When I’m immersed in His presence, and that love is flowing through me and spilling onto the people around me—–my kids, that crabby customer service person, the harried barista—–nothing dents my joy. It’s like a fountain that can’t be plugged.
And it infects people. Lifts burdens, raises a smile in an otherwise dreary day. Joy is powerful and strengthening (Neh. 8:10).
And then there was this week—–where I barely gave God a brief nod each morning.
Looming deadlines elbowed my usual routine out of the way. Where I would normally spend the first portion of my morning in stillness or worship or journaling with God, I went straight to work. Or hummed a quick worship song. Because I’m nothing if not a creature of habit. Need to GET MY QUIET TIME IN.
I didn’t soak; I speed-walked through my time with Him and my main tank and reserve drained to near empty.
The interesting thing was how irritating and dense and frustratingly inept the people around me became.
My tolerance level for less than stellar performance hovered around zero.
And God allowed me many, MANY opportunities to work out my lack of love. Including the two hours out of my evening I spent on the phone with a customer service center that had misapplied one of my payments and terminated our business service.
That was my come to Jesus moment. As I lay in bed that night, feeling drained and out of sorts, I told God that I didn’t believe I said anything I shouldn’t have, but I didn’t feel good about how I’d handled myself either.
He took me back to a few sound bites and showed me that the words weren’t wrong, the spirit was. When each of the customer service people I was transferred too started getting frustrated that I wasn’t willing to just pay what they showed I owed—–when I stopped feeling heard—–I started pushing back. I walked in pride instead of love.
I didn’t apply patience, which is what the situation called for. I let go of love and gained frustration, resentment, anger and offense.
Why are the Fruits of the Spirit spelled out for us in scripture? Are they a resource or just part of our daily Bible reading (when we happen to land on Galatians 5)?
They are meant to be a weapon and a source of strength and help.
I was vulnerable to negativity because I wasn’t filled. I wasn’t prepared to deal with another’s lack. I wasn’t tapped into the Spirit living in me, so I stepped into another kingdom.
I walked on the dark side and felt so yucky.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
These fruits are always available to us, but I wasn’t positioned to draw on them. We can’t conjure them out of our own strength (or they’d be called the Fruit of Sherri or Mary or Steve).
We have to be plugged into the Source to have the Spirit and His fruits and gifts flowing into and out of our lives.
Steve Backlund’s devotional, Igniting Faith in 40 Days, is designed to free us from negativity. I’m a few days late, but joining the Backlund’s in a Negativity Fast & Positivity Feast in observance of this Lent season. Care to join me?
Father, give me an awareness of where my thoughts go when I step out of kingdom living. Help me to catch myself when I’m at that crossroad and strengthen me to choose how to live from Your fruits. Increase my passion for the things of Your kingdom so I live life in abundance and fullness through Your Son. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photo via Pixabay