Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:1-2).
When my daughter Catherine was about two, she had many words she was able to communicate, but whenever we had another toddler over to play at the house, there seemed to be only one word in her vocabulary: “Mine!” The guest could have ventured to the very bottom of the toy chest and picked out something Catherine had not played with for months, but as soon as she saw it in another child’s hands ... well, you know: “Mine!”
All children go through this phase, and it takes another year or two for them to sincerely want to share their toys. With the right direction, they begin to grasp the concept that they are not the center of the universe – that every other human being has not been placed here for their pleasure and convenience.
Think about this: It would be ridiculous for a person to stand in front of her church, guarding the front doors and yelling, “Mine!” to any new person trying to enter; we would think something was seriously wrong with that person. But if we are brutally honest, don’t we sometimes think this way? The church does not exist to satisfy each and every one of our selfish pursuits and ambitions; rather, it’s a place where we can serve the needs of others.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
It was a sobering moment when I realized that the fruit of the Spirit did not include how well I could preach or how effective I was at giving altar calls. Nowhere in the Bible could I find a Scripture that said, “By their gifts you will know them.”
I realized then that there could be no doubt I had been examined by the Lord and found lacking. Deep within me, I came to accept the fact that I had a long way to go in my spiritual walk. I needed some time to deal with my issues and to strengthen my inner person so my gift would not take me to a place where my character would not keep me.
Sadly, all too often I hear of destinies that have been sabotaged because Christians have focused on developing the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their lives rather than seeking the fruit.
When the gifts of the Spirit on a person’s life are greater than the fruit of the Spirit in a person’s life, that life will begin to crumble. Let’s ensure that we are not only seeking spiritual gifts but also producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
“I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then” (Joshua 14:11).
The quest for eternal youth has become an addiction in today’s society. We all want to hold on to the energy, agility and sense of adventure we felt in our younger years. Who can blame us? Sadly, so many of us have bought into the lie that we can achieve this by looking younger, but true youthfulness is determined not by our outward appearance but by our internal spirit.
If our spiritual condition is vibrant, energetic and healthy, then we’ll have the internal fortitude to fulfill our purpose and go the distance. The “having and doing it all” life is not a moment in time; it’s a lifelong journey of having all God has for us, in order to do all He has purposed for us. This is going to take longevity, which is going to require stamina, which in turn can only come from a strong and youthful spirit.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).
We all experience storms and trials in our lives, but we do not need to be overwhelmed by these circumstances. Jesus is with us in every situation and has already prepared a path through whatever storm we may encounter. We need never collapse or become anxious in the midst of our storm, because we know that He will never leave nor forsake us.
We must learn to not lose our peace over something that we can do nothing about. If the enemy takes our peace, then he has our hearts. Through prayer we can still our hearts in turbulent times. We can learn to say, “Lord, even if I do not see You, I trust You.”
When you know deep down that no weapon formed against you can prosper, you can ignore the storm. There are problems that we cannot solve or fix, but we can take them to the One who can and will.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)