A Good Talking To

Have you ever had to look yourself in the mirror and give yourself a good talking to? I did the other day. I needed an attitude adjustment. That got me thinking about the Fruit of the Spirit we read about in Galatians: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-Control. Why would those traits be in the Bible at all if we didn’t need them to be? And if we were exhibiting them all the time, would we need to even think about them? Probably not. The reason we need to practice kindness is because sometimes we aren’t kind. The reason we need to practice peace, is because sometimes peace is nowhere to be found. God encourages us in these ways because we need to be encouraged in them. They don’t come naturally to us. Most times we want things our way, right now, no questions asked!

On another day, recently, my patience was on minimal. I had needed to pick up grandchild number one so I could get grandchild number two to a doctor’s appointment. Only grandchild number one decided to stay after school for the homework club, unbeknownst to me. By the time she came out, and we got to the doctor, we were late. I don’t like to be late! Was I happy? No! Was I exhibiting self-control? I believe I was. The kids were helping me practice. These are good lessons for me to be learning, even at my age. I wish I had learned them better 30 years ago when our kids were young, but maybe it isn’t too late to teach an old dog new tricks. The Word of God and the circumstances of life continue to teach us until we no longer need these lessons—that will be when we have traveled Home to Heaven, the wondrous place where patience, kindness, self-control, and all the other Fruit of the Spirit come naturally.

The day I stood talking in the mirror to myself and with God, I was reminded that Satan wanted to get the better of me. The enemy was out to steal, kill, and destroy my day, and unless I clued into his shenanigans, he was going to win the battle. I needed to reel myself in, and get a hold on my tongue about what was happening around me…the circumstances of life. We are not to live “under” those circumstances, but above them! There is a verse that says, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.(James 1:22-25) God’s Word urges us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. I have to tell you, after a stern talk in the mirror, and not forgetting what I had heard, but doing it, I saw the blessings come. My day was not ruined through the most destructive tool of the body, a loose tongue. The Fruit of self-control can keep us contained. It can help us ward off harming those in our path, and keep relationships intact.

Searching And Noticing the Divine must be intentional most times. The Fruit of the Spirit, like any other fruit, needs to be actively picked. We have to choose it, or this world will surely have its way with us, and that can get ugly, quickly. Our pastor said on Resurrection Sunday that the Father treated the Son how we should be treated, so He can treat us how He would treat His Son. Let’s continue to practice in the ways of Jesus, since our Father already treats us like His Son.

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues
in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:25