For the most part, this strong-arm tactic works. But last night I had this crazy dream. A nightmare, really. And I knew it was my anxiety over “the situation” trying to prove to me who’s boss and who can intrude whenever it very well pleases by showing up unannounced and unwelcome in my dreams.
When I told my husband about the very, scary dream, I recounted it as though it were a horror film! He even recoiled in terror. I may have over dramatized it. Slightly. He sighed heavily and grimaced. Then I sighed heavily (again) and grimaced, too (again).
I almost requested prayer on Facebook! But I’d have to be so vague. And people might worry. And make comments that don’t really apply to “the situation.” And then I might feel bad. And guilty. There’s always the guilt.
So I resisted the urge to raise a virtual hand on Facebook and ask all my friends, acquaintances and friends of friends to whisper a little prayer on my behalf – or a big, giant-sized prayer if they felt so led.
This morning I prayed and asked God to, “Please help me remember that because I belong to You, I have the Fruit of the Spirit.”
Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – these are the virtues characterized in the Bible as fruit. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the churches in the province of Galatia (a north-central region of Asia Minor) to teach them—and us—that we do not have to be led around by the nose by vices such as envy, anger, jealousy and selfishness. Those are just the PG ones! You should read the rest! Paul calls them “works of the flesh.”
Eugene Peterson, in The Message, says these vices (the works of the flesh) lead to the kind of life that “develops out of trying to get your way all the time.”
In contrast, when we give our allegiance over to God to follow Jesus Christ, we are no longer prisoners to those kinds of dead, flesh attitudes and actions. Therefore, I can choose kindness and self-control. I can choose a good attitude over a bad one. With each opportunity I have the option to make a positive choice. I can make a good choice even when my last good nerve snaps before I’ve even downed my first cup of coffee!
Sometimes it’s not a prayer request we need to make; sometimes it’s the discipline of a different response we need to take. (Tweet that.)
But we must be willing. Or at the very least, be willing to be willing. And honestly, sometimes a willingness to be willing is all I can muster.
I’ve learned this about the Fruit of the Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can produce love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That’s His job. But, my job? My job is to yield. To give way and allow the fruit to be produced in my life.
I’m willing. God, help me. I’m willing to make the good choices – though they’re often hard when you find yourself in a “situation.”
Because if, no matter what “the situation,” you and I can keep our fruit from spoiling—swat away the flies and keep away the worms —we win.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV).
What about you? Are you facing a situation in which choosing the good is hard?
Will you pray with me?
Help us in our situations, our difficulties and our challenges. Help us to remember that we have the Holy Spirit within us to produce good fruit in our lives. Give us strength to make the good choice even when it’s hard.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
(Linking to Titus 2 Tuesdays)