They’re in our workplaces. They’re in our families. They’re in our social groups. They’re even in our churches. Like the tar-tainted wispy exhaust from the lit end of a cigarette, negative persons’ behaviors can seep in to our spirits, mutating our souls, and withering it’s verdure.
That is, if we let them. The problem is, it’s easy to let them. When our flesh starts gettin’ itchy, nothing can be more tantalizing than the treat of a dirty joke here or some juicy gossip there.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them;
This brought several people to mind who simply desire nothing but their own selfish satisfaction with their histrionics and vitriol. They’re obvious, though. They’re outright obnoxious and typically avoided by everyone. The Enemy will certainly try to use these persons’ behaviors to create stumbling blocks for us, but we will also find the less-obvious distractions in people who aren’t “all that bad.”
Sometimes it’s the ones everyone likes – who’re cracking snide remarks or putting others down with foul language. Sometimes it’s our bosses or other authorities to whom we show respect and submit – and then they put down your peers, tempting you to join in. I’ll admit, it’s attractive and sometimes I want to be a part of the “fun,” but that’s just a factor of my immaturity.
Fortunately for Me, The Flesh was Crucified
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Galations 5: 24-25
By this, Jesus is showing us that we don’t have to let our *wants* take over. We don’t need to laugh at the fools’ foolishness and encourage them to press on. I know it’s tough. Sometimes in attempts to get attention, I slip and do something crude, but there is a greater joy in just letting it go.
As Christians, our behavior is constantly being watched. Most people in the world don’t want to be like Christ, but they are almost always attracted to His people’s uprightness. So, as His ambassadors we have a responsibility to learn how He wants us to act around others.
The Bible speaks very plainly to this:
…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10
We Are The Antioxidants
You might be distracted into believing the difference you make in the world is insignificant. That’s simply not true, though. A yielded spirit will a make difference against the spiritual cancer vying to take your soul. Fact is, Jesus’ Spirit will bring you through your challenges, if you let Him.
Writer John Piper said it pretty well,
“Part of what the Spirit does in overcoming human resistance is to humble us to the point where we can let go of ingrained patterns of thought.”(1)
The practical take-away for us all is from Galations 5:22, the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
Love: Above all else, show love. Do not let yourself be confused with lust on this one. Love simply means to put others’ needs before your own.
Joy: Have a presence about yourself that exudes a joy. It’s impenetrable.
Peace: Sow peace in the minds and hearts of those who’s actions can be used to mutate your spirit.
Patience: Be unwavering.
Kindness: Kill ‘em with it.
Goodness: Stay focused. Meet expectations.
Faithfulness: Follow-up and follow through.
Gentleness: Act with command, not demands.
Self-Control: You have the freedom to chose your responses.
These are not some byproduct of evolution worked in as social moraes. These were set forth years and years ago in the Bible. (as an aside, it’s the very book that provided the foundation for the political establishments of the United States.)
It is true that anyone can act and show those 9 traits for all the world to see, but for whom do they do it? Themselves or something greater?