Dear Christian Sisters and Brothers,
Sometimes, we are in difficult situations, trying to love others while disagreeing wholeheartedly.
You may have this situation in online discussions over abortion.
You may have this situation in your home, disagreeing with your spouse over how to raise your children.
So what is the first thing you do?
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16b)
Yes, we need to pray. But before we ask God to give us a hand, we need to pursue a righteous relationship with Him.
Righteousness is not something to strive for. Righteousness is something to surrender to.
Surrender—now there’s a word people don’t like! No one wants to surrender because that means they lose the battle.
But why would you want to be in battle with God?
- He reverently and wonderfully knit you together in your mother’s womb because He loves you (Ps 139:13-14).
- He has a plan and a purpose for your life, which is designed for you to enjoy (Jer 29:11-12).
- He wants to give you everything to finish your race well (Heb 13:20-21).
- He works everything together for your good (Rom 8:28).
So, the first step to getting everyone moving in the same direction is to start with ourselves.
That’s what I had to do.
Many years ago, I wanted my husband to change. We were in disagreement about just about everything. I didn’t like his attitude. We didn’t enjoy spending time together.
I thought the only way God was going to change my husband was if I fasted while praying for him. I was certain that God would listen to me then.
But just hours into the fast, someone at church said, “Often we are focused on our husbands when we should be focused on ourselves.”
As my teenager would say—that felt targeted. There was a big bullseye on my heart, and that statement hit right in the center.
I had to work on me, so I filled myself with the Holy Spirit through Bible study, through giving up my self-righteousness, and through prayer for myself.
That same someone at church taught me that I can ask for more of the Holy Spirit, as Luke 11:13 tells us.
Verse 13 is at the end of the “ask, seek, knock” teaching by Jesus, but we usually read the story in the book of Matthew.
In Luke’s telling, Jesus ends his parable by saying:
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)
As believers, we have the Holy Spirit—but if you’re living life as a grumpy Christian, then certainly you know that you could use more of the Spirit.
When we have more of the Spirit, we have more fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Do you feel
⇒ at peace (that means not worrying!)
⇒ patient (even when your food order doesn’t arrive right away!)
⇒ kind (even to your barista!)
⇒ faithful (never substituting lattes for God!)
⇒ gentle (always saying things God’s way!)
⇒ self-controlled (even around chips, chocolate, and chai lattes!)
Yeah, I didn’t think so. Now would be a good time to ask God for more of the Holy Spirit, don’t you think?