Those who challenge us the most 

Galations 5:22-23

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,[a] 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  1 John 3:15 ESV

The holidays are fast approaching.  We all have those relatives that are unique in their own way.  They probably think the same thing about us, and if the truth be told, they are probably right!  Tonight, my husband was watching a game show by the name of “A Minute to Win It“.  I had never seen this game show before. 

There were four contestants.  They were all sisters.  Two were sisters from one family and the other two sisters were their opponents and not related to them.  The first set of girls had to go through next to impossible tasks to win a certain amount of money and stay in the game.  They didn’t make it.  At that point the other two sisters had to work as a team and do more virtually impossible tasks to stay in the game and win a large amount of money.  They were rooting for each other, yelling out encouraging words, hugging and jumping up and down and hugging some more.  There was no sibling rivalry that could be seen.  I looked at one particular set of siblings and thought, “I wonder if they always get along this well, or they are finding a way to work together because 75,000 dollars is at stake?  I have no idea why I thought this, but not only did I think it, I pondered it!

It is amazing to me how people will say, “I just cannot be around so and so!  She just gets on my last nerve!”  But I wonder if I offered you a million dollars to be with that person for a few days and you both knew you had to not only get along, but do nice things for one another, go a step beyond the expected or forfeit the money, it would be amazing how well you could not only get along, but actually be loving in the process.  You would be waiting on each other hand and foot!  You would find things you could both enjoy!  You would find ways to be polite!  Actually, you might just end up being true friends! 

What happened?  You used self-control.  Suddenly “I cannot” turns into “What can I do to be nice (and win that money).”  I put  that last part in parentheses because of the shamefulness of it!  We don’t want to actually admit we have incredible self-control if greed is at the root of it!  We have self-control if we are born again Christians!  It is one of the fruit of the Spirit!  When the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts, He brings all the attributes of the personality of God because He IS God living on the inside of us! 

If you were having a spat with your spouse and the pastor showed up for a visit, it would be amazing how the words, “You idiot!” would suddenly turn into “Let me help you with that, dear!”  We impress who we want to!  We use GREAT self-control to do it!  I have proven to you, you do have self-control whether you feel you do or not.  Now let me prove another point that is not nearly as pleasant!  Our second scripture says if we hate our “brother”, whether is it is our real brother or another Christian brother you face harsh and stiff consequences!  You are not forfeiting mere money that is easily gotten and just as easily lost, but you are in danger of losing something much more valuable, and that is heaven as your eternal home!  Suddenly the stakes are much higher!  Higher than we can even imagine!!

No wonder the Bible tells us not to return insult for insult!  No wonder it says to bless those who persecute us!  That, dear friend, takes self-control and we have it!  Losing out on reward in heaven is much worse than losing a mere 75,000 dollars!  You may say, “Well, Juliana that is a lot of money and carries great worth!”  So is making heaven our home!  In fact, so much more so it is incomparable!

When you get together this holiday season, or just in everyday life pretend this is a contest and you are being secretly watched and surprise yourself with your self-control.  See how much better you feel even  physically.   Anger is a true detriment to your health.  Your adrenalin pumps, your heart rate goes up and you can actually have a heart attack from anger alone!  How silly and unnecessary!

Strive to be your best for God.  Those you just “could not stand to be around” may carry hidden blessings you never gave them a chance to share with you!  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Blessings, dear reader!!  I will see you soon!

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