Do you find you go through a passage of scripture or a devotional that you thought you’d learned and mastered before, but it hits you in that moment that a refresher is needed?
To be honest, the past couple of months have been terribly busy and as I was reading through old posts and devotionals, hoping that one might be able to fit in this format, I found this. More than it being an easy way to post for For Freedom International, it’s been a reminder that old lessons are still relevant.
The post begins with, “the last few weeks I realized I am terrible at keeping commitments and spending time with friends. I kept canceling and forgetting, and essentially not caring.”
Ouch! I actually winced here. Because I have been pretty awful at forgetting commitments lately, and partially selfishly hoping some of those commitments will just disappear. I blame my mood on the dreary weather we’ve been having in Calgary lately, and on how ‘busy’ I am, but I’ve just let things slide. I haven’t held myself accountable.
Oh thank goodness we have a God who loves us more than to let us stay where we’re at.
So maybe, like me, you’ve been feeling a bit down and disappointed in yourself. Maybe the Fruit of the Spirit is not so evident in your life lately. Maybe we can re-learn along together.
It was as if I had forgotten how to be loving and how to have joy.
When I was reaching the realization that I am completely messed up (not knowing how to love or how to be joyful in anything), I was reading a magazine my cousins started producing a few years ago, and this article my cousin wrote hit me square in the face because this is exactly where I’ve been for the last few years. I have been so wrapped up in how I look and who I am in myself, looking at my ‘dress’ and the audience, but not really ever looking at God and noticing what He’s done in me. My cousin described it as Me-Syndrome or Selfianity, with an obsession of my life – the ups and downs, being obsessed with failures and progress, my plans and problems and so on. It’s all been about me.
After reading this, I realized this is where I’m at and the opposite of all of this crazy, selfish, unbalanced thinking is the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5: 16-26 says, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness and orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness’ faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” NIV
Colossians 3: 12-17 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body we are called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” NIV
1 Corinthians 13 4:7 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” NIV
To close this off, I want to enclose a portion of a journal entry/prayer from a few years ago.
“I’m grateful for the numerous experiences I’ve had that I can share. And I am most grateful that while most people are still out there looking out for number one and not bothering to ask, listen or be patient enough to hear people’s stories, You are. Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes I forget that You listen and You care. I just think that You know everything already so it doesn’t really matter [whether I tell you something or not]. But You care so much because You know that I need someone to listen.
I rant a lot, and I get upset easily and often. It isn’t easy listening to someone complaining about the same things over and over – at least for me. Therefore I am extremely grateful for even this small thing. Never mind that You died for me – that is love on an extremely different level that leaves me in awe. The fact that You listen when no one else does – not even me! is amazing.”
After reading this old post, the practical-ness of first realizing that I’ve messed up is important. Now it’s time to start taking action with God leading.