A guest post on Peace by Traci Rhoades
. . .
When We Let The Peace of the Spirit Guide Us
Do you ever wish Sunday mornings could be declared a no-fly zone?
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
It was a Sunday morning, and I had no more than shut the door to my vehicle, when my phone dinged that I had a new text message. I looked at it quickly, and was instantly irritated. Thinking back, I don’t remember what the text even said (there’s a lesson there), but it left me fuming.
My shield of faith felt far away, but oh, how my flesh felt near. I started responding to the text verbally, with only myself to hear me, in the car. Maybe you’ve been there?
Here I was, on my way to worship God in his house: it was Communion Sunday, and I was also teaching children’s Sunday School. Suddenly, my heart was far from ready. I’d already prayed morning prayers, I’d read my Bible, and had my coffee. One text took away all the peace these things had helped usher into my morning.
What else was there I could I do in that 15-minute car ride to work through this heart issue I was facing?
I cranked up the worship music – loud – because I happened to be attending church alone that morning. Again, out loud, I let God know what I thought of the text I had received. Finally, I prayed.
It took a few minutes, but the Spirit did overcome my feelings. I don’t know if it was the song lyrics, the one-sided conversation with God (likely it wasn’t that), the prayer or time itself, but I settled down. By the time I arrived at church, the Holy Spirit’s peace had washed over me anew. My smile for the greeters was genuine. I was prepared for worship and to give my gifting of teaching back as an offering. I took Communion that morning, thankful I had not wronged a brother in my earlier reaction. I had given God my frustrations and the matter was settled.
Growing up, we used to sing a children’s song at our church, “He’s Still Working On Me, to make me what I ought to be.” The first verse talks about a sign that should be on our hearts, stating don’t judge yet because we’re not finished. Wouldn’t you like a sign like that? I’d wear it.
Growing in Peace is a Process
I’m learning and praise God, my healthy response time is faster than it used to be. I’m getting really good at realizing when I’m about to respond in the flesh, and I let out an internal scream to the Holy Spirit, “Help!”
The fruit of the Spirit we’re promised in Galatians 5:22-23 goes on display. The world sees the spirit’s fruit of peace even before I fully feel it.
I got it right that Sunday morning in my car. By ushering in the Spirit’s peace, my shield of faith went right back up. Fiery dart averted. What if I hadn’t handled it well? What if I’d sent back a snarky text in response? What if I’d gotten to Sunday School and been short with those kids? What if I still lacked the spirit’s peace and obediently refrained from the blessing of taking Communion? What if I had turned my car around and said forget church today?
When you need it most, may the spirit’s peace be with you as well.
Thank you for the Holy Spirit. He never tires of helping us along. For those times when we handle situations wrong, and our flesh does the responding, Lord, forgive us. When peace, your peace that passes understanding, feels far away, may we stop and ask the Holy Spirit for help. It’s always available for the asking. May his fruit be evermore abundant in our lives.
. . .
Traci writes at her kitchen table in rural Michigan. She and her husband are modern homesteaders; parenting a daughter, growing a garden, and raising a variety of farm animals. Traci has been called a gatherer; forming a community at her blog, www.tracesoffaith.com, who figuratively gathers around wooden church pews in a big, glorious cathedral in the country. Together, they tell church stories to remind us there is more of Jesus to be found when we learn from one another.