The way that a rushing river flows over smooth rocks. The way grass sways with the way of the wind. The way the birds of the sky fly in such a graceful way. There’s something about all these things that just capture our mind in an overwhelming peace.
The one thing they all have in common is how God created them with His mighty hand. He formed nature and all its belongings with an ability to remind us of all the important messages God has for us. When we feel heavy-hearted, destroyed, weak, or simply not feeling like ourselves we just want to go outside and get some fresh air. To go catch a grasshopper, sing in the wind, or feel the grass beneath us. In our deepest despair, all we have to do is open our eyes and look out into the trees or admire the way an animal is wandering so carefree. God grants us this salvation that is full of endless love, allowing us to stop thinking of our past and start thinking about how with God’s salvation comes awesome freedom. We’re going to have days where it feels like it would be better off if we just had stayed under our warm blankets, but that’s the thing with God… He gives us the strength to get back up again. The ability to say, “Hey, tomorrow is a new day. The next hour holds a new perspective.” Salvation is healing from God that He has been trying to give us all along. Salvation is God reminding us that He is saving us with the same hand that He created us with. Salvation is freedom. Salvation isn’t something we have to fight for, it’s something God freely gives us if we ask Him to. Continuously pursue God’s heart and He will hold your heart. You know how we give our hearts to people and have to trust them to not break it? Well, with God, you don’t have to worry about Him breaking it. God heals your heart from the people that have broken it. The things that have broken it. This world who will continue to break it. Something that we all question at some point is why God would forgive sinners like us. I mean, why would somebody get beaten, spat on, and hung to a cross by nails to be able to save people like us? Because of His character, His love for all mankind. God despises all sin, but He doesn’t despise His people. God’s character is the definition of the fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… God is all of that and more. Any and every moment is a moment to pray for God to surround you with all you need and save you from your sinful nature, replacing it with His overflowing freedom. Not only that, God has invited us to be more like HIm. God calls us to thrive in having the same mentality of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Whether you just recently accepted Christ into your life or if you’ve been an active Christian for many years, we could all do with a little more of the fruits of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:19-26 (MSG)
It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
Photo by my amazing sister, Emily C.