I felt stuck. I did not like the situation, the job, the environment I was in. Why won’t God get me out or why won’t He open the door so I can get out of this. These were the words that I said, prayed and complained to God and others during the years that I was stuck in jobs and situations I didn’t like. I was convinced that I would experience true joy, peace and goodness if I could just change my job and my circumstances.
Most of us are probably still laboring under the impression that freedom comes first in our circumstances, and then we can experience love, joy, peace, patience, and all the other wonderful fruits of the Spirit. Not so. God usually begins first with the transformation of our attitudes; then He can change our circumstances. Stasi Eldredge – Becoming Myself
Many people believe they would have a great life if they could just change their spouse, job, friends, or church. The Fruit of the Spirit is supposed to reside in us regardless of circumstances. I am not saying that your circumstance or the people around don’t need to change. Many of you are in very difficult or hurtful relationships and situations that must change for your health or safety. I am saying that your ability to have abnormal love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control is not dependent on your circumstances or the people around you.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
Looking back on the seasons of my life that were difficult I have noticed something. Those seasons changed. What created or caused the change? God working in me is what created the biggest change. Almost without fail every difficult season of my life changed after I began to feel strong evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit in my life. Here are just a few things that may help you to focus on you and God instead of your circumstances.
- Develop a heart of Gratitude – Over the Thanksgiving holiday I wrote about how gratitude given or received creates life and a heart of gratitude can change everything… Yes everything.
- Pray Daily asking God to change you – The only thing you can change is you. Daily talk to God about changing your heart first. Changing you and developing a relationship with God should always be the priority.
- Read Bible stores of people who persevered – Read the story of Joseph, Joshua, David or Daniel. These and other Biblical character can help you see perseverance. It is important that you see how others struggled with the Fruit of the Spirit present. They will give you hope.
- Focus on Worship – Worship is an attitude not just songs, but songs can help you focus on God’s overwhelming goodness. Find songs or scripture that help you focus and see God’s goodness.
How would you change this list of ideas or what would you add?
During the holiday season painful memories and losses can dampen the joy. Allow the hope and joy of this time to help you see God’s goodness in your heart and life.