- Romans 15:13 (CSB): “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18 (NKJV): “Rejoice always … in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS
BY THIS TIME, Danny and Marcy were tearing their hair out … and about ready to tear out each other’s hair!
Call it a day of “First World Problems,” if you want, it was still frustrating, and both of them felt justified in their anger.
“Danny! The garbage disposal isn’t working.” Marcy shouted. “Do something! I need to get rid of these left-overs.”
“Stop annoying me!” Danny responded from a nearby room, where he sat hunched over his computer. “The internet is out, and I can’t complete my project.”
OUR DAILY STRUGGLES
THE EVERYDAY CHALLENGES that dot our lives, testing our resolve to be more patient, to be kinder and more loving, to be considerate of others.
Didn’t we just make that pledge Sunday morning during worship? Weren’t we led to believe that blissful state of being bathed by the Holy Spirit was ours to carry through the week, only to see it leak from our grasp by Monday morning?
How far removed are Danny and Marcy from living out the Gospel as a blessing to those around them, to bear the “Good Fruit” of Christian values, when they can’t get past noon the next day without bickering and quarreling.
While Danny and Marcy are fictional characters, they stand in very nicely for some people I know all too well … like me and just about everyone I know.
HOPE IS AVAILABLE
JESUS TOLD US He is the vine and we’re the branches, and that we must “abide in Him.” Why? “Because,” He said, “without Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NKJV)
Every day we fail to live out our faith, every time we “quench” the Holy Spirit, whenever we fail to show the “Fruit of the Spirit,” we are reminded that without the guiding, sustaining light of Jesus Christ, we will fail.
We are living testaments of the apostle Paul’s lament in Romans 7:15 (NASB20), when he complained about doing those things he hates: “for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate.”
Yup. Got it. That’s not just Paul. That’s me, too.
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
THERE IS A BETTER WAY, and we know that. Our text source gives us the answer. The God of hope and joy can so fill our hearts with peace that the overflow, the excess, the over abundance that God gifts us can reach everyone around us.
We can’t help it. If our hearts are filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, “the peace that passes all understanding,” then even in the worst circumstances of daily living, we should feel God’s presence, and our lives should shine in the darkness.
Paul tells us in Romans 12:12 (ESV): “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Again, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NET): “Constantly pray.”
Just a quick, “Help me, Lord Jesus. I need patience.” “Help me, Lord, to feel the joy of your presence.” “Be with me now, Father God. I need to feel bathed in Your love.”
ASKING A QUICK PRAYER
WITH JUST A TWEAK, Danny and Marcy can rescue their morning.
“Danny! The gar—” Marcy starts, then stops to shoot up a short plea: “O God, my Savior, quiet my soul.” Then, she says, “Danny, Honey, can you check this garbage disposal for me? It’s not working.”
“Not now!” Danny exclaims, cursing under his breath. Then he stops and prays: “Lord, give me patience. I love my wife.” Now, he can say: “I’ll be right in.”
He can leave the Internet problem alone for the moment. With a heart filled with Grace, he’ll prefer helping his wife with her needs. The Internet can wait.
THERE’S A NEW SONG in the Contemporary Christian Music field, called “Make Room,” featuring Elyssa Smith & Community Music (©2020, Curb|Word Entertainment). Here is the refrain:
“And I will make room for you. To do whatever You want to. To do whatever you want to. This is where I lay it down. You are all I’m chasing now. This is my surrender. This is my surrender.”
I like this song because, well, the melody is hypnotically peaceful, and the lyrics call me to “lay it down,” and tell me “this is my surrender.”
When I surrender, I live in harmony with the Holy Spirit within me, and that gives Him the room to bless me to overflowing, so that, out of His abundance, I can share my blessing with others, to be a blessing to them.
Without Him, as Jesus constantly reminds me, I can do nothing.
Dear Heavenly Father, our creator, our sustainer, our source of anything and everything that is good in our lives, we praise You, we bless You, we adore You. Thank You, Lord of all, for Your love and Your forgiveness and mercy. Help us to shine in the darkness, dear Lord, spilling over in compassion and love, forgiveness and grace so that we can touch the lives around us, to be a blessing to them as You have blessed us. We lift this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. AMEN