For the last few days my mind has been occupied with a specific idea. As with all things there are two ways... God's way and the human way. We have been bombarded by humanistic thinking that says "do what FEELS right", but the Bible says there is a way that seems right to man, but the end leads to death. God's ways are different from ours. The Gospel is full of admonitions to lose your life, die to self, pick up your cross and be a servant to all, but the world has a totally different message... do what you want to do. Lately my thoughts have been centered on what does God say about me as a wife and mother.
One of the verses I have been dwelling on is Psalm 128:3 "Your wife shall be a fruitful vine by the sides of your house..." Usually I just read that and think of the physical aspect... She will be fruitful meaning bearing children and although in our culture that's not considered a good thing, to God it's a HUGE BLESSING for the 'Man who fears the Lord". Reading a commentary yesterday really spoke to me about another aspect of the fruitful wife... she will bear the fruit of the spirit.
Galatians tells us what that fruit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also WALK IN THE SPIRIT.
I have to confess that I do not often walk in the spirit and do not often exhibit the fruits of the spirit when interacting with my children. I get up lots of times and just start my day without asking the Lord for his help in this monumental task of wife and mother. I forget easily that "He is the VINE, and that I am the branch." I forget that I cannot be Christlike without the spirit of Christ abiding in me. As a Christian we know that He is ALWAYS with us, but to abide in HIM is another thing all together. We must ask, seek, knock. We have the responsibility of confessing our NEED for him and our weakness and lack of wisdom. Often I just walk in the flesh.
Walking in the Spirit takes commitment, as well as, understanding that we are destitute without him. The AWESOME news is he has promised to answer when we knock and to give wisdom liberally to all those who humble themselves and seek HIM.
Back to the fruit... What kind are you putting out?
Love... Is it patient and kind, does it bear ALL things, does it keep record of wrongs or just wipe the slate clean? Love bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things. Love is NOT a feeling. Love is an action that puts the welfare of the other person above ones own desires.
Joy... The bible says that "The joy of the Lord is our strength." When we walk in the Spirit we can have joy in Who Jesus is and not in what is going on around us. Sick children, washer breaks down, ups and downs in marriage, whatever comes our way we can have the joy of the Lord.
Peace... with joy comes peace. I read a description of peace once that has stuck with me. A tranquil pond. Is that you momma? Do you have peace when your husband does something you don't agree with? Peace when your children are behaving badly? Peace is about trusting God that He is in control and that we can take anything to him in prayer.
Long-suffering... this goes beyond patient. This is bearing with the Lord and trusting him when the situation would make another break. It's bearing with a husband who you've prayed for for years. It's bearing with a child whom you have disciplined over and over again about the same things. Bearing with that person until God changes a heart.
Gentleness... I confess I struggle with this one more than all others. I have never been a gentle person, but I'm asking the Lord to redeem me to HIS original design. Help me speak gently and discipline gently and love gently when I don't feel like it.
Goodness... Doing good to others even when they don't deserve it. This is exactly what God did for us when he sent his son to die for our sins when we didn't deserve it. Goodness is generosity... giving above and beyond what others deserve. Is this me? Is this you?
Faithfulness... dependability. Can your husband depend on you? Do your children KNOW that you will be there for them or do you put your own desires above others?
Meekness... thinking of others better than yourself... putting their needs above your own. Another hard concept for us to get.
Self-control... OH MY. If your family was interviewed would they say you are a woman of self-control? Do you hold your tongue or your anger? I promise I fail at this so often.
The great news is that God is completing a work in me. I have a long way to go, but HE is faithful and the key to my success as a wife and mother that honors God is found in these verses. Abiding in Him and seeking him every morning, confessing my weakness and my desperate need for him, inviting him to overcome me today, He will fill me and anoint me to do the work he set forth for me and I will be the fruitful wife that blesses her family. A vine that brings forth abundant fruit that gives life and health and vitality to my family all because of the Spirit welling up in me...
Thank you Jesus that I don't have to rely on me. Thank you that you will rise up in me and be my Strength, my joy, my peace, my goodness, and gentleness. Help me abide in you today!!!