Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
OK. This may sound a little strange, but it really happened.
As I was getting ready to come into the ministry the other day, I looked down and saw something that didn’t belong on the carpet. I reached down and picked up and it happened to be a cricket leg. One thing I have learned in my two plus years out here on the prairie is that crickets tend to break into your house and die, if I don’t catch them first. When they die, they tend to fall apart and leave pieces of themselves around my house. I actually have a cricket graveyard under a cabinet in my dining area that seems to be a favorite place for crickets to go and die.
Hope that’s not too gross, but thanks to some recent messages at church lately, I had a thought about this. I was looking at the cricket leg I thought, “this is kind of what we are like when we become disjointed from the Lord and the church. We are no longer whole. If I have learned anything during my year in re:generation, it is that we can do nothing, on a spiritual level, in our flesh. Suffice it to say, we need to be filled with the Spirit and we need to walk in the Spirit. Apart from that, we will go through motions and rituals and just be miserable people. I spent years doing just that. I knew as a Christian, I should do certain things like read the Bible, pray, attend church and serve where I could. But most of it was done out of doing my duty to God or out of guilt because the church I was attending needed help. Try as I did, I could not really break out of that pattern of works. Recently, I have been discovering the new joy of doing these things that I have always done. Even prayer, my big battle, is becoming a joyful experience. Reading and studying the Word is no longer a thing I must do, but something I have a deep desire to do. Lord willing I can talk more about this later. In the meantime here is a suggestion. Do all you can not to become disjointed. Keep praying, keep reading and keep serving as the Lord leads.
Another strange thing, recently I made a normal trip to my doctor in Kaufman for my four month checkup. I stumbled upon this particular doctor as a result of someone at the ministry telling me about him and I was not really happy with the clinic I was going to at the time. The first time I went to see him, I waited about two hours. Normally, that would have been the end of my time there, but when he came in, there was something about him. He spent at least a full hour just talking to me. He was a Christian and we talked about spiritual matters and made a few changes to what I was doing medically. I realized that if he did this with me he spent as much time as necessary with his patients. I decided that I would stay.
At this appointment things went a little faster. I got called back early and the doctor was only a few minutes late. But the strange thing was that we hardly talked about medical things at all. We started talking about spiritual things again. He is familiar with the ministry I work with and he asked how things were going. I told him that things were about the same but my attitude seems to be better than it was before. He asked me if anything had changed and I told him nothing really, other than my attitude. I seem to be more at peace about things. We talked about this a little more. I mentioned a book I have been reading by a Christian writer about temperaments. You know, those fun tests you can take on the internet, like I have to determine what temperament you are. Here’s a secret; I’m an ISFJ (Introvert-Sensing-Feeling-Judgmental). I’ve never liked the weaknesses of my ISFJ and have tried to change. But here’s another bit of news, you cannot change your temperament. It’s inherited and part of your DNA. All you can do is realize the strengths of your temperament and seek to develop your strengths and not live in your weaknesses. From a worldly point of view, I don’t think that ever works. But from a Spiritual view, because we have the Holy Spirit residing in us (a true mystery), we have His strength and power to live as God would have us live.
So here is the thing. Have you ever really looked at Galatians 5:22-23 seriously. “But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; ….” Lately, as I have been looking at these, I think, there is no way I could live this in full on my own power. Let’s just take a quick look at peace. I don’t think I am alone in this, but I don’t think many of us live a very peaceful life. It’s been said that only one out of thirteen Christians really experience the peace of God.
When it comes to peace it is actually two fold. There is the “peace with God,” and the “peace of God.” Every true follower of Jesus has experienced “peace with God.” Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We have no say about this peace. If we are a Christian, we have peace with God. Before, we were at war with God, whether we knew it or not. But now, the war is over. We may not know it, or feel it or even believe it. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is true.
But there is another peace, the “peace of God.” This peace is God given through the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the spirit is…peace.” This is a kind of peace that is untroubled by circumstances or the trials of life, and I think very few of us experience it on a regular basis. Since it is considered one of the fruit of a Spirit filled life, the Holy Spirit is the source of the peace of God. We cannot work for it and we cannot make it happen by an act of our will. This peace will come when we are filled with and walk in the Spirit. I know the filling of the Spirit can be a controversial subject. That’s sad. I don’t have time to talk about this now and my thoughts on this may not satisfy you anyway. But I can give you one verse that I think sums it up pretty well. Luke 11:13, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.” I believe this filling happens when we confess any known sin, submit ourselves to God and ask God in faith to fill us with His Spirit.
The Christian life is not a matter of knowing the right doctrines, adhering to a set of norms or rituals, joining a church or… (Fill in your own thoughts here). The Christian life is Spiritual and supernatural. It has to be lived on a spiritual and supernatural level. I am fully convinced that the nine fruit of the Spirit can be lived out by us. Lately, I have found myself praying literally throughout the day, sometimes without even being aware of it. I have asked God specifically to fill me with His Spirit and give me peace in my heart about various things. And I have been experiencing that on a level never before experienced in my life before, despite the circumstances I may be in.
My prayer for us today is that we will all take God and His Word more seriously than we may have ever done before. We like to use the phrase “go to the Cross” a lot in Christianity. May God allow us to humble ourselves, fall on our knees at the Cross, and submit ourselves to Him. I believe it will revolutionize our walks with our Lord. Blessings to you all!