Last night I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. It was around 1:30-2:00 in the morning, before I finally got to sleep. I just had a lot of things on my mind, things of the past and the present.
I find on these nights....God always speaks to me. It's as if He is waiting for it to finally be quiet enough that I will be ready to listen. Anyhow, as I was fretting about things that I cannot change, or fretting about things that I will not be able to change if they happen, I began thinking about my reactions to things that happen in my life. The Bible says that we as Christians are to walk in the Spirit. What exactly does that mean? Well, my interperatation of that is this. Galations 5:22-24, 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.
Walking in the Spirit is something that we are always to do, despite the circumstances. The evidence that we are walking in the Spirit lie in these nine attributes, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. God reminded me last night that even when things seem bleak and difficult, I don't have an excuse to walk outside of the Spirit. I don't have the right to be mean to someone, simply because I'm frustrated with the circumstances. I don't have the right to yell at my kids, and be crabby with them, just because I am angry about something that is happening in my life. I still need to exercise joy, and patience, and kindness, gentleness and self-control. It's easy to make excuses, but if we are truly Christians, the call to walk in the Spirit does not change no matter what is going on in our lives. I tend to think too, that it is during these times that these fruits should shine the most. It is these difficulties in life, that help to build these qualities in our lives.
Now, I also recognize that God, in His pure love for us, shows us undying patience and mercy when we fail to walk in the Spirit. He is always working on us, and teaching us. He knows we won't be perfect. He knows that our sinful nature will sometimes get in our way. But....that, my dear friends, does not excuse us. We all know that when the World looks at us...they should be seeing a reflection of Christ. I would add to that also that when our children look at us, they should see a reflection of Christ. Do we walk in the Spirit when we deal with our children, even when we are tired, frustrated, or even angry? God revealed to me last night, that over the course of the last several months, I have not done a very good job of this! I have too often lost my cool, or been impatient, or allowed myself to get angry. Now, by many people's standards, I haven't done anything wrong. I've certainly never been abusive to my kids, or mean to them, or done anything to them that would traumatize them. But, I know, and God knows, that I have not walked in the Spirit with my children the way that I should.
When God was showing me this, and I was repenting...I asked Him.....how can I walk in your Spirit when somedays I just feel overwhelmed, or frustrated, or even angry at life? He showed me the answer, in His Word... Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Just give it all to me, He says. I felt a little foolish, because I've known this verse practically my whole life, but it really is that simple. When I'm feeling angry about the outcome of something...I need to give it to Him. When I'm feeling sad about something...I need to give it to Him. When I want to see justice...give it to Him. He really is big enough to handle it, and then I don't have to bear the burden. And then, when I've given it to Him, and I've thanked Him for all the many blessings He has given me....that is where the peace comes in. This is the peace that guards my heart, and keeps me walking in the Spirit. If you have peace, you are going to be loving, gentle, kind, joyous, peaceful, faithful, and self-controlled. That is why it is so much easier to walk with these fruits of the Spirit during good times in your life, because you are naturally calm and peaceful during times of blessing. But, when the storms blow, and the waves start crashing in.....we need to reach out to Him. This is the same Jesus who spoke and the storm calmed. How can we be anxious when we have Him walking next to us. It's when we don't reach out, that we sink. Much like Peter....to take our eyes off of him, even for a second, will cause us to sink!
As tired as I am today, I'm so grateful that God loved me enough to keep me awake last night so that He could remind me of this!
Join me today in asking God to heal my Dad, and our dear friend Lenore. My dad will find out on Friday what the next step will be for him. Lenore continues to have good days and bad days. She is still in the ICU, and has been there for 5 weeks. Also join Megan for more In His Word Wednesday!