The Little Ones are Following You

“But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control: against such things there is no law.“ Galatians 5: 22-23

“To be filled with the Spirit means that the believer will demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in his or her life.”

Billy Graham Christian Workers Handbook, p. 158

We had our annual tailgate Sunday at our church this past week. I always love being able to visit with our connect groups and letting our kids run free on the church campus. It is so refreshing to watch each parent take their turn going out to the field and being the one to bring the kids back in.

It’s a subconscious thing. There is no “Hey tag your it”, it just happens and its a beautiful thing to watch. When my turn came around I went out to stop some kids from venturing into a sketchy little spot that I knew if the little ones followed, it would be catastrophic.

I want to also add I had no voice. We had come off our women’s retreat and between Louisiana weather, sinus issues and singing all weekend I could barely muster a whisper.

As I walked out to the kids, I had to get real close to them so they could hear me. The boys were actually not doing anything wrong and in any other situation they could have played where they were, but there were little ones all around who were watching and wanted to go with them. When I got to them and asked them kindly to would come back in so the little ones wouldn’t follow them, they turned politely and listened to my strained request.

Of course they sweetly obeyed and came right in and we never had another issue.

As I left that afternoon I thought about what I had told them and realized that is exactly what God is telling us when we have to refrain from some things because certain people are watching.

It’s easy to just say, “It’s none of their business what I am doing, I’m not hurting anyone…etc”

That is not true.

That is where I want to go with the love part of the fruit of the Spirit today. Love is a topic that could go in many directions. There are infinite amount of ways to show Christian love. When you refrain from doing something you really want to do because you care about the little ones around, that is a sacrificial love that is 100% a fruit of the Spirit.

Christians who are young in their faith can’t easily combat satan. It takes time to learn how to endure and recognize when the enemy is attacking.

Those kids never once doubted my instruction, they knew those young ones could very easily stumble to a devastating end if they followed them.

“Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble” 1 Corinthians 8:13

There are some things that are not “wrong” for us to do, but we must analyze each scenario and ask for guidance on rather or not that task will cause another to stumble.

This is love.

Love that puts the well being of others above our own desires. Those sweet boys probably thought “Man that’s not fair, I wanna go throw rocks in that creek” but they turned around and respected the elder that told them, not right now.

Are you weighing your decisions by the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Right and wrong isn’t always black and white but praise the Lord we have an elder we can look to 24/7; 365. He will help us know when we need to step back and look for the little ones following us.

Dear Lord,

Forgive me for the times I have dived head first into creeks without a care as to who was following me. Multiple times thought out my life I have taken no regard for the ones around me and how my actions effect their walk with you. Lord I pray conviction on the reader. I pray you would speak truth in their life and show them where they need to be exhibiting this type of Christian love. Love that is produced by your Spirit in their life. Thank you for bringing me away from the lifestyle that does not honor you and into the truth that can spill into the lives of others. I love you.

Amen.

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Agree to disagree

There is a trend circulating in our culture that vexes me.

If you don’t agree, you can’t get along.

I truly hope to teach my girls the complete opposite of this. I know without a doubt my Jesus didn’t live by this motto.

In Mark 2, the Pharisees chastise Jesus for “breaking bread on the sabbath” Jesus’s response is so beautiful.

“Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27 NLT

In today’s society, I’m sure a lot of you could fill in the blanks for common responses. Take a hike, mind your own business, who made you God, expletives, followed by a walk away and furious attitude towards the accuser.

The Pharisees CONSTANTLY tried to pin Jesus down with laws. He healed someone on the sabbath, and in response the Pharisees plotted to kill him. (Mark 3)

Jesus healed, taught truth, and loved ALL. Don’t you all think he disagreed with the Pharisees?Their actions were irrational and self-serving, but Jesus never once responded with malice. He was always willing to accept them with open arms.

In Luke 19 Jesus came upon Zacchaeus. He was a rich tax collector and was despised by many. In fact when Jesus asked Zacchaeus to come down from the tree, their response was “he has gone to the house of a notorious sinner” (Luke 19:7)

I don’t know the whole story surrounding this so called “notorious sinner”, but Jesus did. He knew all about his wealth and how he achieved it. Rather it be honorable or not, Jesus went to his home. This gesture turned the heart of this wealthy man, and he was saved!

Imagine what would happen if we as a body of Christians would look beyond our fellow believers actions, words or lifestyle, and show grace.

Do you have people in your life that you keep at arms length because of who they voted for?

You got the vaccine, but Danny Doright refused and you are not gonna speak to him or go around him because he made a different choice than you?

What about your female cousin who has a girlfriend she wants to marry? You wouldn’t dare be seen with her because people might think x..y…z.

That is not the way Jesus would act. Jesus would have dinner with the Biden voting, trump supporting, unvaccinated, gay human! He would show them love. He would be there during the times that inevitably get tough in their life.

We are called to love one another. The scripture doesn’t tell us to only love the people we agree with. We are to love all. Our love speaks louder than words. When you show Jesus’s love, people change. People soften and become more sensitive to the call of the Holy Spirit.

This is exactly what happened with Zacchaeus. Jesus didn’t walk in his house and tell him everything he was doing wrong. He loved him and that love softened his heart.

It is not our job to save someone’s soul, it is our job to live what the scripture has taught us and let God do the rest.

Look beyond what you don’t agree with in a person. Look into their eyes, their lives and try and see their side. You’ll find their heart and be able to find how you can serve them.

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” 1 John 3:18-19 NLT