Those who accept of Christ's teachings and follow him in entire consecration of every power and talent to God's service, become infused with the same desire to do the will of their Father in heaven. These have the same mind as Jesus—a mind, or will, to sacrifice self in the carrying out of God's plans—a spirit, or mind, dead to the praises and scoffs, the hopes and fears of the world, but alive and active to the heavenly smiles or frowns, prizes or losses.
The spirit or mind of Christ thus received, bears fruit in every action, word and thought; some of which are mentioned by Paul—love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, patience, godliness (God-like-ness).
These graces, these fruits grow gradually—the rapidity of the growth depending upon the nature of the soil, the purity of the seed, (example followed) and the amount of moisture and sunlight of truth (the Word) with which the ground and seed are supplied.
If we would have increase of the spirit of Christ and bear much fruit, how important that we be particular to have pure seed—following only our Master—and that we keep out from the shadow and shelter of all human creeds and let the sunlight of heaven and the refreshing dew of truth into our hearts, by lifting them to heaven for these, as do the flowers for the natural. Such shall receive from the heavenly store—the Word.
This continual and increasing growth of the fruits is not only expressed by Jesus as above, but the Apostles urge the "increase of the fruits of your righteousness," and that we be "filled with the fruits of righteousness." (2 Cor. 9:10; Phil. 1:11.)
As it is natural for a good tree to bring forth good fruits; so all who have received really of the spirit of Christ will ultimately show it. It was Jesus who said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."
Christianity is much misunderstood to-day, and many that bear thistles are members of the nominal Church and thus pretend to be members of the "true Vine"; but by their fruits ye shall know them. "If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Rom. 8:9.) This is a searching test for all; let us each apply it to ourselves. Do I, as Jesus, "do not mine own will," but God's? Do I seek to please not myself, nor my fellows, but God only? Do I present myself daily and hourly a living sacrifice, for right and truth, and in just the way God's Word (not my feeling) directs? If so, this is Christ in me, and is a good basis for the "hope of glory" promised to those who walk in his footprints.
This spirit of Christ—or renewed mind—is the anointing which ye have received, and it is an evidence to you and to others that your consecration is complete; that you are begotten to the higher (divine) nature which God has promised to those who so walk in the Spirit; that you are members of the Christ (the anointed body, of which Jesus is the head).
So, then, Christ is manifest in your mortal body. (2 Cor. 4:11.) When the world sees you it sees a member of the Christ, not in glory, but in the flesh; and in us as in our Head, only to a less degree, it is still true—God is manifest in the flesh. (1 Tim. 3:16.)
Thus, for "me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). In this sense, Christ in the flesh is still in the world as its teacher and reprover—illustrating the word and love of God. All the body following the Leader have been "despised and rejected of men." There is no beauty in any of them that they should be desired of the world. Soon, when manifested with the Head, as the agency for blessing the world, they will desire them. They desire deliverance from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of sons of God, and will soon come to know him whom, for 1800 years, they ignorantly rejected, thinking him weak and powerless. Then, "The Desire of all nations shall come" into power and glory for their deliverance.
During all the ages we find it true, and an evidence that we are in the Leader's footsteps, that the world loveth us not. Jesus said, "Marvel not if the world hate you: ye know that it hated me before it hated you." "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own." "In the world ye shall have tribulation." And "Whosoever will live godly shall suffer persecution."
Any who think they are being carried to glory on "flowery beds of ease," should awake to the fact that our Master trod the narrow, thorny way. Now is not the time to glory in ease in the lap of the world, but a time to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ."