Character building, developing in excellence, and becoming more like Jesus every day, this is where I try to focus my personal growth. We all have a “default” nature, that part of us that “tends” a certain way, the natural way we respond to situations BEFORE thinking. Do you know yours? When I was younger, I was very impulsive, outspoken, and quick to argue, “brave” in a not so wonderful way. As I began to grow in my relationship with God, it became clearer and clearer to me that this default nature, the “sassy girl” on the inside, was FAR from pleasing to Him.
I’ve heard people flippantly say, “Can’t change who I am,” but if we are going to become all that we were designed and created to be, if we are going to fulfill our purpose, we better! This is spiritual growth 101 for me, change from the inside out.
God Himself is described in 1 Corinthians 13. God is Love. He is patient, He is kind, He is full of self-control. Clearing those hurdles for me, are a daily challenge! When dealing with people who are less than pleasant, we can do what Jesus Himself would do. The minute I feel that “thing” rising up inside of me, I make a decision to “employ” the fruit of kindness or patience. This is not to imply that it’s effortless, but with practice, it is becoming easier to respond the way He would respond – first with words, “That’s not my thought,” I’ll say out loud. And then I follow with God’s words, “I have the mind of Christ and greater is He that is within me than He that is in the world.” Then I find the promises that relate to the issue, and then I pray. The more I speak the Word, the faster my spirit man rises. If you’ll yield your spirit man and allow him a moment to connect with the Holy Spirit – plug yourself into Him at that moment – your soul (your mind, will, and emotions) will have the power to resist a wrong response. More importantly, though, the Holy Spirit will take over, and you’ll find yourself praying for others, instead of fussing and striving, and eventually walking in love will become your first response, and the “old girl/boy” will have less of a foothold in your life.
So, my daily habit is to begin in the morning by locating myself. I’m aware of what’s on my mind and aware of what’s on my heart. I try to read the Word and listen to Word teachings before I ever walk out the door. It’s more like calibrating myself to His Word in the morning before dealing with people. This is my strategy for keeping that default girl in her place and allowing The Holy Spirit and His Words to override my flesh and my emotions at the very beginning of my day. Now, I’m not suggesting that I get it right every day, but I do have the plan and a strategy in place. I wake up and begin my day with Him, because His mercies are NEW every morning.
Where’s your choke point? What’s your default? Locate yourself, and then daily set your thermostat to walk in love. When we make this commitment, be assured that we will win in every situation, every day because we know this about love: It never fails. It never fails us, and it never fails in a situation. Power comes when we walk in love, and it is In these moments that we most resemble Jesus Himself. Love, Jesus our Savior, and His character of love, never fails.
How is God changing you from the inside out?