Today is December 1st, the formal start of the Christmas season. Our pastor has been focusing on the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5 for his Sunday teaching, and if these nine attributes aren't visible in our life, we are missing the point of what it means to live as a follower of Jesus: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
These qualities take a lifetime to develop and grow, with setbacks along the way, but they serve as signposts and markers for us as we walk through life. I want more of all of them. I wish I wasn't so selfish and quick to anger. I would prefer that my kids see me as gentle and kind instead of frustrated and rushed. You can't fake these attributes. They are either developing in us, or the opposite is being nurtured and is growing.
Once in awhile, I need to stop and take stock of what is happening in my character. There are ways to stand up for myself that still involve the fruits of the spirit, and I need to keep working on my own reaction to situations, as that is the only thing under my control. I don't want to waste time worrying about the things that are outside of my control, but where I interact with others I can be as kind as possible, and where I fail, I can take ownership of my mistakes and apologize for them.
I don't want to cultivate anger and distance from people. I'm looking for peace and love in the situations I'm in. There is no better time to practice this than now, during the Christmas season where these qualities are practiced more than ever by most people. Christmas is about giving and love and kindness to our fellow man.
It's much easier when it's reciprocated and much harder when it isn't. How other people react to us isn't the point. Our own character is what matters here, and that can be developed in whatever direction we want, regardless of what happens to us, as long as we are aware of it and working on it.
I believe it's easier to work toward something rather than away from something, so instead of trying not to be angry, I'm going to attempt to be peaceful. I'll work on love instead of hate, forgiveness where nursing a grudge used to be. Life is short and I don't want to waste the time I have. Today I'm going to put peace and love front and centre and try to keep all of the fruits of the spirit in my mind as I go through my day.