Recently I threw a dinner party and love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control all came. As the last of my invited guests arrived I realized that I had just enough space for everyone and I made a mental note to think more carefully about how many guests I could host next time.
Everyone as getting on well and the party was in full swing when there was a knock at the door. All the guests who I had invited had come and so I couldn’t imagine who it could be.
I opened the door saw anger and he was asking to come in. I began telling him he wasn’t invited but then he reminded me of the thing that had happened earlier that day. I had been so angry with a work colleague and although they deserved plenty of anger I managed to stay calm and work through the problem with them. As anger shouted at me, I replayed what had happened in my mind I began to wonder if I had been too soft in letting go of my anger so easily. I decided that perhaps a little bit of anger was okay and so I let him in but then I realized that I had a problem, as there were not enough seats. If I wanted anger to stay then I would have to ask someone to leave and as things looked a little awkward between kindness and anger, I asked kindness to leave.
The party carried on but things felt strained and anger was acting in a weird way. Everyone was talking and mixing well but he kept trying to dominate the conversation and to remind me that I deserved to be angry, after all I HAD BEEN WRONGED! He was even suggesting ways that I could retaliate and although love was also reminding me to forgive anger KEPT SHOUTING!
The party didn’t feel much fun anymore and then there was a knock at the door. AS I opened it, Jealousy was there and she wanted to come in. She pointed at the neighbours houses and their possessions and whispered ‘why don’t you have those things,after all you deserve them’. I had to agree that I ought to have more stuff, after all I’m a good guy who is good, loving and kind. You’re right I said as I invited her in but then I remembered my problem, not enough seats. Who could I ask to leave? I thought for a moment about anger, after all he had been pretty disruptive but then he began shouting something new. ‘YOUR NEIGHBOURS HAVE SO MUCH, IT IS NOT FAIR, YOU SHOULD BE ANGRY ABOUT THIS’. As I was thinking about all the stuff I didn’t have I did begin to feel angry. Patience began to explain why I didn’t need everything now but anger started shouting again. A short while later I asked patience to leave.
The story could go on, but I hope you get the point.
What do we want controlling us?
Which influences do we want in our lives and which do we need to tell to leave?
If you would like to consider this theme more than you might find these verses from Galatians 5 helpful:
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.