Most of the battles we face in life happen in our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9. We want things to go a certain way, and when they don’t, we feel stressed, angry, frustrated, discouraged, depressed. We complain, lash out, judge, withdraw. James 4:1-2, 11-12.
In those moments, the fruits of the Spirit seem to disappear. Have you experienced that recently? Look at the Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV) passage below and check your heart next to it. Which of those fruits do you walk well in? Which could you use more of these days?
“The fruit of the Spirit is
- gentleness and
“Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
This passage is actually a great daily (or even moment-by-moment) heart gauge. If we’re walking “in step with the Spirit” (v 25), then these are the normal fruits we bear.
But if we feel something negative outside of those fruits—like frustration, fear, judgment, bitterness, anxiety, loneliness, rejection, irritation, anger, discouragement, etc.—then it’s a great time to get alone with the Lord so He can show us anything amiss in our hearts.
If you point at someone else (“I’m mad because he ….”), you could miss the problem inside you. You can’t change that other person, but you can let God change you.
Try it right now. What difficulty are you going through? What are you feeling as a result?
- Begin by worshipping the Lord. When we fix our eyes on God, our problems shrink in the light of His beauty, omnipotence, majesty, holiness, love, and grace.
- Lay all your opinions and ideas about your situation or that person at Jesus’ feet. Because our thoughts are not God’s thoughts, we need to humble ourselves before Him, letting Him show us our sin and wrong thought processes so we can align our minds and hearts with His truth. Isaiah 55:6-9.
- Ask God how He sees that situation or person. Be still before Him, surrendering to the only One who truly knows what’s going on. Let Him replace your opinions, ideas, and agendas with His, so you can see through His eyes.
You’ll be surprised at how, in one moment of surrender, He will change your anxiety, stress, and anger into love, joy, and peace that lasts.