THE HOLY FRUIT JAR
by CHARLES ROBEY
(MOODY AL USA)
How many once-thriving churches can you name that now have taken on an about-face on the world’s cultural stage? Once-popular big centers of law, tradition and religious culture are now befitting from the works of the flesh, while abandoning the fruit of the Spirit.
Yes, times have surely changed. They have changed mostly from America’s faith-based, patriotic core values to that of living out a progressive state of mind. We are indeed living in troublesome times. I have never seen anything the likes of today’s modern culture in main street America. This is a time when, to survive, we must remain true to our living Creator God, family, and country, in that order. We should not be blinded by today’s progressive cultural revolution, and we dare not minimize the impact these liberal trends are having on our faith-based living.
Have you read your newspaper, tuned in the television news, listened to talk radio, surfed the internet, talked to your next-door neighbor, or even listened in the modern church service lately?
Are you an American who is concerned about the level of progressive programming and brainwashing indoctrination we are currently seeing in our structured churches? I surely hope and pray so. If so, what has happened to the Old Time Religion, when we loved everybody? When was the full gospel taught and preached? (I Corinthians 15:3-4)
Now we see, in a hypothetical setting, an “Old Time Religion” minded Biblical professor, getting a fictional crash course reminder of faith-based reality. This vision in turn, fosters his profession, giving him a rebirth of faith-based living.
We can entitle the blog “The Holy Fruit Jar.”
“It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness. Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right. A king's wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it. In the light of a king's face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain. How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver." (Proverbs 16:12-17, 23)
What is wrong with me? My teaching style seems to be considered outdated in today’s progressive world. Regardless of some feelings, the Old Time Religion is just as applicable today as in yesterday’s world.
Maybe too many people want to wear the new progressive crown. If so, all I can say is go for it, my dear friends. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15) Okay, should this older than dirt and twice as gritty, old, worn-out Bible professor go ahead and consider pulling the pin?
Maybe I will consider doing it later. For now, I must concentrate on finishing my dissertation paper on the ‘Fruit of the Spirit in Today's Church.' I know, with the needed divine help of providence, I will surely see it through to completion. I cannot wait to receive my much-needed promotion.
However, first things first. I just need to relax a bit. Now, where is that freshly made vitamin elixir? It always seems to give this old, tired mind a little boost. That is when my snoozing brought on another most unusual dream. Or was it a vision?
I found myself in a faraway land of medieval beauty. Deep green grassy slopes, rolling hillsides, lush-smelling multi-colored flowers were overlooked by a deep blue sky. Sprinkled among the hills were an array of quaint, well-kept cottages. This was surely heaven on earth.
Moving inward, I saw in this old-fashioned kingdom the center of attention, the focal point of it all. It was a medieval castle, graced with the customary water moat. Its well-traveled drawbridge was open and heavily populated.
Amidst the center of all this festive activity was a quaint, little rustic chapel. It appeared to be from a time long past. The tall stately bell steeple, carved entrance doors, and outdoor marquee bulletin board were still somewhat intact. From all appearances this little church had not been used for years. Without further ado, as if by divine direction, I was quickly pulled inside.
Once inside, the décor seemed to match its outward old-world setting. Again, as if by divine instruction, I was directed to a dilapidated altar communion table.
On the center, sitting on top of an old, worn, moth-eaten prayer cloth, were two large, cracked jars. The labels were difficult to read, due to age, but I was able to make out the strange inscriptions. One was labeled, “Fruit of the Spirit,” the other labeled ‘Works of the Flesh.”
I stood there for what seemed to be an eternity, because I just could not decide which to touch, which to open. 'If only I were to be divinely instructed, it would surely help the cause,' I thought. Will it be the Fruits if the Spirit? Or should I go for the Works of the Flesh?
As if by divine guidance, I reached for Works of the Flesh. Was that a mistake? 'Maybe not if preordained for my edification,' I thought.
So, I opened the Works of the Flesh jar. Floating out within a cloud of deep dark evil smoke, appeared a moth eating page out of Mom’s Bible. I could not believe it. Did I get an eyeful? Apparently, the decision had been pre-ordained for me. I meditated on its content.
" Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5 19-21)
I understand this list of fleshly desires probably fits today’s progressive socialistic mindset, but why me, an old soon-to-be-retired Gospel teacher?
Opening the second Fruit of the Spirit jar, was a totally different atmosphere. Again, a page from Mom’s Bible. However, it was supernaturally well preserved. Immediately, this page seemed to float over and devourer the first page from within the deep dark evil smoke. I was happy to mediate.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Being a well-versed Bible scholar, I was aware of these Spiritual fruits. But why here? Why in this run-down chapel setting? And, why me? Then, as if by divine compulsion, I pulled out yet another portion of Scripture from the Fruit of the Spirit jar.
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:25-26)
Wow, I get it! What did I do then? You guessed it. I saw an old altar hidden in the corner of the room, and as if by divine direction, I fell to my knees. This old altar too was divinely mysterious. Lying on the altar in plain view was a tattered slip of paper listing the proper Bible passage for the occasion. (Galatians 5:13-17) Did I find the time to read it all while on my knees? Yes, you bet I did.
However, the instant I gave way to the compulsion, I found myself back home, amidst all the hustle and bustle of today’s living. I was still relaxing a bit, but I was eager to get on with the completion of my dissertation on the Fruit of the Spirit.
Did I get my promotion? Yes, and I am now enjoying my new position as the Chair of Modern Day Christianity. No retirement for me now, for I have a specific new calling. Amen!
(Jeremiah 29:11), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
I trust you enjoyed this bit of faith-based fiction, as much as I did in its writing.
Did you take the visit with me, into this once happy little chapel? What happened to this center of worship located within this busy medieval township? Did the works of the flesh overpower the fruit of the Spirit? Definitely not!
Can we now draw a parallel to America’s churches of today, once standing strong for the true gospel, (I Corinthians 15:3-4)? Are the teachings of the “Fruit of the Spirit” now being vacated and overrun by the “Works of the Flesh.”? Yes!
In my opinion, it is a reflection of today’s progressive moral decay within law and order, the government, religious institutions, educational systems, the public square, and the family.
The Biblical Scripture plainly states that we who claim the true gospel are in a never-ending unseen spiritual war of many battles. (Ephesians 6:12) Our enemies are the demonic hosts of Satan, always assembled for mortal combat
So, we must put on the full armor of God every day. (Ephesians 6:10-17) We must take our stand with God's word in our hands and prayers on our lips. (Ephesians 6:18-19)
God has given us all we need to prevail and endure, so we must put His gifts to good use in His service. (Ephesians 6:23-24)