One of my goals for the new year is to memorize more scripture. When I was a little girl in Sunday school and Children’s Church and Wednesday night youth, I memorized a LOT of scripture. I didn’t just know God’s word, but I knew where to find it and how to reference it and had it hidden in my pocket when I needed it.
As an adult, I still spend time with God and know His word, sure. But I could certainly do better actively making an effort to know scripture backward and forward and “hiding His word in my heart so that I might not sin against Him.”
In an effort to have an ever-present reminder to meditate on scripture, I have begun setting the lock screen on my phone to different scriptures and keeping them there until I memorize them. This week, I had Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Against such things, there is no law. If we want to look like Jesus, if we want to bear His fruit, we can never have enough love, joy, peace, patience, and so on…
So this morning, having conquered the memorization of this scripture, I changed out the lock screen.
And then… in one fateful call with a satellite TV customer service representative who was not kind, I blew about half of the fruits off the tree. I generally hate confrontation, and yet, I got off the phone after a screaming match with the woman and my blood pressure was through the roof. (Tell the truth and shame the devil, right?)
After a few minutes off the phone and several deep breaths, I realized I had fallen short—in peace, in patience, in kindness, in gentleness, and in self-control. Just hours after conquering the scripture, I had succumbed to the simple trap the devil had set before me. I could almost hear his taunting laughter in my ear.
It seems somewhat silly. Such a petty failing on my part. Nonetheless, there were things to be learned from my mishandling of the situation.
First, we have never arrived. In the moment, I did not show very many glimpses of the fruit of the Spirit. But I will get up and try harder next time to keep my cool and show His love. We are always a work in progress. And that’s okay. We simply have to keep trying to progress. And every moment is another opportunity to be better than the last.
Second, the devil will not sit idly by while you make an attempt to level up your relationship with God. He will do his best to throw stumbling blocks in your way rather than rest and relax while you become a mighty force to be reckoned with. This is why the bible tells us to be alert and vigilant because the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Pay attention and stay prepared. One simple act to try to gain more knowledge of the scripture, and he was floundering giving his feeble efforts to throw me off track.
Lastly, every moment is an opportunity for a lesson. Next time, I will do better. In hindsight, I can see the mistakes I should have had the foresight to avoid. And I am more aware of my shortcomings in this moment than I was an hour ago. So I get up, I fight to be better, and I stand in His grace and mercy which make every moment new.
If the devil seems to be attacking you at every turn, you must be a threat that he won’t let slide. Be alert. Be vigilant. Be smarter than the enemy because you’ve got all of heaven on your side. Keep moving forward and make every effort to live every moment more like Jesus because grace gets up again…
(Also, brb, gotta change my lock screen back to the fruit of the spirit!)