This year has been challenging–spiritually, mentally, emotionally. The funny thing is, I have been doing relatively well physically until now–currently fighting a cold. Satan has been tugging here and there–to neglect my prayers and reading of Scripture, to be angry, bitter, even hateful, selfish and judgmental, impatient. Countless shortcomings burst out all year, in my face and in others’, unfortunately. Earlier this year, my daughter memorized and recited the fruits of the Spirit (ref. Gal. 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), and it seems to have been a foreshadowing of spiritual tests to reveal my sins in each way. Every day I have been tested and every day I have failed.
Satan, NO MORE!
Love: love those who are difficult to love, forgive, show more affection and/or express care for others, appreciate those around me
Joy: find joy in everyday matters, be thankful, laugh more than cry, smile more than frown, stop myself from complaining
Peace: breathe when circumstances are stressful or irritable, let it go, know that many things I stress over are frivolous and futile
Patience: speak gently, kindly, pray in the moment of impatience, wait knowing that some things/people take time
Kindness: practice compassion and empathy, sacrifice my well-being and comfort, express gratitude, pray for others
Goodness: help those in need, give generously and whole-heartedly
Faithfulness: devote consistent time and effort to prayer and reading the Bible, obey His commands, give thanks, sing praise, seek forgiveness and repent regularly
Gentleness: use a gentle voice, especially with my child
Self-Control: pray in the moment of anger or impatience, use time wisely, especially in devotion to prayer and reading the Bible
Oh, so easy to type but so difficult to practice in life. I am a sinful, disgraceful person. It is a battle with myself each day to repress all the opposites of the fruits of the Spirit. Doubt and reality creep into my mind, but I really need to relinquish my sinful habits and desires to the Spirit. This past year cannot bleed into the next. I must change; I must love.
If I love my neighbor as myself, the second greatest command (ref. Matt. 22: 36-40), if I truly practice Christ-like love that is sacrificial and selfless, then the fruits of the Spirit would be ingrained in my life. So… let us press on.
May we love our neighbors as ourselves. May I love my neighbors as myself.