The tiring inconveniences and the hours of self-sacrificing service…they are intense.
The daily frustrations and the constant interruptions…they are endless.
The hard moments and the trying hours…they are abundant.
And when I think about these intense, seemingly endless, abundant moments of hardship throughout my days…
My weak soul wants to wail, “I can’t do this.”
My tired heart wants to complain, “I don’t like this.”
My earthly mind wants to demand, “I want more than this.”
My sinful flesh wants to declare, “I’m through with this.”
And if I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve had plenty of recent moments where my weak, tired, earthly, sinful self has been tempted to languish in a puddle of self-pity, bemoaning the hard and earning for the easy.
But something has shaken my heart this week that has silenced the complaining and shoved the wailing, giving me fresh eyes to see something bigger, grander, more-awesome than my hard.
What started off as a heart whisper earlier in the week (when my son disobeyed, lost his lollipop, and then cried in the back of a Red Flyer wagon for about two miles as I trudged the sidewalks in 94-degree heat) has grown into a rumbling roar that has invaded the rooms of my fleshly heart in ways I really can’t explain.
Jessica, what would happen if you began longing for these tiring inconveniences and hours of self-sacrificing service, knowing that they were producing good and pruning dead?
Jessica, what would happen if you welcomed these hours of daily frustrations and constant interruptions with open arms, trusting that God was using them to refine and re-define you?
Jessica, what would happen if you started seeing these hard moments and trying hours as opportunities to be more like Jesus and less like Jessica?
Jessica, what would happen if you started embracing the hard rather than longing for the easy?
What if that repetitive discipline was an occasion for love to win?
What if those messes and demands were chances for joy to abound?
What if those chaotic meals were moments for true peace to be found?
What if those angry outbursts and illogical tantrums were viewed as opportunities to grow patience?
What if that annoying whining was seen as an exercise to strengthen kindness?
What if those careless accidents were perceived as moments for gracious goodness to thrive?
What if those disrespectful words made room for gentleness to bloom?
What if those fought naps and early mornings were used to produce the fruit of faithfulness?
What if those times of outright disobedience were identified as openings for self-control to flourish?
What if you saw the earthly hard as opportunities for kingdom good and eternal glory?
How do I fight my flesh that begs for the easy and hides from the hard?
Nestled in the surrounding verses of this “Fruit Passage” found in Galatians 5, I found the HOW.
1. Walk by the Spirit
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Galatians 5:16
2. Be Led by the Spirit
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law [rules and laws that our human flesh cannot keep].” Galatians 5:18.
3. Live by the Spirit
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit…crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:25, 24
Oh, Lord, may you help me walk in the Spirit and be led by the Spirit, so I can live by the Spirit…producing a heavenly harvest of fruit that far outweighs and outlasts any earthly hard that my flesh is called to bear, both today and tomorrow.