The Trumpet Sounds: ‘Wholly living?’


Last week we talked about the fact that there are so many different ideas today that churches & Christians in America use to measure spiritual success, growth, and spiritual maturity! Things like, how many people are sitting in the seats. Things like how much money is donated each week. Things like how much people like what the church is doing, and the style of how they’re doing it. I personally believe the church in America is far away from what Jesus wanted His church to be. So there’s all these different ideas, over 32,000 denominations within Christianity globally, and more measuring systems with more popping up all the time. However, Jesus never used any of these as HIS MEASURING STICK for spiritual success, growth, and spiritual maturity.

Jesus measured spiritual success, growth, and spiritual maturity by “fruit.” Jesus even stated in Matthew 7:19 that “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” We seldom hear much said about this passage from most ministries today because it’s no longer culturally “popular.” We must understand that Jesus passed on His teachings to His apostles and they passed on His teachings to us. Yet still the question remains, “What measuring system should we use for spiritual success, growth, and spiritual maturity?”

I believe the Apostle Paul answered that question in many places but specifically in Galatians 5:22 when he revealed to us what we call “The fruit of the Spirit.” Last week we talked about the foundation of this measuring system which is “agape” or unconditional love. If you don’t have unconditional love you have nothing. If you can’t love unconditionally, it’s impossible to develop as a Christian or as a Church at all. We must understand that the “Fruit of The Spirit” is like a house. You cannot build a house without the foundation, love is the foundation, and each board is built upon one another.

Rejoice today that God wants us to experience a life of “wholly living” and that can only happen when we mature and become like Christ. This is the “abundant life” Jesus spoke about. This Sunday at South Side we are going to unpack joy and peace. We live in a world that needs love, joy, and peace desperately. However, we cannot give something away we do not have. I want you to understand that there is a huge difference between joy and happiness. Happiness occurs based on conditions. For example: Meeting someone we really like. Getting that ring or bass boat. Getting that new job. Going on vacation and escaping your life that you love so much on social media. Recovering from sickness. Not getting COVID-19 or recovering from COVID-19. It’s based on circumstance! However, the joy that God offers is never based on what is being done to you, but what God is doing in you!

Joy is not happiness, and it’s not based on circumstances. Joy is deeper than that. Joy comes from knowing no matter what God is in control of your life. God has your future in His hands. God has your best interests at heart, and you can live life joyfully regardless of the circumstances; regardless of what happens. Once love and joy develops in your life then you will experience peace. They are the first trio of the true measuring system that God gave us for spiritual success, growth, and spiritual maturity. I guess the greatest question for you today is how are you doing on the first three? What measuring system are you using for yourself and your church?

This Sunday at South Side we will unpack our second week of our series entitled “Wholly Living” where we take a deeper look at “The Fruit of The Spirit.” Our onsite worship begins at 10:15, and our Children’s Ministry offers children’s classes for all ages. We are continuing to practice social distancing at our services. If you are unable to attend our online services will be available at 3 on Facebook and our website. If you would like to give generously just text the word “help” to: 84321 and follow the simple instructions. We would love to have you and your family worship with us! For more information visit us on our website at: or on Facebook.

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Pastor

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Writer

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