Today is a time of vital importance for each of us—especially relating to our eternal future. Pastor General Gerald Flurry recently emphasized the need for us to become perfect, seeking what Christ admonished each of us in Matthew 5:48, which states, “Be[come] ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
In Revelation 11:1 we read, “Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” The members of the Church are being measured right now. God is evaluating the level of perfection in each of us daily.
How does God measure us? How does God evaluate the depth of the quality of our character? How does God know that we love Him? How does God know that we are loyal and deeply committed to His plan and purpose—His Work?
Jesus Christ summarized the answer to these questions when He said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8). Bearing fruit is a continuing process, and the fruit must grow in perfection. Notice Matthew 7:16-20: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
For spiritual fruit to be produced, there must be spiritual growth. Without spiritual growth, we will die on the vine—simply wither up and perish. This is very serious business! How do we ensure that we are growing spiritually so we can produce perfect fruits?
To start with, what is the “fruit” that God wants to see in each of us? Galatians 6:7-8 explain, “[W]hatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
There is a law of cause and effect. If you sow to the flesh, you will reap corruption (this is from the tree of good and evil), and if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life (this is from the tree of life)!
Verse 9 continues, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Don’t let up or get weary.
Galatians 5:19-21 tell us what happens and what we produce when we reap in the flesh: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery [this can be spiritual], fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [taking license], Idolatry [anything that gets between us and God], witchcraft, hatred [even thinking about someone in the wrong way], variance [to dispute, disagree], emulations [seeking position], wrath [no emotional maturity], strife, seditions [resistance to government], heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like ….” These effects come from carnal human nature, fueled by Satan and selfishness, and the results are eternal death!
Perfection produced through God’s Holy Spirit, or the tree of life, is described in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love [agape love, or God’s love], joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness [kindness], goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
King David wrote in Psalm 1:3, “And he [the man who fears God] shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Today is our season. The firstfruits are being evaluated on whether we are growing in perfection in these fruits. These fruits reveal our character, or lack of it!
As God’s Spirit flows into our lives, like the sap of a tree, it motivates us to think and act like God. The Holy Spirit stimulates our growth. In reality, then, it is God who produces the fruit. The fruit of God’s Spirit ripens and matures from use, practice and experience. With time, our actions become ingrained habits of righteous character. These fruits must be produced and maintained by works. Works mean supporting God’s Work in every way we can and personally working on our growth through the basics, which are daily Bible study, prayer, meditation and occasional fasting.
We must become more mature—ripening, as fruit does, a little each day. We can easily give the appearance of a healthy tree but never bear fruit! Luke 8:14 says that the seed that fell among thorns would “bring no fruit to perfection.” The Greek word “perfection” means maturity (to ripen fruit); bring fruit to perfection. Essentially perfection can be translated as “to ripen.”
The fruits of God’s Spirit are to be expressed again and again in our daily lives until we actually take on God’s likeness! Little by little, we take on the “fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). That means perfection. The final test of perfection of a person’s character is his fruits! How he lives, what he says, what he does, reveals those fruits.
Proverbs 4:18 says, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
This means intense effort on our part. We are to grow, produce, overcome and conquer every day! God wants each of us to measure up to the fullness of Christ in us!
Our goal should be to be producing the fruits of holy, righteous and perfect character. This is our time in history. Let’s be very sure that we absolutely are seeking God’s thoughts, God’s mind and the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit, and thereby we will obtain His perfection. Let’s think and meditate deeply on these things!