John 8:47 (NKJV): “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
It is fascinating to study Jesus’ words here. He gives a condition for those who are of God. If we are of God, it is demonstrated in our lives by our hearing of His words. One would expect Him to follow that with “therefore you are not of God because you do not hear His words.” Instead, He says it the other way around, “therefore you do not hear because you are not of God.”
Jesus does not address the fruit, He addresses the cause. He addresses the heart condition. The fruit of being of God is hearing His words. But He does not address this. Instead, He goes straight to the heart condition, telling us that they will not hear His words because they are not of God.
Matthew 12:33–35 (NKJV): “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
A similar illustration is the tree and the fruit. He does not say it is a bad tree because the fruit is bad. He says the fruit is bad because it is a bad tree. He does not command us to change the fruit, He commands us to change the tree.
Application: Jesus does not try to get people to change their fruit and hear God’s words. This is futile because the lack of sensitivity to hear God’s words is not the problem. The problem is the disposition of the heart.
Many believers make this mistake with believers and unbelievers. They try to get people involved in the right actions, get them to change their actions, get them to hear the fresh things God is saying and doing in His people. This may be the wrong approach. Let us turn our attention toward the heart condition. And this is the work of the Holy Spirit. He must take the lead, not us. We cooperate with His work in this area, but it is always a work of heart, not a work of fruit.
Is there someone you are trying to get involved in God’s family, trying to get them to see the beauty of the way in God, trying to get them to hear the marvelous words of Jesus on how to live and walk in a community of revelation and love? Their involvement is not the challenge. Even their obedience is not the challenge. Their heart condition is the challenge. If someone neglects to live in this life of extreme joy in God through spiritual community, we long for them to know the blessings of the deep fellowship of the Holy Spirit. But no matter what effort you take to remove the thorns and thistles of the cares of this life, there will always be more cares and more hinderances until further transformation happens in their hearts. It is helpful to remember that the Holy Spirit is the One who takes the lead in leading people to God. As we sense where and how He is doing this, we come alongside Him in partnership with God.
John 16:8–11 (NKJV): “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
Be patient, be loving, be kind. Invest your heart, soul, and energy where the soil is good. Let the Holy Spirit take the lead in your ministry and service. Partner with Him where you see Him warming hearts and bringing transformation. And you will see a fruitful harvest!
©️Roderick Mills 2018, 2023