Stop! Quit! Go to your Room! Clean your plate! Pick up your clothes! Do your homework! Sound familiar? These exact sentences can be heard from the voices of Moms in homes across America. Possibly, that time for you has passed; maybe your children are grown. Or maybe you’re not a mom. However, the principles of God’s Word work regardless of your status.
In thinking of God’s plan with Mother’s Day close at hand, two fruits of the Spirit come to mind—one is patience, the other is self-control. Two tough ones, right? But ones that Moms are challenged with every day.
In the darkest hours, when the dishes pile up, the science project comes due tomorrow, the baby cries, basketball and cheering uniforms need to be washed, lunches made, supper fixed, bills paid, groceries purchased…it can be overwhelming. The list goes on and on.
How do we respond in these moments of physical exhaustion and emotional drain? Will the fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—surface? Or will the response be one of frustration and anger? If you know the Lord, and give Him your day, He gives you sustaining grace and the strength to power through.
Recognize You Have a Powerful Influence:
Have you ever watched a professional football game when a reporter interviews the star linebacker? The reporter assumes their stance, cameras roll, and all eyes focus on this 350-lb. player with arms the size of pillars and thighs the size of tree trunks. You know the one. He’s the big, burly guy with a beard sticking out from under his helmet. He’s the guy who causes the other players to tremble when he runs onto the field. They tackle him, pile on top of him, and he gets up without even flinching, ready for the next play.
The interviewer, with questions prepared, pauses as this guy flashes a huge grin, before speaking, and says to the camera, “Hi, Mom.” That scenario always makes me laugh. What is he actually saying? In essence, I believe he’s making a statement that his Mom had an impact on his life. We, as women, have the ability to make a profound impact on the lives of others.
Realize You Control the Atmosphere:
You may be thinking right now that you have zero influence—that no one is listening. Could it be that your voice has fallen on deaf ears because of your presentation? It’s been said that when a person raises their voice, they’ve lost their point.
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls.” Proverbs 25:28 (NKJV)
Controlling our tongues and exhibiting patience and self-control gives credibility. Does your family look at you and know you’re a godly woman? Are you creating an atmosphere of love and peace where you are present? Self-control?
God grants us the ability to determine the atmosphere and set the tone. We determine the spirit of our homes and the tranquility of our workplaces, as well as that of our churches and wherever we go. We have the ability to build up or to destroy. It’s our choice. Little choices determine habits; habits carve and mold characters, which impact our decision-making.
Examples in the Bible:
In God’s Word, we see where Esther saved a nation, while Jezebel left one in ruins. We can have the loveliness of Rachel, the tenderness of Mary, the servitude of Martha, or the gentleness of Rebecca. Each day we choose, and our choices impact others in our sphere of influence. Want a great atmosphere? Maintain a sweet spirit. It requires no musical talent to harp on something. Don’t let circumstances dictate your day or your disposition. It’s our choice how we react. Just like Playdough, it’s what you make of it. We can’t change our circumstances, but we can choose to change our reactions to those circumstances.
A great example that comes to mind from the Bible, is where Moses’ mother, Jocobed, turned the River Nile into a nursery! As she placed her precious son in the woven basket, her heart must have been overwhelmed with worry and despair. Would a hungry crocodile come and take him away? As she watched from the riverbank, she prayed and trusted God for the outcome and instead of a crocodile He sent a princess, who would need a nursemaid, and there was Jocobed ready to care for her own baby. It may not be the load that’s breaking you down but rather how you carry the load. God may desire to change you and not your circumstances. Have patience and know that He always has a plan and His ways are perfect.
Reseize the Moment:
In several verses, the Bible mentions “redeeming the time” and “seizing the moment.”
In James 4:14 (NKJV) we read, “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
For me, this is very thought-provoking. It reminds me to make every day count and to make memories along the way. None of us will pass this way again in the same setting, with the same people, in the same circumstances, so we need to make each day count and do our best to impact others for good. Are the fruits of the Spirit noteworthy in my life? Am I gentle, kind, and patient? Do I exude love and self-control? When my race is over, who will pick up the baton? Death does not cease your sphere of influence; our testimony will live on forever even when we are gone. Will I be remembered as someone who honored the Lord? Those who make a difference in the lives of others are not the ones with the most credentials but rather the ones who care enough to give of themselves.
“Whereas you do not know what will happen
tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” James 4:14 (NKJV)
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV)
Redeeming the time—recognizing the opportunities. You’re here today either bitter or better because someone made an impact on your life, whether good or bad. Have you been recognizing your sphere of influence on others? Are you capitalizing on opportunities to make an impact on the lives you encounter each day? Are the fruits of the Spirit evident in your walk with the Lord?
Maybe you’re someone imprisoned by past failures. If that’s the case and you feel you’ve miserably failed and made a total mess of things, been a poor example of Christlikeness or your “fruit” is rotten, don’t despair. Turn it over to the Lord. He’s looking for willing, clean vessels, to be used for His service. He never fails and, in His grace and mercy, He gives us a second chance to start over again. In our weakness, He is made strong.
Remember Who’s Watching:
Outsiders, our kids, family members, friends, and co-workers are watching us and taking note. And in a world where life seems uncertain and filled with chaos, others are looking for those who are genuine, changed, content, and Christ-like. Many of us can’t recall the last five winners of the Miss America pageant, or who received the award for the best actor or actress at the last ten Academy Award Ceremonies. The point is this—few of us can remember the headliners of yesterday. Eventually the applause dies, the awards tarnish, and the achievements are forgotten.
What’s done for Christ will last for eternity. Invest in the lives of others. Without a doubt, people are longing for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—the fruits of the spirit. And they’re watching for those who magnify the name of Jesus. May the example we set in our Christian walk help others truly find their way to the cross by the testimony of our lives.
Bonnie Lovelace is a contributing writer for The Hallelujah House. She lives in the Tidewater area of Virginia with her husband Hub and she has two adult children. Bonnie is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus Christ with everyone she meets. You can read more about Bonnie or contact her personally by clicking on “About Us” at the top of the homepage.