As we enter a new year, we are often met with the expectation or desire of setting new goals for ourselves. Personal, corporate, familial, ministerial. With the turn of the calendar comes a fresh opportunity to pursue deeper growth. The great news is, as we seek personal growth, we will naturally grow in every other area as well. The core of who we are as wives, moms, daughters, sisters, friends, leaders, employees, and bosses is found in who we are as Jesus followers. How are we being molded by His Spirit into the likeness of His image?
Regardless of how we feel, what we think, or how we are in the easy moments of life – the truest version of ourselves is not exposed when we are gleefully having a conversation with a friend, our kids are being obedient, our marriage is smooth, our job is delightful, or people think highly of us. The truest version of yourself is exposed in how you respond to the friend that talks behind your back, when your kids blatantly disobey you, when your spouse has you fuming, when your job has you frustrated, or when people make false accusations.
Who are you in these moments?
Are you loving? Are you kind? Do you respond as Jesus would, or do you lash out to ensure that the person on the receiving end knows exactly how you feel? There is a place for righteous anger, however, we are called to be angry and not sin. (Ephesians 4:26)
We should be implementing healthy boundaries in our lives, nonetheless, we can shake the dust off our feet and walk away without misrepresenting Christ. (Matthew 10:14)
We can remain silent in wisdom instead of running our mouth as fools. (There are so many Scripture verses on this topic…Proverbs speaks to the foolishness of speaking hastily, the danger in not restraining our words, the importance of guarding our tongue, and the wisdom of remaining silent and speaking at the right moment.)
Are we speaking in the right way (in the Spirit), and at the right time? Are we being reactionary and inflammatory, or are we praying before every word and action?
This is not always an easy task. It takes much self-discipline, especially in the heat of the moment. One thing I have started doing recently is to remind myself of this truth as my emotions are brewing – “The enemy’s goal is division; God’s purpose is unity. Am I enabling the tactics of the enemy, or am I working with the Lord toward the goal of unity?”
We are the conglomeration of the little moments we spend investing in our souls.
“…the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
What is coming out of your heart? Are you filling it with complaining, bitterness, gossip, manipulation? Or are you filling it with the transformative power of God’s love?
What is spilling out of our hearts is what we are known by, and if love is spilling out, that is how others know that we are disciples of Christ. (John 13:34-35)
By allowing God’s love to fill our own hearts – particularly in difficult moments, God’s love will supernaturally move in our circumstances and relationships. Not because others change, but because we are changed.