Comfort foods. You know those foods that you turn to when life is not going the way you want it to go. The half gallon of rocky road ice cream, chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven, triple chocolate brownies, or German chocolate cake. You can tell my go to comfort food is anything chocolate. Does it really satisfy? Does it fix the problem at the center of the misery?
When we have the nervous munchies that devour a bag of potato chips in no time flat. The candy dish was full when you sat down five minutes ago and now as you reach for more you realize it is empty. You realize that you are still empty on the inside.
God want to be the One that fills our souls and fill them with goodness. Like the loving Father that He is, He knows just exactly what we need. He will sooth the ache that is in our souls with His goodness. We just have to turn it over to Him.
No, I'm not going all Star Wars on this. As you read the verses it is easy to see how I could do it. and I'm sure that if I evoked help from my sons they could totally teach this verse using all 7 movies.
Let's look at the verse taking out verse 9,"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, finding out what is acceptable to the Lord."
We are give two instructions to do as children of light; walk as we are in the light and find what is acceptable to the Lord. We are blessed that we don't have to sit and scratch our heads on this one. For in Psalms 119:105, David says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path." We are able to walk in the light because God's Word is our light and lights our way.
What about finding what is acceptable to the Lord? The answer to this is in verse 9, "(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)". These three virtues are an acceptable way of living unto God. They show that the Spirit is alive and growing in us.
I want to focus on goodness for a little bit. As we walk in the light and goodness grows in us, it becomes a beacon of light to everyone around us. We tend to draw near to those that we see goodness in.
What is goodness? One of the definitions that Webster gives for goodness is: "the nutritious, flavorful, or beneficial part of something". How fitting is this definition since Paul is calling it one of the fruits of the Spirit is several places? Goodness is nutritious - it is going to feed us to grow more. Goodness is flavorful - it is something that will draw people to it. Goodness is beneficial - builds everyone up in a positive way.
Goodness is essential to a healthy life, physically and spiritually. It encourages growth, draws people to want more of it and benefits everyone.
We have all seen pictures of buildings that are centuries even thousands of years old and wonder how could they last so long? Maybe, even wish in a moment of weakness that you could be that strong to withstand what trials come your way.
It is the saving faith in Jesus as our Savior that is our foundation. Each layer, like a stone wall fits together so perfectly that it is hard to be knocked down. should one of these layers be missing or our of place the wall would collapse over time.
As you look at the order that Peter wrote this you can't have one without the other to support. Without knowledge you wouldn't understand what areas you need to build up in self-control. Without self-control it would be hard to have perseverance in hard times.
Let's look at the layer of kindness which is right below the roof of love. Just below the roof is the rafters. They are the support for the roof and go beyond the building. Yet they are supported by the building. Once the roof is put on over the rafters the building itself is protected on the inside from the outside storms that come along.
Our rafters is brotherly kindness. Peter tells us that we have to be diligent in building this spiritual building in our lives. It is easy to be kind to someone we don't know, even if it is a not so random act of kindness but something you planned to do that day. Brotherly kindness is harder and takes much more of an effort.
Like in any family there are differences and these can make it hard to get along with people. Those of us that have siblings know what it is like, when you get in a fight with you sibling and your mom tells you to say sorry. You quickly and short snap, "Sorry". The next thing you hear from you mom, or as a mom you have said, "Say it like you mean it." This example I got from my pastor this Sunday. He wasn't talking about brotherly kindness but it fits so well as to how hard it is to extend that kindness beyond our comfort of the walls.
As the Church, in a whole we have a problem extending brotherly kindness to those who belong to a different denomination, church, even to those that my go to our church but have hurt us some how. By extending brotherly kindness to those that we may not see eye to eye with is building the frame work to extend God's love to.
First Call's song "Undivided", shows the reason to extending brotherly kindness is not as hard as we make it to be.
We may worship different ways
It is easy to extend brotherly kindness when we remember we are all one in the eyes of Jesus.
We hear a lot lately about random acts of kindness. People paying for the person behind them in the drive-thru. Raising money to help others. Why does it seem like it is something we have to be reminded to do? Why does it seem to be unnatural for us?
In Colossians 3:12-14, we are give a list of things to put on as a child of God. One of these is kindness. For some reason being kind does not come natural to us.
Look at any toddler playing with a toy, puts it down and walks away from it, then as soon as another toddler picks it up the first toddler goes running back yelling mine. The child was not taught this behavior it came naturally. Being self-centered is a normal part of us, since sin entered the world. That is why we are instructed to put kindness on.
Once again we see that love is the key to the fruit of the Spirit. It is what makes them work as one. Without God's love flowing through us we would not have the ability of being kind to others.
With what is going on in this world, wars, terrorist attacks, politics, and more, the cries of "Lord come quickly!" are heard all over. We want out of what seems to be a downward spiral in society. Yet, He tarries.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
I'm sure that when He hears our cries for Him to come quickly He hears us. He has a bigger picture than just our here and now view. His view is an eternal view that seeks to give everyone the opportunity to come into a relationship with Him. Even though there are those that He knows won't come, He waits to give them the chance to change their minds.
Look at Judas. Jesus knew who he was and what he would do. Yet, Jesus spent the time to be with him daily. Gave him an important job in being over the money, even though He knew Judas would take some money for himself. Jesus still showed Judas the same love and friendship that He did with the other disciples. Until that night that Judas betrayed Him, Jesus was still willing to give him the chance to change his mind.
We need to remember the bigger picture and what is important while we are here in this world. There are still more lives to reach while we are on earth. So we need to have His patience to endure what is going on and love those we come in contact with even though it can be hard at times.
I'm sure you all know what the "P" word is. You know that one thing you never want to ask God for because you are afraid of the trial to come in learning it. The one thing that wears short when you have toddlers or teens. Patience.
In the Greek, the word for patience is Makrothumis which means – forbearance, fortitude, and long-suffering. Ephesians 4:1-3, we are charge to "walk in a manner that is worthy" of our calling. Part of that manner is being patient, not just with those that we are good friends with, but with each other.
Like in the picture, love is what feeds patience. Let's take a look at Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV, so that we can understand what Paul is saying.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Jesus is our example in humility, gentleness,and patience. It has been over 2000 years since He was here and He is patiently waiting that everyone will come to Him. If that is not love then I don't know what is.
It is that love we are to extend to each other in the form of patience. It is that love that will help us keep the bond of unity as Christians no matter what we believe. It is that love which gives us the patience to extend to each other even when we disagree.
You may not want to ask God for patience, then ask Him for His love, which in turn will produce patience.
Bonnie Sue Beardsley
For years I have been comfortable serving in women's ministry behind the sound booth. When we move to Texas, I lost that hiding place. Soon after we moved God placed on my heart to write devotions for women. I fought with God over that. I was homeschooling two boys. Didn't God know I didn't have time to write. Ten years later several friends asked me to start my own online study. He never gives up on us..