“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” (Romans 6:22)
Recently my wife and I were traveling from Wichita Falls, TX back home to Austin after a long holiday weekend. As was our normal practice, we plugged our destination into our map app on my phone as began our journey. Within less than 30 minutes, we reached a point on the map that was easily confused and we found ourselves missing our turn and going down the wrong path. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before we were able to turn around and get back on the right path to our intended destination. Later on that same trip, we encountered a similar situation in Ft. Worth. Again, we missed our turn, but we our map app was able to adjust and get us back on track.
In the first instance, had we remained on the course we were heading and not turned around, we would have ultimately ended up 8 hours away from our intended destination. In the second instance, we were planning to make a special side stop to drive through and see the seminary located there. Had we continued on after missing the correct branch of the fork in the expressway, we would have missed this side trip. In both cases, we were able to quickly course-correct, thanks to our map that alerted us that we had missed our turn.
Scripture serves as a spiritual map, providing an opportunity to “course-correct” when we get off track in our lives. When we surrender our lives to Christ, we are in effect changing our destination from a path of destruction to a path that leads to eternal glory. This eternal change in our lives doesn’t mean that we don’t occasionally get off track, but when we saturate our lives with God’s Word, we are more quickly able to get back on track to our destination. If we choose to ignore the instructions of our “map”, the ultimate end of the road is a destination that is not what we intended.
Sin produces fruit in our lives, fruit that is rotten and spoils quickly. “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:20-21) But the fruit of the Spirit, fruit that is planted by the seed of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and watered by the Word of God saturating our lives, and giving glory to the Son who is the Master of our lives, makes all the difference: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-24)
I ask you, what “fruit are you getting” from the life you are leading? If your life is characterized by the “works of the flesh”, then I would implore you to spend some time doing some deep soul searching and really dive into the Word of God with an open heart. This will help you course-correct and get your life on a path that will lead to a more joyful life. But be forewarned: “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
If the “fruit you are getting” in your life is characterized by the fruit of the Spirit, then I encourage you: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Nine times in the book of Genesis God reiterated this command. In the New Testament, Jesus put it another way: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
We are not called to make converts. We are called to make disciples. We are called to baptize. We are called to teach disciples to observe and obey all that He has commanded us in this life. But we are not alone in this journey, because He has promised to be with us to the end. And this is a promise that you can take to the bank.