“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such, there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26
This week, I was perusing through facebook when I saw post from a friend talking about an argument he had with an acquaintance. He worked for me as a cook at KFC when he was in high school and he was an exemplary employee. He was kind, funny and dependable. I knew that I could count on him to do his job and to go the extra mile. When he friended me on facebook, I was thrilled to be able to catch up on his life. Getting back to the story, he was relating the changes he had made in his life to someone he knew from the past and she pretty much told him that his changes didn’t matter since he was not right with Christ. She told him his life was superficial and the positive moves he was making to turn his life around DID NOT MATTER. On the other hand, this young lady has been down quite a road herself. However, she knows Christ so in her mind she is good to go. He needed to get with the program.
My friends, this was about as bogus to me as one room mom telling another room mom that the cupcakes she made for the class party didn’t matter because she didn’t pay her PTA dues that year. My heart broke for the confusion she left him to face. He was on facebook taking a poll to see if any other hypocrites would step up to the plate. How sad.
It is possible that I was a little sensitive and raw to the situation because I had just received a message from my home church. Due to some indifferences in my heart, we have not attended in a while. I found that my want to go was lukewarm and Jesus makes takes clear stance on a lukewarm heart in the bible. We have made it a point to be in church every week since we decided to break, just not the one we have called home for so many years before. Day to day, I am finding my way back to the basics on my relationship with my Savior.
In this voice message, it was obnoxious to say the least, but subtly suggested that the reason I was missing church was to be able to attend my Sunday BBQ. After that, I was told I needed to go online and listen to the sermon from last week. It was a “must hear” message for our church. Quite frankly, I’m not interested. And I’m a little hurt. You know what hurts the most? I am not the only one who received it. It was a mass message that went out to all the people who have not attended in a while. I ran the Children’s ministry for a number of years. I rarely, if never, missed a Sunday Service. So when I don’t attend, you’re going to accuse me of skipping church for a BBQ? Really?
But forget me, what about everyone else? Would it not be of benefit to find out why they are not attending instead of assuming? Calling people out does nothing more than provoke anger and defensiveness. Nothing good can come of those emotions.
This has been an eye opening week for me. I am so quick to be self righteous that I tend to forget that everyone who surrounds me is dealing with some kind of challenge and pain. The last thing they need is a “Christian” beating them over the head with their Helmet of Salvation and bludgeoning them with the Sword of the Spirit. We are to use those tools against the devil who longs to use any weapon he can to pull the carpet out from underneath of us. Even those people that we love and respect the most.
Galatians 5:13-16 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love to serve one another. For in all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.”
In my mind, it always goes back to the Fruit of the Spirit. When I am off track and need to measure my life, I have to ask myself, “What kind of fruit are you producing?” When “people” in my life see me, do they see Christ too?” Am I taking the time to love people into the kingdom? Am I learning who they are? Where they have come from? Am I earning the priviledge to share the message of salvation with them? We can’t be effective in our Christian walk without love. God created us for relationship. And love is impossible to give as a mere human. It can only be fuelled by the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Only then can we produce the fruit that allows us to win lives to Christ.