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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of August 21, 2017

The Fruit of the Spirit ought to be the trademark of every believer.

How can you identify Christians? Not by their outward appearances, their WWJD bracelets, their Jesus bumper-stickers, or any other superficial items.

Instead, Jesus tells us that we are known by our fruit: "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them" (Matthew 7:16-20).

The "fruit" that Jesus is talking about is the Fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). In other words, when the world sees Christians, they should see the Fruit of the Spirit -- love, joy, peace, etc.

When you see the "golden arch" you can identify that building as a McDonalds restaurant, and when you see the "swoosh" you can identify that article of clothing as part of the Nike brand. Just like those things, when people in the world see someone consistently displaying the Fruit of the Spirit regardless of the circumstances, they should be able to identify that person as a Christian. Believers need to be marked by the Fruit of the Spirit.

Are you seeking the gifts or the Giver?

Sometimes we get so caught up in seeking God's presents that we forget all about His presence! God wants every believer to remain in His presence and have a personal relationship with Him just like you would with any other friend.

King David knew the importance of seeking God's presence and dwelling with Him. In Psalm 27:4, David writes, One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. David set himself to seek and require one thing--God's presence.

The next two verses (Psalm 27:5-6) tell us the rewards of seeking God: For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

The rewards of seeking God are awesome; not only will you develop a closer relationship with God, but you will also find true joy and contentment.

Psalm 16:11 says, You will fill me with joy in your presence. In other words, joy is found in God's presence--not His presents! Therefore, evaluate your life to make sure that you're seeking God, not just His gifts.

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