Dear God, there are several aspects to our lives as we work out our faith with fear and trembling. Time in scripture and prayer. Laying our sin before God and repenting. Serving others. Sharing our resources (time, talent, and treasure). I read this blog post this morning while I was still lying in bed. In the end, it made the point that when we hold back from you it starts to stink up our lives a bit: “Sometimes people wrestle with how much is enough and my answer is not ‘give until it hurts’ but give until the smell goes away. Give until you cannot detect anything dead in your life coming from a decision to hold back.” I think that statement not only applies to our money, but also to the other areas I mentioned above (and I’m sure there are some areas that I missed).
I’ve told you before that one of my favorite passages is Galatians 5:22-23, a.k.a. The Fruits of the Spirit. From memory they are love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, and self control—against such things there is no law. I’ve also told you that I can fake most of these and make people think I have your fruit. I can fake love. I can fake joy. I can fake patience, gentleness, kindness, and self-control. I can will myself to do all of these things. What I can’t fake is peace. I think peace, or lack thereof, is the “smell” Fred is talking about here. I can always tell if there is something I’m not doing well if I an not experiencing your peace.
There have been times in my life when I have gone through difficult trials. Sometimes in those trials, I did not feel peace, but sometimes I did. What was the difference? Was it the circumstance? Had it changed? No, it was that I had gotten myself aligned with the Holy Spirit, and not only was I able to exhibit love, joy, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, and self-control, but I was also able to experience peace.
Father, help me to stay in the center of your will. Help my children to seek you and your will. Help me to husband my wife the way you need me to. Help me to know how to love my extended relatives, friends, and community in the way you need me to. Increase in my life and help me to decrease. Be glorified in me so that all around me will be drawn to you through the fruits of the Spirit that flow from me.
In Jesus’ name I pray,