Our bags are nearly packed, except for the essentials; 24 hours until we hit the road. We’ve taken great care to make lists and ensure that we have everything we’ll need for a month on the road. But it occurred to me that there are some pretty important things that didn’t necessarily make the list, but God forbid that they be left behind.
Love: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
We’re going to be encountering a lot of people in the next month, and we can leave an impression all across the nation. What kind of impression we leave is completely up to us. We can show that we love each other and are so happy to have this time together. Or we can act like these are the last people on earth with whom we’d want to spend a month traveling. I vote for the former. That’s only going to come by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Joy: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song” (Psalm 28:7).
So many times we try to find joy in our circumstances, but that doesn’t work very well. Many times, our circumstances aren’t exactly what we want them to be. Our joy has got to come from the Lord. If we find that truth, there will be more laughing than bickering along the way.
Peace: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).
In my mind, peace is the opposite of war. War often comes because someone else has something that we want. Maybe it comes from fear that we won’t end up with all we need. Resting in the fact that God has given us all that we need will bring peace to our hearts–and to our journey.
Patience: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).
This is a biggie. It’s like forgetting your toothbrush if you leave this one behind. Nothing feels right. We must overlook the accidentally kicked seat or whatever other minor irritation would cause us to focus on our circumstances and not on the Lord.
Kindness: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
The watchword around our house lately has been “kindness.” Show kindness whenever you have a chance. Say kind words, do kind deeds. That will become even more important as we spend hours on end in a minivan. But how good and pleasant it will be.
Goodness: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
This characteristic speaks to me of being Christ-like. The hackneyed “what would Jesus do” should always be evident in our lives. It’s not just about doing the right thing; it’s about being the right person–the one God wants you to be.
Faithfulness: “It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth” (3 John 1:3).
This is about doing what God wants us to do, and always following through. It’s about showing good faith. Be a person of your word.
Gentleness: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5).
Boys will be boys, but a spirit of gentleness will avoid a lot of pain, especially to one’s little sister.
Self-control: “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled” (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
‘Nuff said. Keep control of yourself. Don’t react. Be proactive to make sure that your heart and your mind are constantly fixed on Jesus.
The fruit of the Spirit. I can pack all the underwear I want, but if I forget to keep the Holy Spirit in charge of my life, then nothing else I’ve packed will do me any good.
Thankful today for:
420: the opportunity to host another baptism
421. the generosity of friends
422. google maps
423. reliable cell phone service
424. the two upcoming weddings in the family
425. good, clean family movies