A dear sister in the Lord recently brought a subject to this author’s attention that he had never really pondered before. It was on the subject of the “virtue” of Christ. The relevant scripture was Luke 8:43-48 …
“And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.”
“And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that VIRTUE is GONE OUT of me.”
“And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.”
“And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”
Notice she didn’t try to touch Peter’s garment. She had already reached out to many physicians (i.e. man); but, was “none the better, but rather the worse”. Now she was reaching out to Jesus. Her “faith” in Him was strong as she struggled through the crowd. And when her faith made physical contact with Christ, the “virtue” of Jesus flowed into her … and Jesus perceived it!
In other words, her FAITH and his VIRTUE met and “kissed” each other … and that personal interaction between the two of them made her WHOLE!
So, we need to consider exactly what “virtue” is as far as Christians are concerned.
First of all, it can’t be earned. No amount of self-sacrifice will move God to impart virtue unto anyone.
It can only be received by “touching” Christ through faith! It’s a “by-product” (if you will) of allowing the Spirit of Christ to abide in us and we in Him.
It’s a lot like love:
“…though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1Corinthians 13:3)
It can only be obtained by abiding in Christ on a day-to-day basis.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Ahhh … we need to be “FRUIT-BEARERS”.
The thing about fruit is it’s absolutely EXTERNAL … not INTERNAL. Fruit is not meant for the tree … it is meant for those who are passing by who need to partake of its goodness and be satisfied!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
There it is!
The perfect definition of the “virtue of Christ”!
Jesus was the physical manifestation of all of those qualities of virtue … and He is working within US every single moment to walk in HIS IMAGE!
Now let’s go back to the woman who touched the hem of His garment. The Tree of Life was literally standing in the midst of the crowd … but none of the crowd were partaking of the Tree. They were touching Him physically … but not spiritually.
So, here comes a HUNGRY soul in desperate need of healing! But she was not coming empty-handed. She was full of FAITH! Because of this, when she touched the spiritual aspect of the Tree of Life, she INSTANTLY partook of His FRUIT!
Taking this example to heart, we are called to abide in the Tree of Life for the very same reason:
That others might partake of OUR fruit!
We obtain this fruit by a simple admonition of the Word of God:
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
It’s the “walking” that trips most Christians up.
Someone offends them and they immediately lash out in self-defense … no “longsuffering” there!
A Christian finds himself in an insufferable circumstance and immediately starts to get angry with God and begins to question Him over His faithfulness … no “patience” there!
Another Christian is blessed by God with a multitude of finances and then raises his standard of living accordingly and begins to indulge in all sorts of earthly delights instead of being content with what things he already has … no “temperance” there!
And we could go on!
As our Lord gives us OPPORTUNITY to be faced with these everyday challenges of the flesh, we can CHOOSE to be gentle instead of forcing our will upon someone; we can CHOOSE to be kind and loving towards those who have wronged us; we can CHOOSE to abide in the peace of the Holy Ghost when all around us are panicking.
In other words, we don’t HAVE to follow the Lord in all of these things … we GET to!
If we make use of these “opportunities”, then we begin to abide in the Tree of Life … and then the fruits of the Spirit will begin to MATURE within us until our vessels become so FULL of the virtuous healing oil of Christ, that it will freely flow through us to “make whole” all those who desire and need a touch from God through faith!
That is the depth of meaning behind the scripture which states:
“And they that are Christ’s have CRUCIFIED the FLESH with the affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:24)
Every time we obey Christ’s Word concerning these things, we abide more deeply within the Tree of Life and our fruit increases … with the end result being:
That virtue will no longer be something we desire to possess within ourselves, but it will actually define and manifest itself to the world by WHO WE ARE!
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