‘Causal’ Associations [v205]

MARCH 2016

‘Causal’ Associations

“Causality” is a ‘big’ word that describes the simple concept of “cause and effect”—where, in a relationship between two variables, the first variable ‘affects’ the second variable in a ‘synchronized’ manner. A “positive” causality is where, if one variable increases, the other one also increases, and if one decreases, the other also decreases. [ FYI: A “negative” causality is where if one variable increases, the other one decreases ].

Some causes are one way or ‘directional’ (“a” affects “b”; “b” doesn’t affect “a”). An example might be: “It has been raining a lot, so umbrella sales have increased.” Conversely, an increase in umbrella sales doesn’t necessarily increase how much it rains (and the increase might actually be because it’s been much more sunny, and people are using the umbrellas for ‘shading’ themselves).

However, some associations have a ‘reciprocal’ relationship (“a affects “b” and “b” does affect “a”). An example could be: “The price of a product decreases, and the demand increases. The demand decreases, and the price increases” (a very ‘simple’ “supply and demand” example).

 

Well, all this to say that I have ‘noticed’ that there might be an ‘association’ between the topics I have been discussing for the past few months.

Two months ago I discussed “THE BEATITUDES” [ https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-blessed-life-v203/ ], and just last month I talked about a ‘special portion’ the apostle Paul’s teaching to the Galatian church that is referred to as the “FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT” [ https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-fruitful-life-v204/ ].

Since these are two very ‘substantial’ teachings for living the Christian life, I wondered if there is any ‘connection’ between them. Since the apostle Paul is sometimes considered an “expositor” (trying to ‘clarify’ the teachings of Jesus), there just might be some ‘ASSOCIATION’ here.

 

It so happens that there are nine “Beatitudes” (there are nine “Blessed’s”), and there are nine “Fruit Of The Spirit.” Is this a coincidence?

Well, it seems to me that if a Christian is honestly trying to ‘achieve’ the character quality that Jesus is stating in the Beatitudes—that we desire to ‘acquire’—then there might be something more that we can expect to be blessed with than just what is mentioned in that particular Beatitude. (i.e. If one “mourns” then they will be “comforted”).

 

As I mentioned in the previous ‘posts’, the “Beatitudes” have to do with the ‘qualities’ of one’s heart, whereas the “Fruit Of The Spirit” deals with the ‘actions’ one does when they are guided by the Holy Spirit. In a different context, Jesus mentions that “out of the heart of men (from ‘within’), proceeds thoughts” (‘actions’), so it would just depend on whether or not the apostle Paul was trying to clarify Jesus’ ‘hard’ teachings of the Sermon on the Mount.

In addition to this, I also wondered if there is a ‘reciprocal’ relationship between them (i.e. When one emphasizes the Beatitudes, does that affect the ‘fruit’ they produce, and when one increases their focus on one of the Fruit of the Spirit, does that affect their inner attitude of the Beatitude associated with that ‘fruit’?).

 

Matching them up side-by-side (in the same order they appear in Scripture), here’s how they correspond to each other:

THE BEATITUDES         FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

POOR IN SPIRIT…………. Love
MOURNING………………. Joy
MEEKNESS……………….. Peace
RIGHTEOUSNESS……….. Patience
MERCIFUL……………….. Kindness
PURE IN HEART…………. Goodness
PEACEMAKER……………. Faithfulness
PERSECUTED…………….. Gentleness
INSULTED………………… Self-control

 

When you look at the above ‘pairings’, you might be inclined to say, “I don’t see any correspondence. The first one starts with ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’ and the associated Fruit of the Spirit is ‘love.’” Well, I have found, time and time again, that when there is a ‘difficulty’ about understanding precisely the meaning of what Jesus said, you can find somewhere in the teachings of the apostle Paul the matter clearly explained. So, he’s not going to just ‘reframe’ the Beatitudes, he’s going to ‘describe’ their intent.

Also, since these two lists are ‘distinct’ from each other in the Bible, their emphasis will be different. Jesus is talking about the ‘inward’ thoughts in the Beatitudes, and Paul is explaining what the ‘consequences’ would be of those certain thoughts of the Fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, you would not expect the two lists to correspond exactly, since one is speaking about what you think (concerned with your inner attitude), whereas Paul is talking about what happens when these thoughts bear ‘fruit’ in action (when the thoughts become works of the ‘flesh’). In addition to that, elsewhere in the Bible, the concept of works of the ‘flesh’ (sinful nature) are mentioned to be the consequences of the thoughts of the ‘heart’ (Mark 7:21-23; Galatians 5:16-17; James 1:14; Romans 7:18; Jeremiah 17:9; Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:22; Romans 13:13-14).

All this being said, it seems to me that it is possible that Paul is actually trying to explain what Jesus said in the Beatitudes. Jesus does not emphasize the aspect of works of the flesh or fruit of the Spirit for one very simple reason: He knows if you have these thoughts—these thoughts which He described as “blessed”—then you will have the Fruit of the Spirit. You cannot do these things yourself—it is something the Spirit does ‘in’ you. You cannot ‘produce’ the fruit. By ‘definition’ they are ‘of’ the Spirit. So, having spoken the first part, the second part will follow—and Paul, as a commentator, has the task of explaining explicitly what actions would be a ‘consequence’ of these inner thoughts.

 

Now, let me go beyond what our first impression might tells us, and ‘compare’ them to see whether or not my observation is valid.

 

“POOR IN SPIRIT” and “LOVE”

The first Beatitude states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven,” and the first Fruit of the Spirit is “Love.”

“Poor in spirit” means to be humble, and devoid of pride. Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come from the grace of God, bringing one an inner peace that allows one to do the will of God.These people keenly feel their inadequacies. unworthiness, and helplessness without God’s grace. They don’t try to hide these things under a ‘cloak’ of self-sufficiency, but are honest and grieved about them—driving them into the ‘arms’ of God.

Those who are “poor in spirit” acknowledge their spiritual ‘bankruptcy’ before God with a sense of utter dependence, and know that they deserve nothing but the judgment of God, are given the “Kingdom of God.” When you confess that you have nothing to offer, nothing in yourself that would change your situation, you come to God like a ‘spiritual beggar’—wanting God to have ‘pity’ on you.

So then, when you have this kind of ‘attitude’, do you know what God will do? Well, He will ‘pour forth’ His LOVE upon you! The apostle Paul says, “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” [ Romans 5:5 ]. Paul is speaking from experience—and he is saying that if you come to God as a ‘spiritual beggar’, you will experience God’s LOVE.

 

“MOURNING” and “JOY”

The second Beatitude states, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,” and the second Fruit of the Spirit is “Joy.”

The proper reaction upon realizing one’s spiritual bankruptcy is to depend on God’s mercy and grace. God demands that sin be recognized, mourned, and repented of.

If we are humble and appreciate that all of our gifts and blessings come from God, we grow in love and gratitude, and produce mourning and regret over our own sins.

What happens to those who mourn over their own sins, who mourn over the sins of other people, and who mourn over the sins of the church? (just as Ezra and Nehemiah mourned over the sins of Israel). Well, when Ezra said, “Lord, we have sinned. We, your people Israel, have sinned wretchedly. Have pity upon us” (Nehemiah 8:9), what happened? Well, God ‘poured forth’ His forgiveness and they all celebrated with joy. “Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them” [ Nehemiah 8:12 ]. So, when you mourn over sin, God will fill you with JOY.

That is also exactly what the ‘parallel’ passage to the second Beatitude says. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh” (Luke 6:21)—or, said another way, to be filled with JOY.

 

“MEEKNESS” and “PEACE”

The third Beatitude states, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” and the third Fruit of the Spirit is “Peace.”

A meek person is one with an inner temperament that is gracious, strong, balanced, and under control. They are not quick to take ‘offense’ at others, being very patient with them—since they realize God has been very patient with them!

What do you think would happen if you come before God in meekness, humility, and with a contrite heart? Well, God will fill you with His PEACE—a peace that you have never experienced before. That is just what Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” [ Matthew 11:28-29 ]. If you come to Jesus in ‘meekness’ He will give you PEACE for your soul!

As we continue to become more ‘meek’ and permit God to fight our ‘battles’ for us, PEACE will ‘rule’ in our hearts!

 

“RIGHTEOUSNESS” and “PATIENCE”

The fourth Beatitude states, “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled,” and the fourth Fruit of the Spirit is “Patience.”

The righteous have a strong desire to please God, to do His will, and be ‘right’ with Him—because they know that “Righteousness is the road to life and the path to immortality” [ Proverbs 12:28 ]. So, to them, it’s the only way to live, and it’s the only way to Heaven.

Biblically, righteousness means “to be made right with God”—and righteousness is given to a person when they ‘believe’ in Jesus. At that point they will understand they are a sinner separated from God, they become broken in spirit, mournful, and meek, they then want to be restored to a right relationship to God and be forgiven—desiring to be freed from ‘self’ and sin’s power.

First off, in the Greek, this is the ‘present continuous’ tense—meaning that one keeps on hungering and thirsting for spiritual ‘food’ continually. So, what happens to you when you do that? Well, God promises to give the ‘victory’ to those who persevere: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” [ James 1:12 ]. (Also: Luke 21:19; Colossians 1:1-12; Revelation 2:10).

The thing is, endurance and perseverance are just other terms for PATIENCE.

 

“MERCIFUL” and “KINDNESS”

The fifth Beatitude states, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” and the fifth Fruit of the Spirit is “Kindness.”

Mercy comes from a heart that has first felt its spiritual ‘bankruptcy’, has come to grief over its sin, has learned to wait meekly for the timing of the Lord, and has hungered for the work of God’s mercy to satisfy them with the righteousness they need.

The key to becoming a merciful person is to become a ‘broken’ person. You get the power to show mercy from the real feeling in your heart that our mercy to each other comes from God’s mercy to us.

These two words are so close in meaning that there is hardly a need for drawing an association. In fact the words ‘merciful’ and ‘kindness’ are constantly ‘linked’ in the New Testament. “When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy” [ Titus 3:4-5 ].

One is simply the consequence of the other. These are constantly ‘linked’ to each other in the Bible. When one is merciful, one has KINDNESS.

 

“PURE IN HEART” and “GOODNESS”

The sixth Beatitude states, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” and the sixth Fruit of the Spirit is “Goodness.”

Purity of heart comes after you’ve hungered and thirsted for righteousness and after God has dispensed His mercy upon you. It is His mercy that cleanses your evil heart. Purity is not something that you earn—it comes from God’s mercy.

The term “heart,” when used in the Bible, relates to ones ‘will’—the seat of a person’s personality. Predominantly it refers to the thinking processes—not the emotions, but our choices. So, a “pure heart” means that the decisions one makes, the desires one has, and the thoughts and intensions of the will are all untarnished by sin, and that it is that person’s will to be pleasing to God. From a pure heart comes only good things—acts of love, mercy, grace, and desires for righteousness, justice, and peace—decisions that please God.

The connection between ‘pure’ and ‘good’ is quite explicit in Scripture, where the two words are many times found side by side: “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” [ 1 Timothy 1:5 ]. If we are to obey God’s command to love, our heart must be pure and we must maintain a clear and good conscience. A good conscience is just another way to say GOODNESS. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit [GOODNESS], impartial and sincere” [ James 3:17 ]. Pure and good are simply synonymous terms.

 

“PEACEMAKER” and “FAITHFULNESS”

The seventh Beatitude states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,” and the seventh Fruit of the Spirit is “Faithfulness.”

Some people think peace is the absence of conflict. But peace is more than that—there is no ‘strife’ in a cemetery, but that’s not a ‘model’ of peace. God sees peace not as the absence of conflict, but the presence of righteousness. Righteousness will bring about right relationships. Peace is not just stopping a war. It’s the impartation of righteousness that brings two parties together in love. God’s peacemakers don’t just stop wars—they replace what causes the war with the righteousness of God. True peace is when conflict is resolved and the parties become friends.

God’s wisdom attains peace through purity. Peace is never established at the expense of righteousness. Peace and righteousness are inextricably interlinked—they can’t be divorced from each other. Psalm 85:10 says, “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” True peace is always accompanied by righteousness and purity.

Jesus was ‘faithful’ to what God the Father wanted by going to the cross—so that there would be ‘peace’ between humans and God the Father. So, in order for us to be a peacemaker, we must first reconcile ourselves to God.

Why does Jesus call us to “take up your cross”? Well, so that we follow Jesus in His footsteps, reconciling man to man and man to God. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. We have been reconciled to God through Jesus and we are now given the ministry of reconciliation. The disciple who does the work that Jesus did, being a peacemaker, expresses his faithfulness towards his Master” [ 2 Corinthians 5:18 ].

The peacemaker is someone who can be described as faithful because such a person is one who is walking FAITHFULLY in the footsteps of Jesus to be an ‘ambassador’ for peace.

 

“PERSECUTED” and “GENTLENESS”

The eighth Beatitude states, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven,” and the eighth Fruit of the Spirit is “Gentleness.”

The Christian, telling others about Jesus, stirs up strife—and that is what causes them to be persecuted. Godliness generates antagonism. That doesn’t mean we should strive to make enemies, but we shouldn’t be surprised when we do. A godless, angry, sinful world will react when confronted righteousness. By acting like ‘salt’ in the world wounded by sin (Matthew 5:13) we will get a ‘reaction’—salt in a wound stings!

So, when people criticize you for believing in Jesus—call you names, insult you, ridicule you, and lie about you—trying to dishonor you—don’t take the ‘bait’. Refuse to retaliate, and entrust yourself to God—who judges justly. “Never pay back evil with more evil…If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Never avenge yourself—leave that to God, who said, “I’ll be the judge and I’ll take care of it.” [ Romans 12:17-19 ].

Jesus was abused, ridiculed, and laughed at, but He did not retaliate in any way. He was gentle and meek. He didn’t behave in an aggressive manner or ‘strike back’.

How should a Christian behave when they are persecuted for righteousness’ sake? Strike back? Get even? No! Their attitude should be one of GENTLENESS.

We can all smile when times are good, but what we really are will appear when times are hard. Where can we see the true GENTLENESS of a person—their true character? It will be under persecution.

 

“INSULTED” and “SELF-CONTROL”

The ninth Beatitude states, “Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake,” and the ninth Fruit of the Spirit is “Self-control.”

When false stories and lies are being told about you, and people are seeking to ruin your reputation, then our anger arises and we want to strike back—because we feel, “That’s not right! That’s not true! You have not the right to say that about me.” How then should you behave? Well, the apostle Peter tells us how Jesus did: “He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered” (1 Peter 2:23), and as ‘followers’ of Jesus we should desire to ‘emulate’ Him—with SELF-CONTROL.

Any fool can fight back and retaliate, but God says that He will ‘bless’ you when you respond with love. The greatest persecutor of the Church in Jesus’ day, Saul, became the greatest ‘apostle’, Paul, (after he ‘met’ Jesus), and is responsible for over two-thirds of the New Testament—more than any other author—and was persecuted immensely!

Jesus showed how He had the most most SELF-CONTROL of all men: “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open his mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth” [ Isaiah 53:7 ].

Jesus emphasized this by saying, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles” [ Matthew 5:39-40 ].

The apostle Peter also ‘chimed in’ on this: “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love” [ 1 Peter 1:5-7 ].

 

CONCLUSION

Am I ‘stretching’ to get these ‘associations’? Well, that’s up to you to decide. But for me, it seems that there is some ‘interdependence’ between the “Beatitudes” and the “Fruit of the Spirit.”

This may not be ‘Spirit-inspired’ (“thus saith the Lord”), but at the very least I’m hoping that this will help you remember these ‘QUINTESSENTIAL’ TEACHINGS of the Bible for the ‘BLESSED’ Christian life.

The “Sermon on the Mount”—of which the “Beatitudes” is the ‘introduction’ to—has been said, by most, to be the “most important sermon” that Jesus ever ‘preached’, and that the “Fruit of the Spirit” are the most important ‘traits’ that a Christian can demonstrate in their lives.

 

I mentioned that the Beatitudes have to do with the ‘attitudes’ of the heart of the Christian, whereas the Fruit of the Spirit deals with the work of the Holy Spirit in the person who has these ‘qualities’.

If my hypothesis is correct, then for me, it raises another question. If the Beatitudes talk about our ‘inner’ attitudes and if the Fruit of the Spirit deals with what the Holy Spirit does ‘in’ us, does that mean that you have to ‘do’ one in order to ‘get’ the other? If so, then which comes ‘first’ in the life of the Christian? The “Beatitudes” or the “Fruit of the Spirit”?

 

Now, I’m not trying to imply that we have to ‘try’ hard to get the qualities described in the Beatitudes in order to be able to reap the Fruit of the Spirit—that we can ‘work’ for them with human effort. That would be contrary to the gospel of God’s grace. It’s God who enables us to be poor in spirit, meek, thirst and hunger for righteousness, and so on. But, this does highlight the importance of keeping a good ‘balance’ between the grace of God and the responsibility of man.

 

Now, the Sermon on the Mount should not be considered just a collection of ‘ethical’ teachings that tells us how to be good. It is a ‘spiritual’ teaching that deals with the ‘constitution’ of the Kingdom of God.

Ethical teaching tells one how to be good and exhorts one to strive to be good, whereas spiritual teaching is much more than that. It doesn’t just tell you to be good, it tells you to ‘accept’ a new way of life in which you are utterly changed and transformed by God’s ‘influence’ in you.

Spiritual teaching is impossible to fulfill if God’s influence is not at ‘work’ in you—and you will achieve nothing on your own. We must also understand that God’s influence cannot be at work in you without your ‘consent’. God will not force you to be changed if you don’t want to. That is what I mean by having a ‘balanced’ view of the grace of God in relation to the responsibility (will) of man. We don’t suddenly become all merciful on the day we decide to ‘follow’ Jesus. God’s grace is effectual, over time, in a heart that seeks to obey Him. Conversely, a rebellious heart will ‘quench’ the Holy Spirit, and not be ‘transformed’.

 

The Beatitudes describe what every ‘citizen’ of the kingdom of God ought to be in terms of their spiritual qualities—-pressing on whole-heartedly toward that ‘mark’ with constant zeal—a ‘picture’ of the ideal Christian that, by God’s grace, we will become. So, in that sense, we aim for the “be-attitudes” to ‘become’ part of our being.

The thing is, God will show us exactly what we should be pursuing. You see, God’s grace is available for anyone who is willing to ‘accept’ Jesus by faith. But one must have the right attitude. If you refuse to ‘open’ your heart to God, the Holy Spirit cannot ‘empower’ you to become the kind of person that the Jesus speaks about in the Beatitudes. Again, that’s why all of this will only ‘work’ if it is a subject of intensely focused prayer for you.

 

Okay then, which comes first—the Beatitudes or the Fruit of the Spirit?

Well, if we’re trying to determine how one thing would ‘affect’ the other (“cause and effect”), there’s a very ‘popular’ concept for this presented in the Bible. It essentially says that what one “sows,” one “reaps” (plants/harvests).

 

So, let’s return to the letter of Paul to the Galatians, in the chapter after (chapter 6) the Fruit of the Spirit. Paul says that what you ‘reap’ depends on what you ’sow’—and it depends on how one does it. “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” [ Galatians 6:8 ].

Notice it is man who ‘sows’—it’s his responsibility if he wants a ‘harvest’. Paul also adds that “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” [ 2 Corinthians 9:6 ].

 

So then, what would it involve to ‘sow’ to the Spirit? Well, Jesus said that we should ”Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” The verb ‘to strive’ means ‘to labour fervently,’ ‘to exert to the fullest,’ or ‘to endeavor with strenuous zeal.’ Entrance into the Kingdom of God involves this kind of ‘attitude’—a whole-hearted dedication and effort. The emphasis is on the ATTITUDE of the ‘heart’—and that is what the Beatitudes are all about.

As the Fruit of the Spirit is the outward ‘manifestation’ of what God does in us, to get ‘fruit’, you have to sow a ‘seed’—the Beatitudes—then you can ‘reap’ the Fruit of the Spirit. So, if you ‘sow’ the Beatitudes, you will ‘reap’ the Fruit of the Spirit. The Beatitudes come ‘first’.

 

Also, as I mentioned at the beginning of this ‘post’ about “positive causality,” it does seem that these associations are ‘reciprocal’—meaning the more you ‘do’ EITHER of the Beatitudes or the Fruit of the Spirit, it ‘increases’ the other (i.e. the more “poor in spirit” one is the more loving they will be, or if one is more loving they will be more “poor in spirit”).

 

Personally, once I understood the ‘association’ between these teachings, something very wonderful happened—I got the sense that this could be the essential ‘details’ for my ‘living out’ the Christian life. Of course, this is in addition to what Jesus said is the ‘essence’ of the Christian life: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” The thing is, if one ‘is/does’ the Beatitudes and the Fruit of the Spirit, they will inevitably love God more, and be more loving to their ‘neighbor’ (and love is the first and most important Fruit of the Spirit, that ‘coalesces’ the others).

 

But, for this to ‘work’ for you, you must be ‘yielded’ to Jesus as “Lord” of your life if you are to be ‘fruit-bearing’ Christian (A prayer of “reconciliation” is below). As you ‘abide’ in Him, and He abides in you, you shall produce much fruit: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” [ John 15:5 ].

Metaphorically, the concept of ‘fruit’ has been compared, elsewhere in the Bible, to a ‘vine’ and a ‘tree’. You will find that the fruit is something that has come forth from them. It is not ‘inside’ them, it is borne ‘outside’ of them. It becomes the ‘manifestation’ of the life of the vine or the tree. It is something that you can actually take from them without in any way affecting the ‘life’ of them (they will continue to grow and produce more fruit). You cannot take a man’s inner being away from him—his thoughts, his feelings, and his attitude—but you ‘take’ his works, that is, his ‘fruit’ or actions.

 

For me, I think I have found THE “causal association” in the Bible that will help me ‘focus’ on becoming more like Jesus—and I aim to become the kind of person that God will BLESS! I may not be ‘successful’ at doing all of these things all the time in my life, but at least I have a ‘standard’ to assess my progress to being like Jesus by.

 

Might I strongly encourage you to join me in developing the inner ‘attitudes’ the Beatitudes speak of, and putting into ‘action’ the Fruit of the Spirit.

Let’s live life with a ‘cause’—to have a ‘FRUITFUL’ ATTITUDE and to ‘effect’ this world with the LOVE of Jesus!

 

[ Excerpts from: Eric Chang; John Macarthur; Yves I-Bing Cheng; ]

 

[ NOTE: CLICK ON THE LINK to download a nicely formatted ‘PLACARD’ that has the Beatitudes on one side and the Fruit of the Spirit on the other. Each ‘pairing’ also has a few suggested ‘action’ items to help you ‘develop’ them in your life. (Maybe tape it to your bathroom mirror to give you a reminder of what ‘paring’ you want to focus on that day):

http://www.spiritedesign.com/Fruits_Of_The_Beatitudes-Mark_Besh.pdf

 

RECONCILIATION PRAYER TO GOD:
If you would like to ‘give’ your life to Jesus, you can do it right now—right where you are. There’s no magical words to say, you just need to believe in your ‘heart’ that God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, is God in the flesh, rose from the dead, and is alive today—and when He died on the cross, He took your place as your substitute sacrifice for your sins. If you sincerely believe this, then admit you are a sinner, confess your sins, and that you will trust Jesus alone for your salvation, committing your life to His service.

You could say something like the following (in your own words if you would like):

Dear Lord Jesus,
I understand that I am a sinner, and I can’t save myself. I sincerely repent of my sins, and ask You for forgiveness and mercy. I believe that You died on the cross as my substitute, paying my sin debt in full so that I could receive Your forgiveness and have eternal life. I ask You to come into my life right now and become my personal Savior. From this day forward, I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to take control, and guide me be the kind of person you want me to be. Give me a ‘new beginning’, and help me to live for You. Amen.

 

RESOURCES:
—————-
The Only Way To Happiness: The Beatitudes
By: John MacArthur

Jesus’ first recorded sermon in the Bible is a blueprint for being happy here on earth. And though His definition contains no prescriptions for acquiring cars, homes, or savings, it does require transformation and obedience.

Respected pastor and scholar John MacArthur examines Jesus’ timeless definition of happiness and explains that our reward for following Jesus’ plan is citizenship in the kingdom of God—and an abiding joy that can never be taken away.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0802430546/

—————-
Heirs to the King: Living the Beatitudes
By: Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe

“Most people think of the Beatitudes as a collection of idealistic sayings- beautiful to read but impossible to practice. How wrong they are! In fact, the entire Sermon on the Mount is a glorious explanation of what life is really like when you reign through the power of the Holy Spirit,” says Warren Wiersbe. Why wait until we get to heaven to reign? Thanks to Jesus Christ we can do it in this life. This inspiring study of the Beatitudes shows how to reign over ego, power, and appetite. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the believer can live like a king.

http://www.amazon.com/Heirs-King-Dr-Warren-Wiersbe/dp/1572932155/

—————-
Fruit of the Spirit: Cultivating Christ-like Character
By: Stuart Briscoe

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. All of us desire to exhibit these qualities in our lives. But what does it mean to “live by the Spirit”? The fruit of the Spirit is the result of the inner workings of God, but it is also a product of our response and understanding. It comes from obedience as well as dependence.

In this study guide, Stuart Briscoe invites you to study more deeply how believing and behaving affects one another. Using passages from both the Old and New Testament, Briscoe offers us a deeper understanding of the nine fruits of the Spirit in Galatians, giving us encouragement and insight into what it means to live as Christ did.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Fruit-Spirit-Cultivating-Studyguides/dp/0877882584/

—————-
The Fruit of the Spirit: Becoming the Person God Wants You to Be
By: Thomas E. Trask

Nothing Beats the Taste of Fresh Fruit Would you like true fulfillment in your life? Health in your relationships? Victory over anxiety and conflict? You can have them—if you let God’s Spirit grow his fruit in your heart. In The Fruit of the Spirit, Tom Trask and Wayde Goodall take you for a close look at love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit. Here is a passionate and illuminating look at what happens to your thoughts, emotions, and actions when you live each day in intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Drawing from the storehouse of God’s Word, Trask and Goodall sow seeds of insight into your heart that both convict and encourage. They show how you can cooperate with God’s work in your life. And they offer true-life examples of the difference you, too, can make when you let the Holy Spirit reproduce the character of Jesus within you. Your witness for Christ is as good as the fruit your relationship with him produces. The Fruit of the Spirit points you toward a lifestyle that makes the Gospel you proclaim attractive to others because they can see its results.

http://www.amazon.com/Fruit-Spirit-Thomas-E-Trask/dp/0310227879/

—————-
Causality
By: Judea Pearl

Written by one of the preeminent researchers in the field, this book provides a comprehensive exposition of modern analysis of causation. It shows how causality has grown from a nebulous concept into a mathematical theory with significant applications in the fields of statistics, artificial intelligence, economics, philosophy, cognitive science, and the health and social sciences. Judea Pearl presents and unifies the probabilistic, manipulative, counterfactual, and structural approaches to causation and devises simple mathematical tools for studying the relationships between causal connections and statistical associations. The book will open the way for including causal analysis in the standard curricula of statistics, artificial intelligence, business, epidemiology, social sciences, and economics. Anyone who wishes to elucidate meaningful relationships from data, predict effects of actions and policies, assess explanations of reported events, or form theories of causal understanding and causal speech will find this book stimulating and invaluable.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/causality-judea-pearl/1110781030

*****************************
*****************************

 

[P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about producing certain traits in our lives, visit the following link:
http://TheSearchForMeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q11_d5_1of10.html

 

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v205) for MARCH 2016
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

 

*****************************
*****************************
*****************************

THE NUMBER NINE IN THE BIBLE

Traditionally, most Bible scholars agree that some numbers have some ‘symbolic’ or literal significance. Some say that the number nine conveyed “finality” and the “fullness of blessing” when used in the Scriptures.

In the apostle Paul’s writings he had two ‘nine-fold’ lists—the “Fruit of the Spirit” and the “Gifts of the Spirit.”

Jesus used the number nine in a few of His parables [ Leave the 99 sheep to find the lost one; Of the 10 lepers cleansed, only one returned; 9 didn’t return; Jesus was mentioned praying many times the ninth hour; 90% is left to use after one gives their tithe; The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) begins at sunset on the 9th day of the month; The 9 judgements of God in Haggai; Jesus died at the 9th hour ].

*****************************

EXAMPLES OF CAUSE AND EFFECT

– We received seven inches of rain in four hours – The underpass was flooded
– I never brush my teeth – I have 5 cavities
– Smoking cigarettes – Lung cancer
– Many buffalo were killed – Buffalo almost became extinct
– The streets were snow-packed and icy – Cars needed more time to stop
– He broke his arm – The doctor put it in a cast
– The boss was busy – Her secretary took a message
– A basketball player was traveling – The referee called a penalty
– I flipped the light switch on – The light came on

http://examples.yourdictionary.com/cause-and-effect-examples.html

*****************************
A MORE DESIRABLE INTERDEPENDENCE

Interdependence means mutual dependence, reciprocal dependency, or mutual reliance. It happens when two or more people rely on one another for their needs. According to the Bible, the church is an interdependent group of Christians whose need for one another is often greater than we perceive. According to Hebrews, Christians who abstain from fellowshipping with other believers may be in danger of spiritual defeat. Healthy relationships with other Christians are the preventative vitamins that keep our souls healthy. Do you sense your need for other believers? How are you making yourself available to God to help meet the needs of others? Are you spurring one another on to love and good works?

[ Jeffrey E. Miller ]

*****************************
INTERDEPENDENCE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Proper Roles and Relationships within the Church Results in Interdependence.

As children, we seek adventure and fun. Our minds often take us to far away galaxies. A whole afternoon can be spent defending the tree fort from the brutish, cootie infested forces of evil…girls. In adolescence, friends, fashion, and popularity take the place of Luke Skywalker and Flash Gordon. Besides not having enough time, a bathtub quest will kill a cool reputation in a heartbeat.

Long story short. By high school the desire for independence, adulthood and love begin to take root. After graduation, we move onto college to enhance our minds. Idealism and youthful optimism are the motivation and we are ready to be unleashed. We barge through the doors into the “real world” ready to fight the world alone. Little do we know that the world leaves a booby trap that demoralizes and crushes. The banana peel of death, lying in wait right outside.

This is called “livin’ la vida loca” — Living the crazy life. The Bible tell us that the rain falls on the just and unjust alike. Life’s booby traps and hang-ups have the potential to cause one to lose their optimism and even their faith. Life’s problems can also create opportunity and hope.

As a species, humans are social creatures. We desire relationship, love and guidance. As Christians, our desire for a relationship with God is reflected in everyday living. In general, independence is directly related to interdependent relationships. Proper placement of relationships help to achieve interdependence. What is best put in order is God, church, family, pastors and leaders, friends and peers.

God
God is the most important relationship in you life. However, you can only achieve a proper relationship with Him if you choose to accept that all relationships are ordered by Him. For instance, one who neglects his family, quits his job and is outright unreliable because he has to pray all day long may not truly know God.

Church
Get planted in a Church and stay there. I was reading in a Christian forum and I was baffled by the amount of pseudo-biblical advice given to this woman who wasn’t getting “fed” at her church anymore. She was advised by the people on this forum to leave the church and find a place where she can get fed.

Scripture doesn’t tell anybody to be fed. instead we are to be subject to the governing authorities placed in our lives by God. What separates Christianity from all other world religions is that it is not introspective. We do not seek personal enlightenment but we live to serve others. If you are not being fed at your church, it may be time to start feeding others. When you do, you will find your perspective changing in radical ways.

Family
Family should be placed in a position of importance but never take the place of Christ. Guidance from parents, your spouse, your cousins and others must be placed in perspective. Family, even Christian families, have a bias to you and your feelings. Love your family and take their advice. It is usually beneficial, but not always.

Pastors and Leaders
The wisdom of pastors and elders can save a lot of heartache in your life. But one should judge whom they choose to submit to. There are a few questions to ask. Does my pastor seek to lift himself up? Does he preach good doctrine? What is his reputation in the community? I choose to submit to my leadership because the evidence of integrity is there. Often times I am offended at what my pastor says but I do what he says unquestionably because his life is ordered and fruitful.

Friends and Peers
Good friends lend an ear and pray for you. They encourage, promote and are just plain fun to be around. But friends are not pastors. They should be placed in an area close to familial relationships. Advice should be taken but also confirmed by Scripture and by pastors or leaders.

Relationships in our lives are like an ecosystem and can only be sustained by the proper placement of the integral components. As you continue livin la vida loca, remember that we were created to have relationship with God and man. If we love God then we must also love His ways. He has placed order in the universe as well as in our relationship with others.

[ Roberto Perez ]

*****************************
INTERDEPENDENCE: GOD’S PLAN FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST

Nature, families, employment, and even the Trinity members themselves are interdependent.

Mutually dependent; depending on each other. God did not make us to live alone, or to be private creatures. But we are often mistaken in the use of our privacy, using the privacy we have been given to serve the flesh.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

We can use our privacy for selfish reasons, rather than for what it was given for, the right to live our spiritual life before God and for God.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

How do we glorify God in our body? By Gathering together in Hebrews 10:25. By Serving one another.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

By Loving one another.

Why are we told to not commit these sins? Because when we commit these sins we are not living in love! We are hurting another person! But if you have love, you will not want to hurt others.

The 4 laws of divine establishment:
1. Freedom of volition.
2. Marriage
3. Family
4. Nationalism

We have no idea how much greater and more intense it could be.
We have barely touched the surface of what it means to operate as ONE BODY.

Interdependence, relying on and working with others, and God, has a great power associated with it.

And TOGETHER, Pastor and the other pastors studied diligently to reveal a greater purpose of God: that the PURPOSE behind relationships is where the power is.

God designed it so the greater secrets of His Plan are revealed to those who work together as the body of Christ.

The implication: we NEED each other. The eye NEEDS the hand, the head NEEDS the feet.

We have no idea of the great things God wants us to discover, and succeed in, until we really take advantage of one another, and we also decide we need one another.

God designed us to be interdependent, to rely on one another, and to enjoy the service we can give to one another. It is actually selfish for us not to attend church face to face, and to exercise our gift in the presence of the body of Christ.

We are all arrogant of course, and one sign of it is when you resist the compulsion by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 9:16

God is entreating you to share your time, talent, treasure and spiritual gift with those in the body that He has assigned you to.

You will be happily surprised at the way God decides to pay you back!

Regarding your home life, many people say they want to live alone they don’t want a roommate, they like their privacy

Another area we are dependent on each other is friendships. And if we learn to depend on one another, yes at times we will be hurt, but life can be so much easier and more enjoyable!

You can’t do that if you are independent and greedily guarding your privacy.

Another area we are interdependent in Dating Relationships. Right now someone else is dating your right one!

We must have an attitude of caring, an attitude of love. Love is caring, even impersonal unconditional love involves caring.

Galatians 6:9-10 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

It involves being a friend first, acting like a friend, loving like a friend.

We must learn to enjoy interdependence, it is the secret ingredient to releasing the power in the body of Christ.

You can choose to do what’s good, or choose to do what’s better.

It’s good that you listen to Bible doctrine, but it’s better if you come listen face to face. It’s good that you pray for a friend, it’s better if you get off your @(*!! and help your friend.

It’s good that you enjoy the privacy of your priesthood between you and God. It’s better if you put aside your privacy to serve another.

It’s good that you are motivated to serve God because of the rewards He wants to give you. It’s better that you serve God out of the greatest motivation of all, LOVE.

Yes you are serving, giving, studying God’s Word, but is there something better you could be doing, that you are avoiding because you want to stay in your comfort zone?

Ask God to show you the BETTER way, and if you ask Him to, guaranteed He will show you, and reveal some awesome things to you in the process.

[ Robert McLaughlin ]

*****************************
“IF/THEN”

The concept of “casual association” is kind of like the ‘conditional’ thinking software programmers use: “if” this, “then” this (“if/then”).

FYI: There happens to be a really cool app I use that helps you ‘program’ repetitive things for you that you do yourself now. It’s called “If This Then That” (IFTTT): https://ifttt.com/

*****************************
‘CONNECTION’ BETWEEN THE “BEATITUDES” AND THE “LORD’S PRAYER”?

Hmmm…has Jesus, in His supreme wisdom, done something ‘wonderful’ here? Has He taken the Beatitudes (at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount) and turned them into a ‘prayer’—in such a way that it draws out the internal essence of the Beatitudes?

Do you know that when you say, “Our Father” in the “Lord’s Prayer,” you are praying, “Lord, make me to be poor in spirit”—and that you cannot rightfully call God, “Our Father,” without an attitude of poverty of spirit?

Then, you might realize that you need to be “pure in heart” in order to be able to say sincerely, “Hallowed be Your name.” You can say the same thing about every ‘item’ of the Lord’s Prayer.

So, it’s been suggested that every time you pray the “Lord’s Prayer,” you have prayed for the spiritual ‘qualities’ mentioned in the Beatitudes.

THE BEATITUDES        LORD’S PRAYER

POOR IN SPIRIT……… Our Father
MOURNING…………… You Kingdom come
MEEKNESS…………….. You will be done
RIGHTEOUSNESS…….. Give us our daily bread
MERCIFUL……………… Forgive us our debts
PURE IN HEART………. Hallowed be Your name
PEACEMAKER…………. Forgive us our debts
PERSECUTED………….. Lead us not into temptation
INSULTED……………… Deliver us from evil

*****************************
DEEP THOUGHT(s):

“If you ‘sow’ the “Beatitudes,” you will ‘reap’ the “fruit of the Spirit.”
[ Mark Besh ]

“Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends.”
[ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ]

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.”
[ Elizabeth Bibesco ]

“Giving is an act of generosity. Giving is sowing a seed. The seed will produce great harvest of fruits.”
[ Lailah Gifty Akita ]

**********************************************************

I hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
[ 2 Corinthians 9:6 ].

Mark

**********************************************************
Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

·.¸¸.·´¯`·.. ><((((‘>
><((((‘> ·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·..><((((‘> ·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.. ><((((‘>
·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·..><((((‘>
><((((‘> ·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.><((((‘>

3 Responses to “‘Causal’ Associations [v205]”

  1. ‘Poignant’ Reminders | LIFE'S DEEP THOUGHTS Says:

    […] “FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES”: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/causal-associations-v205/ […]

  2. ‘Empowered’ Willpower | LIFE'S DEEP THOUGHTS Says:

    […] OF THE BEATITUDES”: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/causal-associations-v205/ […]

  3. Fruits Of The Beatitudes | Premise | SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION Says:

    […] FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: