Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Bids Us Shine"1 (Lyrics)
One summer when my two young sons spent time with their grandparents, a mystery presented itself. Their grandmother was a kind, loving, and self-controlled woman, but anyone can be pushed too far. She had prepared a large straw hat with a tie under the chin to secure it. On her return from her outdoor work, she always hung the hat on a hook inside the entryway. Strangely, her hat began to appear on the floor, with the string pulled out, which was inconvenient for her. Each time she questioned the boys to see if they were playing a trick on her, they denied doing it. They all felt frustrated and were at the edge of their patience.
In God's providential way, He intervened, and just in time. One afternoon, they heard a noise in the entryway, and they quietly crept near to take a peek. Their kitten was underneath the hat, rolling around and batting its paws at the boot string. It had knocked the hat off its hook, and then playfully pulled the string out of the hat. The kitten was the culprit. Because the boys and their grandmother respected God's Word, nobody had completely lost their patience. The mystery was solved, and everyone had a good laugh. Our loving God had applied a blanket of grace to the situation.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (NASB)
My boys and their grandmother responded with godly self-control in this situation, even remembering it 50 years later as though it had happened yesterday. Imagine what our homes, churches, community, and world would be like if we graced each other by practicing these principles and applying them to our life. Every person would be living out kindness and gentleness.
However, our human nature gets in the way when we don't know God's Word, or don't connect with it before words come spewing out of our mouths, or we act out. Yet, when we pray for strength, listen to the Holy Spirit's guidance, and practice, we get better at it — acting in the goodness of the Holy Spirit and not on our own. Are we accessing the help of the Spirit sent by God? I am so grateful that although we are sinners, we are saved by God's grace.
At some point of growth, we may realize that we love living life in Christ. I am so grateful that we have divine guidance to succeed. Even when we offend someone, we can graciously apologize and then repent with a sincere heart to ask God for forgiveness. Let's each one of us choose a fruit of the Spirit that we need to improve and then grow in showing God's grace to others. Christ is our victory.
Prayer: Dear Father, we ask that You would empower us to live our lives in the Spirit. Thank You for Your forgiveness when we miss the mark, and that You allow us to begin again. Thank You for Your encouraging Word. Amen.