2009 is the year that the fruit of our lives becomes manifested. Spiritually speaking, the number 9 represents the nine fruits of the Spirit. Before a baby is born, a seed is planted, and then it takes shape and silently forms within limited boundaries. In the fullness of time, that baby breaks forth outside its limits and suddenly appears. In that moment of breakthrough, we see its "face" for the first time. That is a good analogy for 2009 in regards to making known the manifestation of the seeds that were planted and nurtured in our lives.
Jesus told us to "know" the fruits. In the Greek, this means to be fully acquainted with, to be sure, understand, resolve, perceive and be knowledgeable about what kind of fruit we are producing and what to do about it. The Lord wants us to understand; understanding is a well of life (see Proverbs 16:22)!
Without this knowledge, we see through a glass darkly and only know in part. But when the Lord shines His light, then we see the face of our fruit and we will "know" even as we are "known." This same Greek word "to know" (#1921 Strong's) is in both of these Scriptures below:
"Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know (#1921) them." Matthew 7:17-20 (Emphasis added)
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know (#1921) even as also I am known (#1921)." 1 Corinthians 13:12 (Emphasis added)
As we suddenly see the face of the good and bad seeds we have nurtured in our lives, what can we do in 2009 to partner with the Lord? Here's some tips on how to "face and embrace" both kinds of fruit and understand them as God does.
See God's Perspective: Swallow His Love
Bad Fruit: When the Lord spotlights our bad fruit, it is so that He can deliver us from the death that bad seeds cause in our life. See destruction from His perspective. He loves us so much, He wants to deliver us from destruction and death!
"Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" Psalm 107:17-21 (Emphasis added)
I am suffering the bad seeds of affliction in my body that seem to have come to full-blown manifestation in one year's time. That Scripture has become one of my favorite verses. I am crying out to the Lord in my trouble, and He is saving me out of my distresses, sending forth His Word to heal me and delivering me from all my destructions. I want everything that is planted in my body, soul and spirit that is producing death and destruction in my life to be cut off and thrown away. I don't want death, I want abundant life. Jesus died for me so that I can have life and have it more abundantly! (See John 10:10.) GO GOD, GET IT OUT AND GET IT GONE!
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep." John 10:10-12
Good Fruit: When He reveals the good fruit we are producing, Scripture says that we bear fruit to God. We can produce nothing without abiding in the Lord as our Source, but if we do, then what we are overcoming become our gifts back to Him. To think we can actually give God a gift (who is the richest and has everything); it is a wonderful honor to be able to give to Him something that really ministers to Him.
"Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the Body of Christ, that you may be married to another - to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." Romans 7:3-6 (Emphasis added)
For instance, if someone is treating me unkindly and it hurts me deeply, it is a chance to overcome this and bear good fruit. I take the circumstance back to the Lord, cling to Him for help, and then start pouring seeds of kindness back into that person. Through my sacrifice of kind words, deeds, prayers and forgiveness, I am starting to grow the fruit of kindness in my life. In the fullness of time when that fruit of kindness is generating good fruit, I give it to God as a loving sacrifice for all that I suffered. Regardless of whether I ever receive kindness back from that person, the Lord receives it unto Himself, knowing the pain I went through to bear that beautiful fruit. He receives the gift of our fruit as very, very precious.
Examine Our Fruit Through Scripture
I am overcoming an affliction in my bones. So what did I do to cooperate with God? First, I looked up the word "bones" in Scripture and it revealed a LOT of understanding about my life and my past.
Scripture told me that a good report and pleasant words makes my bones healthy, and the fear of the Lord strengthens them. I learned that when David sinned, he was tormented at night in his bones. I learned that bone pain is a rebuke and chastening, and that a broken spirit also dries them up. I learned if I take away the pointing of the finger, the Lord will strengthen my bones. Best of all, I learned that if I walk upon the Holy highway, I will be healed (see Proverbs 3:8; Proverbs 15:30; Psalm 6:1; Psalm 31:10; Psalm 38:3; Psalm 102:3; Proverbs 17:22; Job 33:19; Isaiah 58:9, 11; Hebrews 12:12; Isaiah 35).
I also learned to honor (esteem and value) my parents and honor the Word through the prophets so that it will go well in my life and I will prosper (see Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:3; 2 Chronicles 20:20).
As a result of these findings, I started to change and make serious choices to speak good reports and pleasant words, and no longer judge others and point fingers at them. I resisted fellowshipping with sources that did not speak good things. I learned to honor those whom the Lord has placed in my life as His representatives. I learned how to fear the Lord in believing His promise of reaping and sowing. Have I arrived yet? No, but I am sincerely improving and making my best efforts in the fear of the Lord.
I learned to embrace His loving chastisement so that I can produce the peaceful fruit of righteous choices in my life. Why? Because when I don't make righteous choices, it produces death and destruction in my members. When I make righteous choices, it produces a healthy tree. I WANT A HEALTHY LIFE.
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner." Proverbs 11:30-31 (Emphasis added)
"Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:10-11 (Emphasis added. See also Proverbs 12:12-14; Ephesians 5:9-14.)
Examine the Seeds in Our Past to Change Our Future
I wanted to know where the seeds of this affliction came from. The Lord began to highlight my ancestors; their employment and personalities and how I emulated certain choices that did not honor the Lord. And on the balanced scale, He shed light on the good gifts that have been passed down from my ancestors, then gave me a thankful heart and creative, tangible ways to honor them for their cultivating their good gifts.
He reminded me of past dreams, visions and words revealing the seeds of affliction I had my whole life, and how ALL was a part of my destiny in overcoming. He showed me where I had made bad choices to feed those seeds, which then gave me ideas on how to change. And on the balance scale, He showed me where I was doing a good job at overcoming and closing demonic inroads so that I could be delivered and healed and keep my healing.
When the affliction hit me full-blown and the impact suddenly came fully manifest, He told me places where I was being corrected because I had resisted His voice and not obeyed His Word. He also showed me places where I was NOT being corrected, so I would not fall prey to condemnation, but to hold my life in light of His truth on what Scripture says He feels about me. He is very jealous and loves us passionately and fiercely; He is relentless to gain every portion of us, even if He has to correct us and take us through spiritual surgery.
Examine the Fruit of What We Say
Scripture promises that we are known by what we say, and we will eat either death or life by what we say. If we fear the Lord, we will realize how scary it is to eat the fruit of our own lips. Scripture also promises that those who are teachers will be judged by a greater accountability and standard.
Parents, what are we speaking into our children's lives? If we speak correction, do we also speak the good promises of what comes from change? Do we honor the good fruit and changes when we see them?
Are we speaking positive and helpful things into people's lives? Are we tearing them down? Do we seek the good in people and speak into their potential?
Are we blasting our leaders, nations, schools, cities with judgment and criticism? Do we want to be judged in that same way? Are we thankful for what we do have? Do we pray over our concerns?
The Lord is saying it is a time to fear Him and speak in the right way. When we speak, we need to balance the scales between good and evil and then tip the scales to where goodness overcomes evil (see Romans 12:21).
"For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:43-45 (Emphasis added)
"A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Proverbs 18:20-21 (Emphasis added)
"'I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,' says the LORD, 'And I will heal him.' But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 'There is no peace,' says my God, 'for the wicked.'" Isaiah 57:19-21 (Emphasis added)
Examine the Fruit of Our Doings
When I raised my young son, instead of yelling "NO!" (and thus producing deaf ears), I taught him to make choices. I would stop his behavior and help him see the results, often with the wisdom of understanding himself and the behavior. I would give him much praise when he made good choices. It was based upon the reap and sow system. That method is exactly how our Heavenly Father is raising us. Due to fallen generations where we have not heeded Scripture, we have lost the understanding about the fruit of our lives.
Listen to the following Scriptural principals and promises of how God treats us: "I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings" (Jeremiah 17:10, Emphasis added).
"You show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them - the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts. You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for Your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 32:18-20, (Emphasis added)
"Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates." Proverbs 31:31
So, how does it help us to accept that we will eat the fruit of our doings? Accepting the fruit of our lives is coming to peace with God's ways and being encouraged to change - so our lives will be better.
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:7-10
In the good fruit, Scripture promises us that when give in our productive seasons, then in times of leanness the fruit of it will come back to us when we need it.
Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone's needs will be met. Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? "Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough" (2 Corinthians 8:14-15).
We may be suffering a painful time, but the Lord will bring us a harvest of the good fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and even self-control through how people treat us when we need the help the most. And we will experience these fruits in our own emotions during difficult circumstances (see Galatians 5:22-26). And best of all, God will heap upon us these same good fruits in how He treats us during our time of need.
Better Choices For a Better Future
We may feel like our lives are tottering on the edge, but we still have the rest of our lives to make better choices for a better future. YES? It is never too late to change, and God will honor us as we bow low, repent, and submit to Him.
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." Psalm 1:1-3
About Sandy Warner: Sandy Warner was visited by the Lord Jesus on August 22, 1984. He imparted His anointing and handed her a solid gold pen. Since that time she has written over 22 books, maintains a devotional email list of several thousand subscribers, and facilitates a website containing thousands of pages of personal examples of how God speaks. It is her passion to teach about the language of how God speaks and build a bridge for generations yet to come.