11-12 says: “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after Righteousness, Godliness, Faith, Love, Patience, Meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses”.
The question is, is the Fruit Bearing Christian immune from all the same things the fruitless Christian goes through? No, but I can tell you I have seen in a Fruit Bearing Christian’s life things in the home last longer, house and car repairs are manageable, clothes and shoes last longer; (not 40 years long LOL), money is not spent with the attitude of “there’s more where that came from”. The sad part is, when we are not a fruit bearing Christian, the money is spent like it grows on trees and sadder still, there is no awareness of it. Let me straighten out the thing about clothes and shoes lasting longer for the Fruit Bearing Christian.
How many people do you know, men and women, that buy a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes and, after a short period of time, want something else to wear. It’s about being content with what you have. Let’s review 1 Timothy chapter 6 verse 8 again: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content”. You see, the difference between a Christian and a Fruit Bearing Christian is what you do with your time and money, what you do with the part of your time that He (God) deems is His means; doing work that He requires of you. (If you don’t know what that is, just ask the pastor, a deacon or the Building and Grounds director!) Also, what you do with your money that He (God) deems is His part (tithes) depends on how much you are cursed or blessed. You may ask, “are you saying God will curse me, a Christian?” No, I didn’t say it; I just repeated what God said in Malachi 3:8-11: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts”. Again you see the difference between a Christian and a Fruit Bearing Christian is whether you, as a Christian, spend your time on things that will bring happiness for a little while, while watching your money fly out the window without recognizing it’s gone until you are days away from another paycheck and there’s no more money left to fly out the window. When nothing seems to go right and you refuse to see that your time and money is not being properly used for the spreading of the Gospel, “that none be lost”, and that God has removed His hand from you and He does not rebuke the devourer (which is the devil) your problems will continue. While on the other hand; the Fruit Bearing Christian that Proves God by using his/her time and money for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ will see that He will open the windows of heaven to pour out so many blessings that there shall not be enough to receive them. Don’t miss this here: these blessings are not necessarily monetary, but fruits of the spirit which are Joy, Peace and Love; no matter what comes, you know He is in control!!!!
The moral of this devotion is, don’t let it take you 40 years to figure out that there is a difference between a Christian and a FRUIT BEARING CHRISTIAN. Thank you and God Bless!!
Merle K. Bridge