Christians are taught to listen for God’s wisdom, and obviously I think that’s what we need to do. But I understand that the practice of listening sometimes raises a problem for theology. Doing theology in a systematic way will always lead us to ask, “How do we know that it is God’s voice we hear, and not the voices of our own preferences or needs?” Last time, I suggested that we can be sure we’ve received God’s wisdom when our actions make visible the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
If we don’t show self-control when we’re talking to other people, then we don’t hear God’s wisdom in our words. I’m not talking about controlling people, and I’m not talking about controlling situations. I’m talking about self-control. There are going to be times when people come at you, and you will want to take control. You won’t want them to win, not when they come at you. That’s natural! But we have to get past that.
It’s not about winning and losing, not when it comes to Jesus Christ and humanity. He has already won. He says, “You are in me, and I am in you. You and I are One with an O, plus I have won with a W. So you have to understand, when you are talking to other people, even when they are aggressive towards you, you have won already. You don’t need to be in control.”
This is your identity. This is you who are in Christ.
There will be other times when you are talking to somebody or trying to help them, and all of a sudden something arises that is not written down on any of the pages of the Bible. I guarantee this will happen, and it can throw you! Wow, you say, he’s asking things, and she’s asking things, and the answer isn’t in my Bible. That’s when you’re going to say, “Holy Spirit, help me handle this the right way.” That doesn’t mean you’ll always have an immediate answer. But you can still handle it right. You can handle anything when you have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Sometimes as a believer, you have to have faith. Sometimes Christians fear that what they have from God won’t be enough. In those moments they reach for something else. They want so much to see an immediate impact or an immediate response. But sometimes, that’s not what you’re going to get.
You have to have faith. You have to trust that handling a situation with love and self-control is going to be enough.
See you Monday.