I’ve Been Changed
It has been too long since I wrote. I just returned from visiting my family in North Carolina and our church obligations have had our household hopping. I’ve been making notes, so I have plenty that will be rolling out.
I have felt a difference in myself for sometime now. Those who have read the blog from the beginning can probably see that change unfold. I was not sure if I was “producing fruit”. Could others see Christ in me? I feel a little uneasy to utter that, I am a work in progress. The Holy Spirit convicts me as I grow and urges me to prune the dead, earthly components from my life that are weighing me down. I know it seems to happen for some overnight, for me it is a process. I am a process person by nature and I believe God works with us as we are and in who we are in terms of personality and such.
How Do I Know I’ve Been Changed
Some of the indicators of change are personal. The things I think about through the day and the thoughts I push away. Other things are noticed by my immediate family/household. I was a probation officer specializing with gang members and I worked in a prison…foul language did not really bother me, in fact it was part of the vernacular in communicating with some of my clients. Now that same language makes me feel uncomfortable. When I slip, which I admit is usually in traffic, I feel a penetrating guilt for not controlling my words.
The language and message of music and movies are something that I have been more recently convicted about too. We are a crank-up-the-music-and-drive kind of family. I like a broad spectrum of music. Fellow officers sometimes got frustrated riding with me because you could bounce from Johnny Cash to Snoop Dogg back to classical music, then some Metallica, followed by a little Garth Brooks. You could get whiplash from how quickly genres changed in my vehicle. So on out trip to North Carolina, of course Devon and I were cranking up the music, car dancing and having a great time. Then a song came on with filthy language and a message I did not want to encourage in my son. Another song played a little later by Metallica, “The God That Failed”. This one was turned off swiftly…it was so unsettling to my spirit. Shortly after that we were on the “Passion” soundtrack and finally I found a KLOVE station. My phone has been edited now, in fact I did that at about 2 AM after we arrived in NC. I removed ALOT of music.
I have been asking the Holy Spirit to convict me and God to search my heart for anything that is impeding my obedience or hindering the blessings He has for me. I was always told to be careful what you ask or wish for…you might get it. I am thankful my prayers were heard and that I am able to prune away what should have never grown.
There Is Fruit
We had several amazing family moments during my North Carolina visit. My Grandmother, Mother, Devon and I all sang/played at the Fire Station for Sunday School. Four generations praising God in music. The look on my Grandfather’s face was priceless. My Grandmother, finally has a grandchild that is a musical prodigy. She enjoyed teaching Devon on the piano and working with him as he played guitar. Devon learned how to play some good old Southern Gospel. His musical education is complete…lol.
Those moments will be treasures for me for many years. A comment from my Mother will forever be in my heart. She said it was great to for us all to sing together again, but she could tell a difference…my heart was right. (That’s paraphrased). She saw it. My Mom saw the fruit in my life. She could tell that God was first in my life. She could see the difference since Jesus had become more than a fire insurance plan. WOW.
Here are a couple of take aways…
- When you see the Fruit of the Holy Spirit blossoming in someone’s life, let them know you see it. I’m not telling you to flatter them…we don’t need that. It was so encouraging and confirming to hear that my Mom saw change in me. We all need confirmation.
- I did not question that God was dealing with me on the music. It was not edifying in its message. It was derogatory toward a group of people, women in most cases. The language was appalling. (I would have been mortified for my Pastors or Parents to hear it.) Listen and obey…do not hesitate in obeying God.
- I still have my quirks. Sanctification does not include a personality transplant. God uses my talents for His glory and He uses all my quirks and personality traits for His good.
- When you ask, you shall receive. Pruning away the negative music, movies etc is only part of the direction God is giving me. I have felt heavily convicted to push to get into a shape other than round. My body is the temple and I have not treated my temple well…I am working on that too.
Final thought, if you know God is calling you to do something…start now. Maybe you suspect he is calling you to do something…start preparing now. If we are prayerfully moving, God is going to direct us. I know my purpose or calling has to do with writing. I do not know the scope, but I have to write. So I am dedicating more time to blog and to work on my book and to research yet another project. God will direct my efforts and I will be ready and where he needs me to be.
Be encouraged. Be Fruitful. Remember you are a Child of God.
“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NLT)