Recently, I’ve been taking some time to look back on my life and revisit how I reacted to certain events, and how my reaction changed the outcome.
What has stood out to me during this reflection is that I have a choice how I will react. There is always a moment (sometimes just a spilt second) when I have to choose how I will react. It’s easy to say something like “I just reacted. I didn’t choose it… I just exploded/laughed/was mean.” Or, “I can’t help how I reacted. They just made me so angry.” But the truth is, I have a choice. There is always that moment, the split second (or longer) when I know I am faced with a choice about what I will say or do in the next moments.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I used to think that the fruit of the Spirit would automatically begin displaying itself in the lives of every follower of Christ, because the Spirit lives in each of us. I am seeing more then ever that we must still make the choice. I must make the choice in each challenging situation how to react- this is self control! Self control is not the Spirit taking over my body and forcing a reaction upon me. Self control is pausing in that moment of aggravation or frustration to listen to the voice of the Spirit and choosing to react in a way that honors Christ. I must choose my reaction. You must choose your reaction. If we ask Him, the Holy Spirit will teach us how to use our moment of choice to stop and listen.
Our family recently went through a huge shift in our ministry situation. Through the month-long process of making decisions and dealing with frustrating circumstances, we were faced with choices about our reaction every single day. Sometimes so many times in one day, our heads were spinning. But looking back, it is clear to me that our reactions made a huge difference in how events unfolded. I’m happy to say that we responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and reacted accordingly. There is no doubt that if we had reacted badly, the outcome would have been far more unpleasant.
John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
It’s encouraging to look back and see how I have grown in my walk with Christ. How about you? How do you react to frustrating situations, and how has your reaction affected the outcome? In what ways are you bearing fruit?