Do you sometimes have trouble getting enough sleep? What do you do when your sleep schedule gets disrupted–when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to at bedtime? How do you respond when someone else’s bedtime emergency throws a monkey wrench into your day at the last minute? When you think you’re going to sleep in the morning, but your child–who’s been in bed for hours–gets up at their normal hour, whilst you feel like you’ve barely closed your eyes? Do you blow your top? Do you lash out at the offending culprit with all the fury he who deprives you of your necessary rest deserves? Or do you use the moment to allow the Holy Spirit of God to control you?
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)
We normally don’t think of today’s verse in the context of Christ-like behavior under challenging circumstances, but that is exactly what the Sprit of God in us can accomplish–if we yield ourselves to Him. It is certainly true that God “…grants sleep to those he loves,” (Psalm 127:2 NIV) yet at the same time there will be occasions when we will be confronted with a character-evoking moment. And what we call true character is of Christ–of His Spirit.
Remember the fruit of the Spirit list?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV) Am I truly evidencing these qualities in my life–even when I’m sleep-deprived–and especially to those nearest and dearest to me? Or does my family see someone quite different from the public persona I reveal to everyone else?
The truth of the matter is that we who say we’re Christians are witnesses–“…you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV) Whether we realize it or not; whether we’re feeling great or coming down with something; whether we’ve gotten enough rest or still feel like we need the second half of our night; whether we’re on top of things or our life is falling apart–we are witnesses to what God can do in a human being through the power of His Spirit.
Especially when our life is falling apart. Keep in mind that the truest evidence of what God can do in us is what He does under adverse conditions. Everyone can be nice when things are great, but who are you–what are you really like–when they’re not? Are you walking by the power of the Holy Spirit of God–or do you make excuses for yourself?
God is amazing, and what He can do in His people is amazing, but it’s not going to happen in me if I resist His Spirit and grieve Him. Remember, I am to “…count it all joy when…[I] fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of…[my] faith produces patience.” I am to “…let patience have its perfect work, that…[I] may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NKJV)
This is not to say I should live foolishly and wear my body down, or not train my children to respect others’ need for sleep. But it does pertain to my witness when I’m not at my best.
So, how do I respond to the monkey wrenches of life? Hopefully, by remembering that “…those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24 NKJV)
Dear Lord Jesus,
Help me let patience have its perfect work that I may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing! Amen.