“Control” is a loaded word. It can evoke a visceral reaction in various individuals, in negative or positive ways. And as Americans, we cherish our freedom sometimes to the point of demonizing any form of control. We don’t want people to infringe on our rights, we want to speak freely without consequences and we want to the freedom to make decisions often without the complementary responsibilities.
If we are followers of Jesus, however, there’s an alarming verse that recently arrested my attention: 2Cor 5:14a, “For the love of Christ controls us, . . . ” When I read this, I tried to find some wiggle room in the Greek for the word “control”. But alas, I had no luck. I’m supposed to be controlled by Jesus’ love.
So if we identify as a follower of Jesus, this means that His love:
influences my conversations to make them edifying rather than snarky
priorities my resources to be less selfish & to consider others
applauds those random acts of kindness that run contrary to my fleshy instincts
filters my thoughts & emotions to remove unforgivness, judgment, condescension, etc
Let’s allow Jesus’ love to be the controlling & defining essential in our lives!
If you’re like me, from time to time, we make bad decisions. I don’t like it when I make a bad decision & I like the consequences even less. But what is worse than making a bad decision is not learning from such mistakes. So here’s a few things that might be helpful when dealing with bad decisions:
*mistakes & failures are an essential ingredient of success
*beating yourself up over mistakes adds zero value – own the mistake & mistake & move on
*blaming someone else tends to minimize our personal learning experience with the mistake or bad decision
*dont let the fear of a bad decision or mistakes paralyze you from trying
*consider all the people in the Bible who made mistakes & you’ll start feeling better quickly ,)
I had this totally delicious conversation w a friend today about abiding in Jesus. It was a thoroughly delightful conversation because we talked deeply about what it means to abide in Jesus as He talks about this in John 15. Here are some ideas related to abiding:
being present – I love getting to give Jesus my total attention for no other reason than He is nothing short of riveting
receiving – for me this is tricky because of my independent nature, but the more I receive from Jesus, the more I want to receive
access – when I abide in Jesus, He has unlimited access to all of me & even though it can be painful on occasion, I find that letting Jesus have total access to all of my life is nothing short of sublime
So how does this relate to being fruity? I’ve found that the better I abide in Jesus, the better the fruit / consequences in my life. I’m less impatient, more kind & gentle, I’m more generous and I’m a better human. Fruit is a reflection of the root ,)
I totally love the fruits that we get during the Summer – I love peaches, strawberries, cherries, rhubarb, apricots, figs, blueberries, . . . . I LOVE these fruits!! I love to use them in pies, tortes, grilled, fresh, with cream, . . . . . There have even been a few occasions when I’ve eaten so many of these that I’ve gotten sick :/ Nevertheless, Summer fruits are delicious!! These are season fruits that can be harvested in the Summer. So I try to eat as many of them as I can while they’re available.
But I also think about these fruits in relation to the fruits of the Holy Spirit that Paul discusses in Galatians 5 – fruits like patience, love, peace, self-control, joy, gentleness, goodness, kindness and faithfulness. I LOVE it when I have these fruits in my life – seems like life is more enjoyable & effective. But here’s my challenge, I’ve tried to make myself be patient & boy was that a disaster! I’ve tried to be more loving, only to find myself venting on someone who was undeserving of such wrath. I’ve tried to be gentle, only to find myself bumbling through emotional land mines. I’ve come to this conclusion – these things are the fruit of the SPIRIT, not the fruit of Sarah. With this flash of brilliance, my main objective now, is to live increasingly sensitive to the Holy Spirit. You see, the more I’m around the Holy Spirit, the more these consequences / fruits become observable in my life and the Fruit of the Spirit far surpasses any peach, strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, blueberry, apricot or fig ,)