“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work….”
In cold weather the transmission in our car doesn’t shift very well. Sometimes it doesn’t shift at all, especially when I first try to start off. My mechanic said it was partly due to the low quality of oil here. My wife suggested that being less forceful in trying to shift might make it go easier.
Having begun to learn that I don’t have the last answer to everything, I accepted the mechanic’s suggestion to let the transmission warm up for a few minutes in the morning, and took my wife’s suggestion to be gentler in changing gears. The combination works quite well.
Then the Lord brought to mind the fact that relations among people are like my car’s transmission. When you want to help someone change a bit, it helps to warm things up first with prayer and grace, and then be gentle in helping them “shift.” Those who know my forceful, straightforward character can see from this little insight that the Lord Himself is doing some “shifting” in my own approach to life, and I’m thankful for it—as are others!
The real source of this insight came through a prayer that I use each morning for my family: “Lord help us to bear Fruit of the Spirit today, to take up and use the grace that you have given us,” and then I’d go on to name each part of the Fruit of the Spirit.
Through this the Lord helped me to see that often we each have an overriding need to bear one particular aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit, so I would pray that each of us would take up what the Spirit was showing us we lacked: for Nat self-control, for Josh kindness, for Barbara peace, and as you may guess, for me gentleness.
So God has answered my prayer by using my balky transmission to get my attention and illustrate what I need to do. Praise God that He works so specifically, so individually, so personally to transform us precisely where we need it right now!
Prayer: “Lord, doing things in my own strength and wisdom is so fruitless; work in me to bring out the fruit of the Spirit; help me to cooperate with you in this. Amen.”
–From the devotional book EDIFIED!