Thursday, June 23, 2011

Choosing sides

Which side am I on? I read this question in an Elizabeth Elliott devotional this morning. It came to her after reading Galatians 5:25

"If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."

In other words, if the Spirit is our source of life, let's follow the course that the He sets out for us as opposed to going our own way. It's the Spirit's way vs. my way. Hence the question, which side am I on? 

Which makes me wonder, how do I know I'm walking by the Spirit, selecting the course of the Spirit daily? I could probably come up with some arbitrary checklist of ways that I could measure this, but I'm pretty sure having a daily nap time and consistent email checking would not be considered fruits of the Spirit. Fortunately, it's not left up to me - or anyone else for that matter. One needs only to continue reading in Galatians 5 to see what God considers walking by the Spirit. 

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

These are supposed to be prevalent in my life if and when I'm walking by the Spirit. Apparently I'm not walking by the Spirit very often. 

I read recently that marriage is like a mirror. The relationship reflects back to you who you really are. It makes sense; it's hard to hide anything about yourself from someone who lives with you, someone who shares a bed, not to mention a bathroom with you. In the most intimate relationship we have here on earth, it's hard to be someone we're not. John unfortunately gets the pleasure of seeing my ugly more than anyone else I know. 

That's why this was so challenging to me this morning. I know who I WANT to be, who I DESIRE to be. But what am I actually allowing to eek out of me on a daily basis? I'm pretty sure it's not the afore mentioned traits of holiness. More often than not, I could probably be better characterized by the second string of traits that Paul lists:

Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger (um, hello!), rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, etc.

Now, while I haven't really partaken in any spell-casting or orgies as of late (unless you count the occasional Harry Potter quote - for spell-casting, not orgies), it's ridiculous to even try to claim an absence of anger or frustration, dissensions and divisions, even within (and probably especially within) my own marriage. Again, which side am I on??

This is nothing new. Nothing I haven't heard before. But it never fails to astonish me at how much I don't measure up to this standard of perfection. 

Thank God for Jesus, literally. 

I don't think walking by the Spirit was ever meant to be easy, but it was also never meant to be a solo journey. It's important to try and walk by the Spirit, but it's more important to know that He walks with us. So, today as I go about getting ready for the onslaught of activities this weekend, I'm going to try and remember these things: 

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

And when Rowan wakes up an hour early from his nap, and John comes home and plays Call of Duty when I know what he really should be doing is coming up with fun and creative conversation topics to discuss with me (I love you John), then I will look to my walking partner, remember that life is not all about me, and ask Him to help me look more like Jesus. 

After all, sandals and beards would be an interesting look for me.

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