“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Fullness … Faithfulness … Fruitfulness, by Randall D. Kittle

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One day, as I was praying, the Lord gave me a vision of a woman in a wedding dress who looked like she had the flu. She appeared very pale and weak. And the Lord said, “Behold My bride, she is sick and weak, for she suffers from spiritual scurvy.”

I then noticed that she was trying to eat a tray of food that sat before her. Upon the tray was a huge pile of candy, a large glass of milk, and a tiny plate with a bite of meat on it. “She gladly eats of the sweet things I have provided, drinks the milk of the Word, and even eats some solid meat of teaching. Yet, her strength fails her, for she does not partake of the fruit of the Spirit, which is required to stay healthy and grow in My ways.”

Spiritual Scurvy
In the days of the great sea explorers, the sailors were subject to many different illnesses. One of these conditions was scurvy. Scurvy was a horrible and devastating disease that took the life of many sailors before a treatment was discovered. In the early stages of scurvy, people exhibit bleeding, swollen gums, and horridly bad breath. As the course of the disease progresses, they display fatigue, fainting, bruising, hemorrhaging … growing gradually weaker until they die.

It was eventually discovered that scurvy was caused by improper nutrition. If the sailors consistently ate fruit as a part of their diet, it protected them from developing scurvy. In fact, the British Navy required their seamen to regularly eat limes or drink lime juice (this is why they were nicknamed “limeys”), which eliminated scurvy from their ranks.

The bride of Christ also shows signs of being weak and fatigued. Much of what proceeds out of our mouths is far from the sweet fragrance God is looking for. How often we faint back from fulfilling the full extent of what we are called to do, and how easily we are “bruised” by the words and opinions of the world. As the body of Christ, our expression of Jesus’ life is pale and incomplete because the fruit of the Spirit is not a constant part of our diet. God is desiring a bountiful harvest of fruit in the Church, so that the body of Christ will be strong and healthy.

It’s great to know that God expects to see fruit in our lives, and to admit that we need more, but exposition without application is lifeless. God is calling us to
have more fruit, not just realize we need more fruit or understand about fruit. One of my brothers has a Ph.D. in Botany. I am certain he understands how an apple tree’s flower blossoms change into apples far more completely than do the men who run the large apple orchard in our area. When September rolls around, however, I won’t be packing up the family in the van to go to my brother’s house to get some apples. You see, although he understands the process far better than the people at the orchard, he doesn’t have any apple trees growing in his yard. You can study how to grow apples all your life — you may even come to be known as an expert on apples — but until you actually start planting the orchard you should not expect to have a harvest. Let us look at what we must do to have more fruit in our lives.

No Seedless Fruit
The fruit the Father longs to see in our lives is not just some list of good traits we can memorize and mimic. He wants the very character of Jesus to be alive, active, and illuminating our lives. When we allow God to create this fruit in our lives, it will have an ongoing, ever increasing result — for the fruit of His creation reproduces. The fruit that God plants in our lives is like the fruit He created in the beginning…it will have seeds inside. “Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed‑bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:11). It may be great to have seedless fruit in the grocery store, but it should never be so in the Church! God is expecting the life He has planted within us to be multiplied — both in our character and other converts.

New Dimensions
Once in a vision, I saw a bride in a beautiful wedding dress. Suddenly a hand reached over and pressed it out, and I realized that it was merely a paper doll.

As I prayed about what this meant, the Lord told me that the world sees the Church, His bride, like a paper doll: flat and shallow, only two dimensional, having no depth nor fullness. Then He reminded me of Paul’s prayer found in Ephesians 3:17–18
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

God is telling us that there is a lack of fullness to the bride of Christ. He is revealing this to us not to discourage us, but to exhort us to continue to become the spotless bride Jesus will return for. To help bring this about, the Holy Spirit has been active in the Church in our day pouring out the love of God so we might be thoroughly rooted and established in His love. The renewal movement that has been touching many across North America and the world is making certain we are rooted in the Father’s love. Yet, most of the Church is currently still flat and two dimensional like a paper doll. We have width and length — but we have no height nor depth. Our wills may have chosen God. Our minds may be given over to God. But we have failed to allow Him to give us His fullness.

Fullness
I am far from an expert on farming, but I know that it takes many things to grow a plant: the seed, the soil, the water, the sunlight, the climate. If we are missing any of these essential ingredients we will not have any fruit. Likewise, only when we have all of the various fruit of the Spirit active in our lives will we find ourselves fruitful for the kingdom.

As we grow from being mere babes in Christ and begin to mature, we are called to grow into
every aspect of Jesus. The Father is forming and fashioning us into the very image of His Son. He continues to care for us and build us up “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). This is God’s goal for His adopted sons and daughters — that we come to have the full nature of Jesus.

“Narrow-Casting”
One difficulty we have in coming into the full nature of Jesus is that we naturally gravitate toward the one aspect of Jesus that lines up with our strongest giftings. We reveal either Jesus Christ the Great Prophet, or Jesus the Great Shepherd, or Christ the True Evangelist. The problem with this is that it causes the world to see Jesus as a reflection of us, not having the depth and character that is truly His.

We have failed to be broadcasters, sending out the full picture of Jesus for everyone to see. Instead of broadcasting, we have been “narrow-casting” — moving in only one channel (which is not much different from being stuck in a rut). It seems like the stronger we are in that gift the more we focus on it exclusively until we become “one-gift wonders!” We need to be “broadcast seeding,” not planting in rows. It is not wrong that we emphasize our favorites, but when this one aspect becomes all that we focus on we are in trouble.

Fullness is important; whether we are talking about the kingdom of God, our diet or even home design. I enjoy eating black licorice, but if that was all I ever ate, I might be very happy, but I certainly would not be very healthy. My favorite room in the house is my study, but over the years I have found that having a bedroom and a bathroom are kind of handy too. I would not want to have a house that is designed without these rooms, and God doesn’t want our lives to be designed without His fullness!

Being What We Want
There is a new move in many Christian circles that has to do with “reinventing yourself.” This whole movement was a popular trend in the world and has, as of late, been adopted by the Church. Looking over the Scriptures, I don’t ever recall the Bible telling us to discover “self.” In fact, the exact opposite seems to be the gist of the New Testament. “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

No, Randy, you misunderstand this work. It’s not about reinventing
yourself, it’s reinventing your life. Oh, that’s much better, a new kind of resurrection…a resurrection of our flesh! That this sounds so appealing should not be surprising because something in our very nature desperately hangs on to the old life. But we need to remember that “He who seeks to keep His life shall lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake shall keep it” (Matthew 10:39). Jesus does not want to “fix-up” your old life, He wants it eliminated and started over as His life!

We are called to come into the fullness of Christ, not the narrowness of self! The Bible never tells us to discover “self,” but to crucify it! The kingdom of God will be advanced not by those who lead
selfish lives, but those who lead selfless lives.

Pick Your Calling
This “new movement” reminds me of one of the worst messages I have ever heard. It was given by a traveling minister at a very large church service I attended. Thousands of believers sat spellbound while this minister shared with them how to discover God’s calling on their lives. The gist of the message was as simple as it was inviting. “If you do not know what is God’s will for your life, just look at those things you enjoy doing, those things that give you fulfillment and pleasure, and that is what you are called to.”

I thought about it a little. I love to go skiing … and I love pizza. Is God’s true desire for my life to be a pizza delivery man at a ski resort? Although at that time I was far from zealous after God, my spirit knew this was not God’s plan.

Jesus did not say “what I really like is being beaten, humiliated, tortured, and executed.” He did not gleefully skip off to the crucifixion because He enjoyed it. It was endured in obedience to His Father and for the joy set before Him. We are not called to something just because we find joy in it, but if we will do the things that we are called to, we will, eventually, find joy in them. We are not to be like what we want, nor merely do what we like, we are to be like Jesus.

Multifaceted
God has taken the coal of our lives, and through the pressure the world has put us under, He has transformed us into beautiful diamonds. Now God, as the Master Diamond Cutter, wants to cut many facets so we will reflect the brilliance of His divine illumination. As we allow God to cut more of His facets in our lives, we become more brilliant and more precious. The world will begin to see an internal brilliance from Christ’s eternal presence.

The Sign of the Ampersand
As the end of the age approaches, the Church will be moving in more apostolic power. In the days ahead we will be hearing more and more about the solid reestablishment of true apostolic ministry. Recently, the Lord told me that if the Church wants to be apostolic, she will have to have the sign of the ampersand. An ampersand (which looks like this “&”) is the typographical sign for the word “and.” For too long the body of Christ has been divided. We have been choosing up sides. Do you want the prophetic or the pastoral? Do you want peace or joy? Do you want this or that? The Lord is saying that if we want to come into His apostolic anointing we are going to have to choose this and that! It is time for the Church to start having all that God is offering, and begin to show the fullness of Christ.

Separate Camps
For years we have been singing about breaking down dividing walls, and now the Lord is going to cause the breaking. But walls of separation do not exist only between different denominations or different fellowships of believers in a city, they also separate believers in the same fellowship.

Once while praying, I saw a flock of sheep on a hillside. They were grazing in little groups, and everything seemed fine. Suddenly, fences began to rise up out of the ground dividing each of the groups into separate “corrals.” The different corrals had signs on the fences. I remember one was labeled prophetic, one was labeled pastoral, and one was labeled intercessors; but there were also many others.

Most of the sheep paid little attention to the fences and just kept on grazing. Some sheep seemed very happy by this separation — as if they thought this was good and helpful. Other sheep, however, looked angry and began trying to knock down or jump over the fences.

Then I heard the Lord say, “The enemy’s plan is to divide and conquer.” With that each fence crumbled into pieces and fell to the ground. The sheep gathered the splintered fragments of the fences into a large pile and it ignited … ablaze like a glorious bonfire.

The enemy’s desire has been to divide us into various camps according to our strongest giftings. Satan would have some of us separate into groups of “pastoral giftings” and others as “the prophets,” and so on; each camp gathering around its own little campfire. He doesn’t want the individual believer to have the fullness of Christ, nor does he want the body of Christ to be united. If Satan can get us to become separate, divided, and labeled (which makes the separation more permanent), he is well on his way to bringing defeat. But God is unmasking the enemy’s plan, and calling us to remove the labels and limitations, and move on together as one flock. As the Lord continues to break down the fences, bringing our various camps together, we will individually and corporately come into the fullness of Christ — the only True Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, and Intercessor.

Faithfulness
If we want to reap a harvest of fruit, we must remember that it takes time to have a harvest. The Bible exhorts us to “… not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). As we come into the fullness of Jesus Christ we will have a great harvest if we will just remain faithful.

It is difficult to remain faithful and not to lose heart because there is a mindset that has become epidemic in the Church today called “instant Christianity.” This condition causes believers to think they should receive an immediate impartation of maturity, power, and abundance if they just know enough or have the right experience. This “Jack-in-the-Beanstalk Mentality”says that we can have true spiritual fruit overnight.
But both the Bible and our own Christian experience have shown us that the true walk of faith is far from this fairytale Christianity.

There are no short cuts to spiritual fruit, it takes time for them to grow. We may want instant empowerment, but God’s way is the way of patience. Patience is more than just a holding tank for those trying to muster enough courage and faith to move forward — it is a fruit born in our lives by the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 6:12 says,
“It is with faith and patience that you inherit the promise.”

The “I’m-Outta-Here!” Attitude
A second problem we find in being faithful is picking up the “I’m-outta-here!” attitude. With the slightest offense we feel led to use our “lead foot” and move on. Instead of “Having done all, to stand,” we take our marbles and find a new game. Often we leave right before the spiritual breakthrough was about to happen … “snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.”

This would be like planting an orchard and carefully tending to it until it was finally about to produce a harvest, and then deciding to transplant every tree in the orchard thirty yards to make more room for parking. Only a fool would abort his harvest by transplanting just when the fruit is about to be ripe. But how often have we transplanted our spiritual lives right before the harvest?

We need to remember that spiritual warfare always gets the fiercest right before the breakthrough. During the closing years of the Second World War, the German war machine exploded with one large, final offensive just before it collapsed. The purpose was to try and convince the allied armies that Germany’s condition was better than they thought. And this is exactly what happens so often in spiritual warfare, just before the final breakthrough the enemy brings intense spiritual warfare against us trying to discourage us in hopes that we will forfeit the victory we have nearly attained.

Failing to Take the Final
I knew a woman in graduate school who was one of only a handful of students out of more than one hundred and fifty who entered graduate school after only two years of undergraduate study. There was a lot of pressure on her as she competed against students with much greater levels of education. Though she had done quite well throughout the entire year (receive mostly “A”s with a few “B”s), she began panicking about the final. She started listening to every doubt and fear she had heard. “How could she possibly score well among all these other great students?” “Wasn’t she a little too young for all this responsibility?” “Wasn’t she foolish to try to compete with all of these other more educated students?” The waves of doubt just seemed to pour over her mind.

Instead of risking taking the finals and perhaps looking foolish, she simply skipped them. After doing quite well for the entire school year she failed to show up for the final examinations. With only three days left in the school year she quit, and had to repeat the entire year. Think of the loss of time (all of her months of studying abandoned) and the financial loss (well over $30,000). The funny thing about this story is that the next year at that time she was taking the same tests she had refused to take a year earlier. You see, in school you cannot move on until you take the final examination.

It is the same in the kingdom of God. Because of fear, or offense, or some other excuse, we often “fail to take the final,” and instead choose to “move on.” But if we run away from the test instead of passing it … we will end up having to face the same test again. Spiritually, you will never move on until you pass the test that lies before you. And every time we fail to take the test it is very costly.

God is wanting us to remain faithful, to pass the test, and graduate to the next level. He wants us to finally be able to move the tassel from the one side to the other and receive our “degree.” As we pass the test that lies before us, this degree that we will be granted is not merely a diploma saying we have passed the test, we will also have a new degree to our ministry … a broader scope of service for God. We will also have a new degree of passion for Him; a more white-hot fire of love for God.

A Fruit-Filled Result
At the end of the age will we be found worthy of the final commendation “Well done, My good and faithful servant”? Those who truly love the Lord will have become faithful, for faithfulness is a requirement. “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). Mind you, it is not optional, take-it-or-leave-it; it is required. We are the bride of Christ, and every groom wants his bride to be faithful!

The Lord is looking for a fruit-filled bride, and to develop this fruit we will need to be planted in His fullness and rooted in faithfulness. If we will seek the fullness of Christ and remain in faithfulness to Christ, we will eventually have fruitfulness for Christ.


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