Last Friday, I challenged ACW Blog readers to ASK, LISTEN, and FOLLOW.
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Listen for His instructions.
I have attempted the challenge myself. Is today’s Carol unrecognizable from last week’s Carol? No….but I can see some progress in my sin habits. It’s uncomfortable to share these with you, because these are areas that I’d rather not let the whole world see. I’d rather you see the polished person I bring out in public…but that wouldn’t help me or you.
One sin God has been bringing to my attention recently is grumpiness. (Yes, there are lots more…but we’ll deal with this one today.)
Before the Challenge, I often blamed my grumpiness on circumstances: the house is a mess, my to-do list is too long, the kids aren’t cooperating, etc. One morning, as I was walking the trash out to the street, I was in another grumpy frame of mind. I think it was because the kids didn’t do something they were supposed to do. God brought to mind the fruit of the Spirit.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” –Galatians 5:22 NLT
Hmmm. Grumpiness and joy are polar opposites. So the problem wasn’t with my circumstances. The problem was with how I was relating (or not relating) to the Holy Spirit. If I was truly letting Him control me, I would have been joyful, not grumpy.
Then there was Sunday morning…I felt like I was under attack. I didn’t want to go to church. The kids didn’t want to wake up. They didn’t want to eat breakfast quickly. They wanted to wear the wrinkled clothes that they had left lying in a wad on their bedroom floors. (I’m not strict on church attire, but I draw the line at looking like you just crawled out of your dirty laundry basket!) I didn’t want to play piano so soon after being gone for three weeks. I didn’t want to be sociable. You get the picture. As I tried to get the kids into the van on time, I found my grumpiness spilling out into my speech.
“Please change my attitude, God. I know You want me to be here. Please use me to bless others in spite of myself. Please give me a vision of what You are doing here.”
Suddenly, an idea planted itself in my head while I was sitting at the piano between songs:
What if a few people were to get together before the Sunday morning services to pray?
What if we could do battle against darkness on our knees for 10-15 minutes before church starts?
What if God could use our prayers to bring more people to Him?
Our readers represent many different churches in Alaska and in the lower 48.
What if each of us asked a friend to pray with us before church starts?
What if we invite the Holy Spirit to get busy in our hearts before we attend formal worship?
What if we stopped just “attending” church and starting “being” the church?
What if _________?
So let’s extend the challenge….
Continue to ASK, LISTEN, and FOLLOW.
Then, ask at least ONE person to pray with you before your church’s worship service…
(In case you were wondering, all my Sunday morning grumpiness disappeared with the “What if” questions!!)