The question that I need to ask myself is, when someone looks at me who do they see, friend or enemy, and what have I done to cause that response as I need to continue to be willing and open to assessment.
The Following is an item by Bert Thompson.
Identifying the enemy…..good fruit or bad?
In the jungles of Viet-nam the American soldier had a particularly insidious problem, “identifying the enemy.” The problem was the Viet-cong, a guerilla fighting group, would come out at night wearing black pajamas and carrying ak-47 and attacking American fire bases. Then when the morning light came, these same Viet-cong would slid off into the night and don civilian clothes and blend into the civilian population, looking like any villager. These tactics frustrated American soldiers to no end since; they could never identify the enemy, to fight him. The American command never understood the kind of enemy they were fighting. You just never knew who your enemy was.
In the body of Christ (the church) today we have the same problem, identifying the enemy. They come out and “snip” at us, attacking us, and then fading back into the landscape of the church. They look just like the church (civilian population) they even talk like the civilian (church) population. At night, they sow discord and strife like landmines and when any one steps on them they are maimed and or killed. They spread rumors amidst the population that it is the “other” group who is the enemy, who are sowing all this discord. Like the witchcraft trials in Salem some 380 yrs ago, the real witches are pointing out innocent victims and calling them witches. It would be hard to identify them except God has left his church a way to tell the sheep from the goats, “fruit” Jesus said: you shall know them by their “fruits” “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Matt. 7:20, note, he did not say by their works or by their titles, but fruits.
See Gal 5:22 the fruits are, Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. If one is sowing discord, strife, accusations, they are augmentative, and contentious, well it’s easy to see, these are the Opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. The 3 first fruits in a person’s life that is resting in God’s love by the Spirit are Love, are they walking in love or strife and contention? Peace, do they have a peaceful spirit about them or does their walking into the room cause everyone to be on edge, never knowing who they will attack next, or what will be said. Joy do they have Joy, is their focus Jesus and all he has done for them and do you see Joy in their relationship with God or something else. Or do they take the focus of Jesus and put it on some supposed heresy they suspect someone off. Watch out for finger pointers. We have something the American soldier in Vet-nam did not, a way to identify the enemy, fruit.
Also: accusations and gossip are NOT a fruit of the spirit, this is the fruit of the enemy Satan, he is called “the accuser of the brethren” accusations are a tactic of the enemy not God. God has redeemed us from sin, we now may live and walk IN His presence and in his presence is Joy and pleasures for ever more. Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. so the next time you observe someone attacking another brother or sister ask yourself this. Is this a tactic of the enemy? Would Jesus who died for this person speak to them like that?