With the news cycles swirling, protests mounting, activists screaming... it is hard to hear the still small voice of temperance and reason that is the Holy Spirit.
More than one believer and I have had a discussion containing the words: “What is REALLY true? Who do we believe?” Over the last few weeks I have been repeatedly pointed to Galatians 5. I encourage you to read the full chapter, née book, for yourself, but here are some excerpts applicable to this moment in time (from The Passion Translation):
“The One who enfolded you into his grace is not behind this false teaching that you’ve embraced. Not at all! Don’t you know that when you allow even a little lie into your heart, it can permeate your entire belief system? Deep in my heart I have faith that the Lord Jesus the Anointed One, who lives in you, will bring you back around to the truth. And I’m convinced that those who agitate you, whoever they think they are, will be brought under God’s judgment!
...I am so disgusted with all your agitators—I wish they would go even further and cut off their legalistic influence from your lives! Beloved ones, God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit... Freedom means that we become so completely free of self-indulgence that we become servants of one another, expressing love in all we do. For love completes the laws of God. All of the law can be summarized in one grand statement: ‘Demonstrate love to your neighbor, even as you care for and love yourself.’ But if you continue to criticize and come against each other over minor issues, you’re acting like wild beasts trying to destroy one another!
...The fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.
...As you yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self-life...The cravings of the self-life are obvious: Sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior. Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their “freedom” for these things will not inherit the kingdom realm of God!
...We must live in the Holy Spirit and follow after him. So may we never be arrogant, or look down on another, for each of us is an original. We must forsake all jealousy that diminishes the value of others.”
Opinions, arguments, hatred, resentment, anger, quarrels...doesn’t that sound like what is happening in many city centers and country lanes today? What if “self” is getting in the way; flesh is standing when it should sit and love is sidelined and relegated to the backseat when it should be driving. What if we put on our listening ears and hear the heart behind the cry, the outburst, the contentious attitude and assault. What if we ask questions seeking understanding instead of offering an opinion as an answer? What if we showed self restraint as a body and emulated the fruit of the spirit? What changes would we see? What healing would manifest? What lives would be altered?
I do not like what is happening. I do not have great influence in governmental spheres - they do not even return my calls - but I can make a change in how I relate, interact, and treat the people around me. How about you?