Now that I’m living (for a brief time) in my hometown, many memories are flooding me as we drive to different places and do different things. Like a movie reel they parade before my eyes. Some of them are good. Others aren’t. Then I noticed that even though I have become a different person as I’ve grown, both in age and my walk with Jesus, I sometimes have default reactions to things when I’m in my hometown surrounded by all the familiar things. It spurred an internal dialogue between Abba and me.
What I began to see was this, I must learn how to investigate what foundation I’m responding from. Am I responding from my new identity in Christ? The one where I am being transformed by the renewing of my mind, and I am a co-heir with Christ, which means I’m fully accepted. Or am I responding from my old self, who was insecure and carried a spirit of rejection? It’s shocking to realize that I must learn how to walk here in the confidence I’ve gained while living elsewhere.
It’s been very sobering. It’s also caused me to realize that I must be more deliberate and use that fruit of the Spirit we keep circling back around to, self-control. There is that word again…self-control.
My responses are my responsibility. Period. End of story. I am responsible for how I act and react. Nobody else can force me to have a negative or positive response. I must operate in self-control and stay close with the Father, to train my responses.
Yes, train them. Have you ever thought of it that way?
We can actually train ourselves to respond gently instead of forcefully. We can train ourselves to respond in kindness instead of being rude. It’s really a choice.
Some of us have deceived ourselves into thinking, “It’s just the way I am.” Which, by the way, is a form of blame shifting. That’s like saying, the whole world must cater to my faults because I am unwilling to change. Let that soak into your heart for a minute. It’s truth. God did not place me in this world to make sure others tow the line. No, He put me here with a purpose and if I will focus on walking out my calling and letting Him have continual access to my heart, then I will begin to desire to be a light and to spread encouragement and joy into the world, instead of correcting it.
This is a hard word, but it’s burning in my heart and I know it’s from the Father. I pray He wraps this word in a gentleness that makes it palatable to your heart. I am not condemning anyone. I am simply stirring up a place that many of us deny exists. God wants more for your life than to live bound by rejection and fear. He wants you to partner with Him. He wants to use you to spread word of His Kingdom into the earth. You are necessary.
Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Correct me, O Lord, but with justice; not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing. Jeremiah 10:23-24
Finally, all of you, be likeminded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9