But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
My life is rich with friends and acquaintances who have discovered the key to doing life well. They demonstrate godly maturity no matter what, and they inspire and encourage others to do the same often unaware that they’re doing so.
For instance, some have weathered storms such as the loss of a child, grandchild, or spouse. They’ve experienced great sorrow, and yet they radiate joy.
Some live with debilitating chronic pain with no hope for physical wellness yet they possess a tangible peace.
Others have been sorely misunderstood and mistreated but they’ve responded with kindness. They would never dream of retaliation.
And some model goodness through and through. They don’t have a selfish bone in their body. They love to serve and give and bring smiles to other people’s faces.
These folks have discovered the key to doing life well. Here’s their secret: They know that the Christian faith isn’t about working hard to please God and meet certain Christian qualifications; it’s about letting Christ live His life in and through them. That mindset changes everything about the way they do life.
J.I. Packer, author of Knowing God, writes:
Love is the Christlike reaction to people’s malice.
Joy is the Christlike reaction to depressing circumstances.
Peace is the Christlike reaction to troubles, threats, and invitations to anxiety.
Patience is the Christlike reaction to all that is maddening.
Kindness is the Christlike reaction to all who are unkind.
Goodness is the Christlike reaction to bad people and bad behavior.
Faithfulness and gentleness are the Christlike reactions to lies and fury.
Self-control is the Christlike reaction to every situation that goads you to lose your cool and hit out.
The more Christ fills us, the more control He has over our minds and ultimately our attitudes and behaviors. We respond to life’s challenges in a way that’s not the norm because we’re operating within the supernatural realm. We experience a strength that’s not our own, a peace that passes human understanding, and a joy that’s impossible apart from His presence.
What’s the secret to doing life well? Christ in us, through us, around us.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
(J.I. Packer – Knowing God’s Purpose for Your Life, page 289, Regal Books 2004).