And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT
Words hit the wall of the mind spinning like a clothes dryer, tumbling thoughts. I grow irritable by the distractions and chaos. It is the incessant beeping of a car alarm. The barking dog in the yard. The constant chatter in the media. The child’s tantrum in a clash of wills. Toys strewn all over the floor.
The noises of the world clatter together in a torrent of sound, drowning peace, blocking the whisper of that still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13).
I am looking for a muse, inspiration, motivation to keep on with what is set before me today. The Greeks spoke of a muse who would provide inspiration for higher thought or a divine purpose. However, the muse often accompanied seduction/deception, illicit substances, or summoning supernatural powers that sometimes lured the hero into destruction.
…But letting the Spirit control your mind leads tolife and peace(Romans 8:6).
Irritability mounts and swells in the chest and it catches my breath. The demands of the day, all the needs– the little person at my feet and the tall man walking through the door hungry for dinner – strapped to the shoulders and I am a tug boat. I keep pulling up river these beautiful vessels with the weight of their loads. In my own strength the tension pulls heavy on my small frame as I chuff against the rippling waves.
Sometimes on these hard days, the ones stacked with both treasures and burdens alike, even all the good things can feel like heavythings.
Have you ever tried to hide from them? The responsibilities? The tasks? The people? I have.
There was this one day, I hid myself in the bathroom – the one place in the house assumed to be a private sanctuary — sitting alone on the floor I tried to clear my mind. Outside the door were giggles of mischief and I knew she was tormenting the dog again.
I shook my head as it rested in my hands to support the weight of a tired mind, elbows propped up on my knees, with my back against the cupboard. Looking up with a sigh…my eyes caught the words on the print hanging on the wall: The Fruit of the Spirit
At that moment? Right there sitting on the bathroom floor hiding from my three-foot tyrant of a toddler? I was not any of those things.
As my eyes scanned over that list of what I perceived as personal failings, that Still-Small-Voice broke through: “I am all those things.”
God is. Not me.
All that I want to be for the people that I love I cannot be. Not well anyway. If I am doing one, or any of these, then I am probably neglecting another. Because I am a fallible human.
The love that I long to display to my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends, those whom I serve in ministry, wouldn’t come from my effort but from my surrender.
The peace that I was desperateto find by hiding myself away, closing myself off in isolation and quiet, would not find me until I could be open and receive (John 20:19-23).
The patience needed to bear the burdens of others, whom God had placed strategically in my care, would not be supplied in my own strength but in the handing over.
And there it was. Boldly printed at the top: the Fruit. Of. theSpirit.
All that I long to be for others, do for others, give to others? They don’t really come from me. It is the Holy Spirit in me that allows me to do the good works he designed for me before I was.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13).
He is the only source that we need turn to in order to find the inspiration to do and to be.
Inspiration. As in “immediate influence of God”.
The Latin root spirare, meaning to breath.
Inspire. In-spire. Breath in Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is my muse.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).
Friends? As we walk through the seasons of our faith, being planted in the truth, taking root in Christ, growing in grace, flourishing in the Spirit, and bearing forth all the good things, remember you began as one seed.
You are not all things to all people all of the time. You can not even expect to be somethings to some people some of the time. You may count on being onlyone thing for one person one moment at an appointed time in order to do a good work, which Godhas prepared for you in advance. And be assured that he equips youwith the thing that you need at that time to do it well.
Breath Him in.
Aren’t you glad our God is omniscient? He is all-powerful. Only He is all things to all people all of the time. He is. He was. He is to come. That takes all the weight of my small shoulders.
I am not God. But He is.
Be still. And know.
So it has become my constant prayer:
Lord, here are the things. These are my burdens. Take them up and bear them as you did on the cross. Fill me with your Spirit each moment so that I can walk in the ways you have planned for me today. Help me be so overflowing with your Spirit that all the things I long to be would actually be You pouring over the rim of my glass onto the lives of others. And let it be sweet to the taste and satisfying to the soul. Let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart bless your name, Jesus. Let the deeds of the day, and the truth in my ways speak of you, Jesus* (Psalm 19:14).
*(Inspired by lyrics written by Tim Hughes)