The Fruit of Self-Control

From the upcoming book “Fruit in Heaven” …

Would it surprise you to know that the key to operating in spiritual gifts is the fruit of self-control? Many see Charismatic (those who operate in spiritual gifts) Christians as being out-of-control. In 1 Corinthians chapter 14, Paul begins with the exhortation to (verse 1) “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy”. Yet, near the end of the chapter, Paul concludes with the fact that “the spirit of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (verse 32). His point being, the key to being prophetic (or exercising any spiritual gift) is learning to recognize when your thoughts (or feelings) have originated from God and when they are from your self. And, when those thoughts are from God, you have the self-control to not mix your own words and thoughts into the delivery/translation of God’s words and thoughts.

How can you distinguish between the two? The more you spend time in the spirit, silencing your own thoughts, the more you can develop hearing the voice of God. In such times, you will start seeing what He sees, feeling what He feels, being touched by what touches Him. The more time you spend in silence with God, the more you can easily distinguish between God’s thoughts and words and your own. It’s that simple. And, it is available to all Christians. Do you want to be able to spot the counterfeit? Then spend time with the genuine.

The reason charismatic Christians get excited is that they are experiencing God, the ultimate ‘non-yourself’, the ultimate ‘other’ in your life. It is a lie from Satan that Charismatics have no self-control. In fact, the opposite is true. It is only because they can control self that allows God to operate unhindered in their lives.

The key to operating in spiritual gifts is learning to recognize God’s voice/thoughts and your own voice/thoughts and then learning to control-self so that your self does not hinder the voice and work of God. Those Christians who have not learned this distinction and discipline have fallen into the trap of a life without self-control.

Faithfulness – Vision

From the upcoming book “Fruit in Heaven” …

Proverbs 29:18 : Where there is no vision, the people perish. (KJV)

To fully develop the fruit of faithfulness in your life, you must also develop your spiritual vision. In an organization, without a sense of common purpose, objectives and goals their members will flounder. In the body of Christ, without a vision of heaven and of the spiritual realm, church will lose direction and purpose.

1 Corinthians 15:29: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

I find it interesting that the Apostle Paul, a man who faced daily trails (2 Corinthians 11:28), assumed that Christians possessed faith/hope for today but just needed to be reminded (through his letters) of our eternal hope. For, what I find in many modern Christians is the opposite. There is a common hope/belief in a heavenly future and yet very little belief in the need for faithfulness in the small daily things which are the stuff of life.

“I’m a Christian. So, I believe I’m going to heaven when I die. But, today I’m too busy with work and family obligations to think about God.”

When you spend time developing your spiritual senses, you begin to live your life from a spiritual point-of-view. Your priorities will change. What you spend your time and money on will change. Your attitude towards your daily activities will change. You will begin to be faithful to the little things that are important to God, for you will begin to see them as He see them. You will develop the fruit of faithfulness in your life.

Poor in Spirit – The Kingdom of Heaven in our Lives

From the book “Peace in Heaven” …

Matthew 5:3:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is the kingdom of peace. The first step towards a life lived within your inheritance as a child of God, within the kingdom of peace, is a recognition of how poor you actually are in the spirit compared to the vast spiritual riches available to you in heaven.

The Apostle Paul’s prayer recorded in Ephesians 3:18 is that we would “be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” It is God’s desire that we be filled with peace to such a degree that it passes all knowledge or understanding. He wants His children to exhibit a supernatural peace that will baffle and astonish the world around them.

God desires that we be filled “with all the fullness of God”. What an incredible statement!

Peace that “passes knowledge” means supernatural peace. It means peace in the midst of any storm.

In the midst of a storm that threatened to sink the very boat carrying Himself and His disciples (Mark 4:35-41), Jesus was asleep on a pillow! When awoke by His disciples, Jesus rebuked the wind and caused “a great calm”. Jesus is not only our savor; he is the example to be followed by every child of God. Supernatural peace is available to every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, that means like Jesus we have the power and authority within us to rebuke any storm and to calm the waves that threaten to rob us of our peace. This is because the same spirit that rose Jesus from the dead also lives within us. (Romans 8:11)

Jesus is the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Every storm that threatens to rob us of our God given inheritance of peace must bow to the lordship of Jesus Christ. “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40) Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith. His rebuke is a reminder to us all that, as children of God, we have power over the spiritual atmosphere that is around us.

We are called to be peacemakers. We are called to be light in dark places.

Don’t let anything or anyone rob you of your peace.

Sit in His Presence

From the book “Pathways in Heaven” …

When God starts to deal with your old nature He heads straight for the center of all you hold most dear. Allow Him to bring you the cross in the very center of who you are. Don’t grumble and become agitated when the process starts: Silence and peace will help you much more than being upset.

You will be tempted to speak out in a humble tone of voice to tell others of your problems. Watch out for this! A humility that is still talkative does not run very deep. When you talk too much your self-love relieves its sense of shame a little.

Don’t be angry about what people say. Just follow God and let them talk. As far as people are concerned, you will never be able to satisfy them. Silence, peace, and union with God should comfort you from all that people speak against you. You need to be determined to do right in your present situation – but at the same time your quick temper requires checks and balances. Come to God often just to sit in His presence and renew yourself. Nothing is as important as lowliness of heart, and detachment from your own opinion and will. Stiffness and harshness is not the spirit of Jesus Christ

Francois de Fenelon (1651-1715)
French Roman Catholic Archbishop
Taken from the book ‘100 Days in the Secret Place’
Copyright 2001 – Gene Edwards, Published by Destiny House

The above excerpt came from a letter written by Archbishop Fenelon. His fatherly voice and practical advice is part of the inspiration for this book. His writings remind me we are all very much a work in progress and we need to be reminded to ‘Come to God often just to sit in His presence and renew yourself.’ God is working deep within all of us to bring us to maturity as His sons and daughters.

All of us are on a spiritual journey. It is important to know the pathways we are on have been traveled by others before us as well.


From the upcoming book “Fruit in Heaven” …

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me — A prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)

Once you start viewing the world around you through the prism of God’s lovingkindness, through the certainty that God is for you, not against you, then your attitude concerning everything in your life will change. Blaming and accusing God and others over things that (at first glance) annoy and frustrate will stop. All things in your life are in your life because of the loving kindness of the Lord. Yes, even things that frustrate. They are there to work in virtue and to work out self.

I meet so many Christians who question God’s hand in their lives. They believe either 1. God is against them or 2. God is not daily concerned or involved in the events and circumstances of life. What they are saying is that they really don’t believe in the kindness or sovereignty of God. In the natural, we will always view our lives from the viewpoint of temporary convenience and not eternal glory.

The source of all kindness is God. We desperately need to see and to recognize the kindness of God that is all around us. We need to be overwhelmed by seeing the kindness of God so that we ourselves begin to exhibit that same kindness to others. It should be the hallmark of our lives to be kind to everyone around us; to the loving and unloving, to the just and unjust, to the kind and unkind. For in this way, we will visibly display the Spirit of God that is within us. The Lord ‘redeems my life from destruction’ and ‘crowns me with lovingkindness’ (Psalm 103:4). In heaven, the crowns we will cast at the feet of Jesus (Revelation 4:1) will not be crowns symbolizing our accomplishments, but ones that visibly declare for all eternity the kindness that God has shown to us.

Heaven is your true home

From the book ‘Treasures in Heaven” …

During times of contemplative prayer, ask the Lord for new glimpses of heaven. Pray to smell the grass of heaven. Pray to feel the wind of the Holy Spirit blow and to see the mountains of grandeur.

Heaven is your true home. Heaven is your inheritance. Spending time in the spirit, in heaven, will fundamentally change your soul. It will change your heart and your mind. You will start sensing heaven around you in people and in places as you walk through your day. You will also feel God’s strong presence and protection when around people and in situations, even in situations that in the past made you feel uneasy. You will start to walk in the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits. Gods wants you to have this gift for the benefit of those you meet. This is because discerning spirits and sensing unspoken needs go hand-in-hand. Be sensitive to the needs of others around you and offer to pray as the Lord prompts.

During my times of contemplative prayer, if in the spirit I see a flower, I imagine its sweet smell. I start by remembering the scent of a rose or other familiar flower, but then, as I take this first step, the Lord responds with a heavenly aroma that is beyond what I have ever known. When such a blessing goes beyond past experience, you know that it is from God. What is the purpose of such an experience? God wants to bless you! Allow God to bless you by letting you smell heaven! Get excited about the heavenly world that you will one day enjoy in its fullness! In your prayer times breathe deeply and allow heaven to invade your senses!

God wants the church to be filled with people who discern the spiritual atmosphere around them everywhere they go. Demons tremble at the sight of spiritually aware Christians approaching, knowing that their lies will be soon exposed. Bringing falsehoods into the light of truth found in Jesus Christ destroys lies and sets people free from their entanglements. Speaking the truth in love, we are to cast down imaginations and “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”. (1 Corinthians 10:5) We will begin to see the authority we have as sons and daughters of the living God. The sword of truth that we carry will expose and defeat every lie of the enemy!

Exuding Peace

From the book “Gardens in Heaven” …

Song of Solomon 4:16:

Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Blow upon my garden that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits.

As the bride of Christ, we long for the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow upon us so that we diffuse the fragrance of Christ everywhere we go.

The key to being the fragrance of Christ is spending time contemplating God and heaven.

The practice of contemplative prayer starts with learning to quiet you mind. To do so you first need to escape the noise of the world around you. Find a place and time where you can regularly be alone with your thoughts, then learn to turn those thoughts towards God.

One good way to turn your thoughts towards God is to picture yourself in heaven. Imagine the scene as a beautiful garden. Breathe deeply and imagine the fragrance of the plants and flowers around you.

The benefit of such a daily practice is that you will begin to diffuse the fragrance of Christ throughout your day. By that I mean you will exude peace when there is chaos around you. Also, during the day you will be able to escape stress by simply closing your eyes and returning to your heavenly garden.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?

As contemplative prayer becomes a routine, you will exude peace.