Being a Christian is not merely a profession of doctrinal truths but someone that practices those truths in their daily walk with Jesus Christ. Being a Christian means that you are convicted and convinced of your sins by the Holy Spirit and that truth compels every fiber of your being to reach out to the only person that can blot them out because you cannot do it alone. Being a Christian is not a faith for the weak but the strong because it takes constant reflection and spiritual growth to walk in the Holy Spirit daily and to be able to bear His fruits. That love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, that we all seek, however, for many of us they stay so elusive. That elusiveness is what I am wanting to write about today and then I want to share with everyone how Jesus Christ is trying to hand these fruits to you but you simply need to fully reach up and get them from him. However, three main things place a wedge between Him and us. But I have some good news for you all here today, I am going to teach you what they are and what you can do to remove them from our lives.
To successfully do this I must share with you some Scripture from the book of 1 John. It is written,“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us,” (1 John 1:5-10. NASB).
In this Scripture, we see that Christian doctrine and practice must walk hand in hand, if not, Christians would be lowering the deity of Christ. They would be lowering the reality of his sufferings and death for all humanity. This leads me to identify the first wedge in a believer’s life and that is that we must always “practice truth.” You may be asking yourself what I mean by “practicing truth,” and my answer is simple. We must always remember our very condition to sin and this world. The truth is that anyone who walks near to God, in holiness and righteousness, is sensible enough to understand that even in their best days, they are mixed with sin. To believe that you no longer walk in sin daily is to call God himself a liar. So how can you practice truth you may ask? This answer is simple but may take some time to process. Remember that you are a sinner and far from perfect! It may not be something you want to hear, especially as a Christian but it is true.
Understanding this truth leads us to humility and the fruits of patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness. The reason for this is because if you understand the severity of your sinful condition, you can understand the severity of the same condition in others. This understanding brings humility because even though you may have your salvation in Christ, you still share the same illness of sin with your unsaved brothers and sisters. Then, as Christ is patient with your transgressions, you will have no other choice but to do the same with others as well. This will also bring about an unnatural kindness, goodness, and gentleness for others. This is why the first wedge to remove must be to practice truth. If we fail to remove this wedge in our lives it will make you a prideful and judgemental person. You can tell when someone has this wedge in their spiritual life when you hear them judging others for sinning differently then they are. This is why the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write that the wages of all sin is death. This is because not recognizing our sins while judging others places a wedge between us and God.
This leads me to illuminate the second wedge that must be removed, but can only happen when we recognize the first wedge in our lives. This is to reflect on our sinfulness and to “repent” of them daily. God has given His testimony to the sinfulness of this world by providing it a sufficient, effectual sacrifice for its sin. Please take note that the sinfulness of all believers themselves are shown, by requiring them to continually confess their sins. What this means is that you are not perfect, nor are you expected to be perfect because you cannot be perfect. There has only been one perfect person and his name is Jesus Christ. So once you remove the first wedge from your life by reflecting and identifying that you are still in sin, this next step removes them from your life by giving them to the foot of the cross where they belong. To do this, we must humbly come to Christ and repent daily of anything that we may have thought, said, or do that was not walking according to His righteousness. Once we repent from a place of reverence and understanding, then something amazing happens! We are forgiven. God reveals to us that even He can’t remember our sins once we repent them to Christ. Jesus blots them away and they are not only forgiven but also forgotten.
What this means is if we make repentance a daily part of our daily spiritual devotion, we are starting our day with a clean slate with God. So let us be honest and confess our sins to their full extent to God, and completely rely wholly on his mercy and truth through the righteousness of Christ. It is only through Christ that we can receive full forgiveness, and the power to deliver us from the power and practice of sin. Understanding this allows us to walk closer to Him and to hear His Spirit convicting us of any temptation to sin. This leads us to have the fruits of love, joy, and peace in our lives because we are walking clothed in His righteousness daily. This is why it is said that a repentant Christian is never a prideful person. A repentant devotional life allows us to gather strength in Christ through the very weakness that we try to hide from others.
This leads me to the third and at times, the most difficult wedge that needs to be removed from our lives to fully receive the fullness of God’s glory in our lives and the fruits of His Spirit. The wedge is the “fear” that keeps us from sharing God’s truth with the world. You see, we are all called to evangelize to our family and our communities. This evangelism may take root in different ways for each believer, but at the end of the day, it must blossom and produce good fruits. If we remove the first wedge in our lives by reflecting on our life and practicing truth, and we remove the second wedge in our lives by keeping repentance the foundation of our daily devotional life, then to remove this third wedge from our lives is to continue to walk in the light and to “remove the fear” from our lives that keeps us to sharing God’s love for us with someone else.
This does not mean that God expects everyone to be a preacher standing on a box, however, He calls us to feed others with the fruits that He has provided us with. This takes us to get out of our comfort zones at times. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will lead us to pray for someone, sometimes the Holy Spirit will have us simply to be kind to someone that normally would not be treated kindly, and at other times, He will lead us to simply be a compassionate ear for someone that feels that they do not have a voice. Regardless of how He uses you, simply listen to Him. The more to obey the Holy Spirit and allow yourself to be lead by Him, you will start to come into the last fruit that we discussed at the beginning of this message, the fruit of self-control. The more you start to control the fear the world has placed in your hearts and minds, and the more you learn to walk by faith, the more self-control you will have against the temptations of sin in your life. This is why this last wedge can be the most difficult wedge to remove from our lives because it means fighting the very things that we fear, then allowing Christ to strengthen us to defeat it to be able to plant seeds in others.
In conclusion, all three wedges discussed in this message that separates us from receiving the fullness of the Fruits of the Spirit are caused by us. However, the wonderful thing is that God loves us so much that He has already provided a way to remove them through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. So if you notice that you are not receiving the fullness of God’s grace and His fruits in your life, reflect on your daily walk and find out what that wedge is and remove it. We are given this power and authority but we must believe it and have the faith to walk in this truth. So walk in the light by walking in truth, walking in repentance, and walking without fear. Then, you will be able to live in the light instead of hiding in the darkness. God calls us to live better than that, so let us do something about it together! Amen.