True Character

Does the Spirit Shine in our lives

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Unsated: “not satiated: not satisfied” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Often, the last thing we give away is our grace and our kindness. We give of our time and our money, and whatever quantifiable thing we have. And at the same time we hold onto what matters most. Our spirit and heart. It’s easy to give a few dollars to someone in need. It’s easy to help someone move on a Saturday afternoon. It’s easy to… Those things are measurable and temporary. What’s hard is to give of ourselves. Maybe not for you. Maybe it’s harder for you to give the quantifiable things. However, for most, giving of ourselves is harder, if not impossible. Giving of ourselves is timeless. It lasts forever. It is kindness to someone we hesitate to like. It is a smile towards someone who’s wronged us. It is a good spirit when we want to be in a bad mood. It’s hard to give of ourselves, because it requires that we change our feelings. It’s possible to mow our neighbors lawn out of kindness and retain bitterness in our spirit towards them. It’s possible to change someone’s tire and resent them at the same time. It’s possible to mask our feelings, be content with our actions, and forget our spirits. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Notice that those are the fruit of the Holy Spirit with a capital “S.” Those are not the fruit of our spirits, the lowercase version. It’s possible to act out some of those fruits in our own spirit. But time will reveal our true identity. There is at least one of those fruits we struggle with. We’ll lose control, our temper will flare, and those fruits we worked so hard to produce will rote in a matter of milliseconds. But the fruits of the capital “S” Spirit are everlasting, and they’re not an act. When we have the Spirit in us, those outward actions are a natural byproduct. They’re the effervescence of a healthy relationship and heart with the Lord. But it requires the relinquishing of our spirit. It requires that we commit our hearts to the Holy Spirit. It requires a change on the inside. Façades and masks can be swapped regularly, but interior renovations take a change of heart. We all know how to act civilized in public. But do we know how to feel civilized inside? It’s the heart that really matters. It’s what we feel that makes the most difference. It’s our spirit that bears fruit. Not when everything is going well, but when it seems like everything is falling apart. It’s after the careless fender bender, the rude comment, the negligent bump that reality shows up. We like to think of ourselves as bing pretty good, but how do we respond in those roughed up moments? Rather, who responds? Is it our often hateful, grumpy, strident, impatient, unkind, bad, unfaithful, harsh, out of control spirit? Or is it His Spirit? You may be saying, “I’m not that way, I’m kind and considerate.” I know that’s what I want to say. But is it really true?  I know I’m kind and considerate when I’m in a good mood. But it takes everything I have to put a smile on my face when my mood is lacking. And that’s not uncommon for me. Let’s lose the act. And let’s gain a life. Let’s admit our true characters. And gain true character. With His Spirit it’s not only easy to offer a helping hand, it’s also easy to offer a loving heart. With His Spirit people won’t have to deal with our bad days to get a good one. With His Spirit we can be changed, we can be renewed in our minds and our spirits.

Daily Journaling Questions:

  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What am I dreaming of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?

Thanks for reading,

Jake

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