Do you remember that time sitting on that park bench in Michigan and we had a big fight and all these people were walking by?
I can remember it because I was crying and I was trying not to cry because I was in public and people were walking by. We should have gone somewhere private, but it just erupted in this public park. You are mad at me.
I'm a pastor in the city there. So anyway, all I know is I was so mad. What was it about? Who knows?
I mean, I have no idea, but I know I was right and you were wrong. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. Yes, you are.
And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. Here's why I remember it so distinctly is I was so mad. And in the same moment in my brain, I'm like, I need to be tender. She needs me to be tender and I should be, even though I'm mad and whether I'm right or wrong, I have to be tender right now. And I know I have to respond the right way.
And I teach this stuff, you know? And I remember thinking, I can't do it. I can't do it. I cannot change my heart to be the man and husband that you deserve in this moment.
I cannot do it. So I was just sitting there and it was just silence. You were just crying and I'm just sitting there.
We're not looking at each other. And I was just looking at these people walking by and I'm just. And I'm like, I'll never forget.
Which I'll have to say, too. Like I hardly ever cry. Yeah. And so that's why I knew it's like she's crying. It's like once a year, that means I really blew it. I mean, and I was so crushed a tender man right now.
Yes. And I'm that man and I couldn't be that man. And I just remember just this quiet little prayer of God. I cannot be tender and I need to be tender.
Would you give me the power to be tender? And he did. I mean, it wasn't instantaneous, but as I sat there, I was like, my heart softened up and I turned to you. OK, I'm just going to say you were super sweet. You remember? Yes, like because I mean, at that point we weren't fighting that often.
But this was a really big one. And I remember feeling incredibly hurt, rejected. And I didn't expect you to be tender because I knew that you were hurt, too. And so when you responded that way, like it melted my heart. Yeah, and the reason I'm bringing it up is, you know, it was another memory of God is real. His spirit lives literally in our temple. We can ask him for his power when we don't have it. And I'm not saying every time it's going to be just like that, but it was just this sweet memory of like, it's real. The fruit of God and the fruit of his spirit is available. And I had kindness, which I couldn't muster up. And so often we don't tap into the power of the living God, living within us through his spirit.
And we just kind of gutted out and try to do it on our own. Yeah, and so you can hear Jessica Thompson. She's over there. I'm like, you guys keep preaching, keep preaching.
But Jessica is back with us. You know what we're talking about. You've written a book about the fruit of the spirit. We're going to talk about it in a minute, but welcome back.
Thank you. Do you guys think anybody was videoing you while you sat there crying? Probably, here's our pastor, it's like they're fighting again.
I mean, I can literally see the smart bench sitting there, because I think we've all experienced moments where we don't want to be who we are, but we don't have the power to change. You know, your book, you've called it How God Loves Us, 40 Days to Discovering His Character in the Fruit of the Spirit. And obviously, you know, I was talking about I needed kindness, which is a fruit of the spirit.
Patience, love. Is that something you've experienced or not experienced? Oh, for sure. And I think like thinking about that verse that talks about the very power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you.
It lives in us. And yet, how often do we just stop in that moment? Not very often. And honestly, it was probably the work of the Holy Spirit to even get you to pray.
Right. So how often do we even stop in that moment and just say, oh, I need your help. I mean, I need just a little bit of tenderness in my heart. You have said that you've taken my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh, but I do not feel that right now. All I feel is this heart of stone. Even in our thought process, oh, I need to ask for help right here.
How different would our lives look if we would just do that? I know I've experienced in those moments where you're aware of your impatience, where you're aware of your unloveliness or unlovingness. If you could just stop and ask, how has God loved me in this moment, when the Holy Spirit has prompted me to do that and I've done that, it breaks your heart in a beautiful way.
Like you said, when He displayed that to you, it just breaks your heart. When your heart is hard and you think, I am loved even still. I think of the scripture, a gentle answer turns away wrath.
Mm-hmm. And I know that I was hurt. I was angry, but I was also broken. But His gentleness, His tenderness, it turned me softer. I'm laughing because I'm like, it wasn't my, it wasn't my tenderness. I mean, I couldn't muster it up.
That's how the Christian life, most of us live it that way. I got to try harder. I got to grunt it out like I'm a tree and I'm an apple tree and they don't go, oh, I need an apple. They connect to the roots. Jesus said, I'm the vine, you're the branches. Yeah. He who bites at me bears much fruit. Yeah. Fruit comes from abiding, but so often we just run away from that or we try to do it in our own strength, it never works. Right.
And so I think the key is for you to say, I realized I couldn't do it myself. Like it's that coming to the end of yourself. I've heard it said that God's office is at the end of our rope.
You know, He just sets up office there. That's good. Yeah. When we come to the end of ourselves, when we get to the point where I'm like, I cannot be nice to this person.
I cannot listen to them talk anymore. When we get to the very end of ourselves and say, you know what? I need your help. That's the moment He meets us, right? That's the moment that He's the closest and He's near and changes our hearts. This just came to my mind and some of our listeners have probably heard this, but I was at the end of my rope. I had gotten in a fight with a teenage son before school.
He wouldn't talk to me on the way to school and I love. I've been there. Yes. And I am one that needs to resolve the conflict. I don't like it to linger. Same.
Yeah. And so I say to him, hey, let's just talk a little bit before you go into the school. He won't look at me.
He won't talk to me. And I pull up to the school. I say, don't get out of the car until we at least just acknowledge one another. You get it? I can see you could be like this. Oh, a hundred percent. Yes. So He looks at me with this look of disgust.
He opens the door and walks into the school. And now I'm like, what? What have you done? Like, you can't do this. You know this.
Right. And I have to be, people are beeping behind me. I'm in the school life. Please tell me you're not holding up the school life. I'm holding it up.
So I don't know if you do that. So finally I go home and I'm thinking, what do I need to do? And this happened. I'm thinking, what do I need to do? And finally, I'm at the end of my rope and I say, God, I have no idea. I need your wisdom. Your spirit lives within me. Give me something.
And I love that James is so practical. If any of you lacks wisdom. Just ask.
Live and ask. Yeah. And so I prayed and God gave me this picture in my head. I went home. I took a piece of paper. I drew a stick figure of a guy and a girl and this brick in between us. And I put it on his desk so he could see it when he got home from school.
So he goes upstairs after school. He sees it, brings it down, and he's laughing like, mom, is this your attempt at artistry? I'm like, well, actually, that is kind of what happened to us today. That's me. That's you. And that brick, that's the fight we had. And he goes, mom, I'm not even mad about that anymore. And I said, I'm not either, but it doesn't mean our conflict is resolved.
Right. I had told them like, CJ, I see parents and their kids. I see husbands and wives all over the country have a fight. They don't talk about it and they build a brick. And then I had this whole line of bricks between us. And I said, I don't want to have any bricks between us. I want to be able to talk through. And when you get married, it's important that you learn how to get rid of the bricks.
And it's so funny, as only a teenager he can be, he says, so, uh, how do we get rid of the brick? You know, it's just one of those moments and it was beautiful, but God gives us wisdom if we will just go to him first and not last. Even if it's last, at least you went to him. Right. And I think too, even in those moments where we feel like I'm going to go to God and then you just still feel like at a loss. Yeah. I think even in those moments, it really is okay just to sit in that discomfort.
Because we don't always get the perfect answer. Sometimes it might be good for our souls to sit in the discomfort of not being able to fix it. Or even to think like, Oh, I'm going to fix it with God's help. Yeah. But to sit in the discomfort of, wow, the situation is broken and I'm desperate for him.
That's a good place. It's a difficult place. And I can't even do anything.
And I can't even do anything. That's a good place for us to sit, to sit in that discomfort because it makes us a humble people and it makes us more reliant on who Jesus is for us. And that changes how we react in relationship. Because if I think I can fix everything, you better believe I'm going to try.
Me too. Is the fruit of the spirit for the Christian, is it almost like if you're not living these? I mean, like it's obvious, maybe not to you, but probably even to you, but definitely to others. Because it's all about relationships. And people are seeing, man, there's no joy in your life.
There's no kindness. It's always the opposite. Is it almost like a flashing dashboard, you know, light on your dashboard.
Do you have a check engine? It's almost like, hey, the fruit of the spirit are markers that you're in Christ and they're not there. Is it something we should look at?
For sure. I mean, if you are living your life, and let me just make this caveat because there is mental illness. And so for me to say, if you're not always a joyful person, there's something wrong with you. There is mental illness that is real. And so I think we need to be careful a little bit here to acknowledge that and to say that there are circumstances and situations that do make it impossible or feeling seemingly impossible.
So I want to make that caveat. But at the same time, I want to say, yeah, if generally speaking, you look at your life and you don't see any of the fruit of the spirit, then I think it would be a good thing and a right thing for you to stop and wonder, like, have I experienced God's goodness? Do I understand the gospel? Do I understand the good news that I'm loved and forgiven and adopted and accepted? Because if you don't understand those things, then it would be very difficult for you to have any of those good things in your life. Two thoughts came to me when you said that. Number one is, it's easy for us to see that our spouse or somebody else doesn't have the fruit of the spirit.
Very easy. But you know what that means? You don't have it.
All you're doing is judging others. They don't have it. You don't have it. But the other thought is it made me think of when our tongue is not saying what we want, whether we're cursing or gossiping or slandering or just cutting people. Or malicious. You don't go do what my mom did to me when I was 13. You don't get a bar of soap and say, I'm going to wash your mouth out with soap after I cursed at the dinner table. I remember thinking, well, that didn't work. She always threatened that she was going to do it.
She finally did it. Guess what? Didn't change my tongue.
No. And Jesus said, the tongue's an overflow of your heart. You were just thinking all the curse words then. You just didn't say anything.
And the only way you're going to change your mouth is it's a heart problem. You're saying the same thing about the fruit. It isn't, I got to get more love. It's like, guess what? You got to go back to the root, which is, do I know Jesus?
Because it's his heart. And if I really am in him and allowing his power in me, it's going to be a natural result. That's what fruit is, right?
Absolutely. Well, I think one of the things that was discouraging to me as a young mom was I wasn't displaying any of it. I was tired. I was grumpy. I mean, if you look at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, 22, and 23, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.
Listen to this one, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I was a disaster. And part of it was just because of the stage of life. Right.
Part of it was I was frustrated in my marriage and I was taking it out on my kids. Mm-hmm. So Jessica, how do we apply that? And do you feel like that even with the parent who's saying, I don't have time to gaze at Jesus.
I am changing diapers and I'm working and I'm trying to get a meal on the table. And how do we do that? Yeah. I mean, and I think the answer would be the same for a mom or a parent who is trying to do those things as it would be for a single person who is listening today. The ability to change does not lie in yourself. And I think that we don't understand just how patient he is towards us.
Mm-hmm. In Isaiah 40, it talks about, and this is a verse that really carried me when my kids were young. Isaiah 40 talks about how he carries those with young close to his heart.
I think it's verse 11. He knows for dust. He understands our frame. He knows our weaknesses. And yet the Bible tells us in Hebrews that he sympathizes with us in our weaknesses.
The help that you need isn't going to come from looking at yourself and thinking, oh, I am such a mess. You're just going to feel more condemnation. The power to change is going to come from looking at a God who says to you, oh, sweetie, I know you're in a hard season. I know that you have been spit up on and peed on and pooped on. I know that you have been mistreated or abused.
And yet I am for you and I love you. Knowing that he looks at us even in the middle of our weaknesses and the Bible says sympathizes with us, oh, that's the beauty to change. That's the help we need. Spurgeon talks about that verse in Hebrews that sympathizes with is if you have two grand pianos in a room and you hit a key on one grand piano, that same string on the other grand piano vibrates.
I don't know if that's true or not, but Spurgeon says. So the idea though, and what he's trying to get at is when something hits you, Jesus feels it. And so for the one who's been looked over for a promotion or the one who's been abused or for the mom or dad who feels like they're at the end of their rope with their kids and they don't have one single moment alone, he feels it with you.
He sympathizes with you. And so when you remember that you won't fall into that self condemnation, right? Like condemnation doesn't change us. Love changes us. The Holy Spirit uses that love to change us.
And so for that person, I would just say, look at him, right? Even if it's just a split second, Lord help me not to be angry, help me to be gentle. Lord, give me a look at your gentleness.
Give me one look at your love. He's faithful to do that for you. And I think it's that like learning to pray all day long, to be in that spirit of prayer. I remember even when our kids were little, I would just pray out loud so that they would see that it's not just church.
This is a relationship. Mom's constantly talking to Jesus. Why does mom always say, God help me? One of the things in your book as you go through the Spirit, and I love all the scripture, but a beautiful part of it too, as you talked about joy of being rejoiced over.
Let's talk about that a little bit. So let me read you this verse from Isaiah 62, 4 through 5. It says this, no longer will they call you deserted or name your land desolate, but you will be called Hephzibah and your land Beulah, for the Lord will take delight in you and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your builder marry you.
As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. I'll get to the verse in a second, but my grandmother on my father's side, we called her Candy Grandma because she always had candy with her. Like she always wanted to have a party. If I ever took my kids over to her house, I would try to go in between a meal because I didn't want her to make us a meal.
But inevitably, like we'd end up having, you know, second lunch or early dinner or whatever. She always, we'd walk into her house and she would say, it's time for a party. So she would just scrounge around and find whatever and put it on the table. She was the kind of woman who said hot dogs were her favorite fruit.
Okay, so that should give you like a really good glimpse as to who she is. She also is the kind of woman who would just make up words and use them constantly. Now she used the word hootsy cdoodle as like a way of, you know, exclamation.
So something good would happen, hootsy cdoodle, right? This is the kind of woman she is. You're getting a picture of who Candy Grandma is. Candy Grandma also called me as I was growing up, Hefseba. I had no idea what it meant. I just thought- And she never told you?
You never told me. I just thought it was like one of her weird words. And my name is Jessica, so it sort of sounds like it. And I was just like, oh, Grandma is just being Grandma. So every time that I would come into a room, she'd be like, oh, Hefseba, come over here, you know, right? I remember one day I came across these verses, I was reading in my Bible and I saw that word in there, Hefseba. And I was like, wait, what?
Grandma didn't make this word up. And I looked and there's like the little number by it. And I went down to the bottom of the page and it said, my delight is in her. And so what she was saying about me every time I walked into a room was my delight is in you. She had all sons.
I was the first granddaughter to be born, right? And she really wanted a girl. So every time she saw me, she rejoiced over me. This is just who she was.
You just cry, that's the sweetest thing. It is. And not everybody has the wonderful privilege to have a grandmother like that. She was a wonderful grandmother, but we all do have the privilege of having a God who's like that, because He says right here, she was taking from His word. I mean, she was in her fifties. She moved to Texas.
We live in California. She moved to Texas to learn how to speak Spanish so that she could go across the border and talk about Jesus to people who lived in Tijuana. This is the kind of woman just loved Jesus, loved the word. And so for her to take this word and say, my delight's in you, but really what that was, was this shadow of a greater love, that God Himself, and He says it about you guys and everyone listening, my delight is in you. I rejoice over you. Those last words, rejoice over you with singing. Right now, we're being rejoiced over with singing because we're hidden in the beautiful, glorious work of Jesus Christ who lived that perfect life, always displaying all of the fruit of the Spirit all the time, and then taking our penalty for the times we don't display the fruit of the Spirit. So He looks at us and says, I delight in you. That's a word we need to hear. Because how often do we think God's... We think He's disappointed in us. We think He's disappointed or angry.
We let Him down. Yeah, over and over. I can't tell you the amount of years that I spent... Decades.
Decades, probably. My self-talk was, you're nothing, you're failing, you're not a good mom, you're a terrible wife. It was just over and over of hearing that. And I'm going to tell you, if you're listening to those lies, those are from the pit of hell.
That's right. There's only one person that speaks that over you, and that is Satan, it's not God. Because He, like listen to that, He rejoices over you. And even if you have to take that scripture in Isaiah 62, and you put it by your sink, or by your mirror, or in your car, just to say that like, He rejoices over me. So when you guys hear that, what does it do in your heart? It gives you joy. Oh, yeah.
Right? So that's what I'm trying to... It makes me worship too.
Like, how could you love me? Yes. And yet you do.
Right. And so these verses are so beautiful, right? Like it talks about as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. Like you think about that moment when that bridegroom is watching his bride walk down the aisle, and just that smile, right? Like if he's a good man, and he loves her, all the emotion that's wrapped up in that moment, that's how your God looks at you.
It's just overwhelming. And one thing I thought when you were saying that is we longed that our kids would feel that from us as their parents, that they wouldn't feel, oh, they're disappointed. No, they are delighted.
Even in my failing, they sing over me. That would bring a son or daughter home. And we can love our kids like that through the way our heavenly Father loves us. So if your identity is not wrapped up in, I have to have good kids so that I can think of myself as a good parent, if your identity is instead, I am loved and delighted in, then we can share that with our kids. But if we think God is demanding, then we will be demanding with our children. If we think God is disappointed, we will act disappointed with our children. But if we believe the truth that he is right now rejoicing over us and loves us, oh, man, we can share that with our kids.
We can share that freedom with our kids. And that, honestly, is such a beautiful piece of this, is that it changes not only our relationship with God, but our relationship with others. Wow, talk about all-encompassing. You're listening to David Ann Wilson with Jessica Thompson on Family Life Today. Hey, stick around. Ann's got some words of encouragement for us before we're done. But first, every gift gives you the power to help someone else pursue the relationships that matter most. So thank you so much for empowering others to pursue those relationships and see the world change. It's only with generous partners like you that we are able to bring these kinds of conversations with people like Jessica Thompson to life. When you do partner with us, we'd love to send you a copy of How God Loves Us, 40 Days to Discovering His Character in the Fruit of the Spirit. Jessica's book is our thanks to you when you partner financially today with us. You can give online at familylifetoday.com or by calling 800-358-6329.
That's 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. You know, I have the president of Family Life, David Robbins, here with me. And we've got a lot going on with the weekend to remember, right? Yeah, as we start this month, we have 17 weekend to remember getaways. Family Life is hosting all over the country this month.
And then plus there's some in December also. Meg and I are going to Saratoga Springs to speak at the Saratoga Springs weekend to remember. We are all over every time zone. We would love for you to go to weekendtoremember.com.
Check it out. We tell you all the time about the life change that happens. They have been a blessing to Meg and me personally. We love speaking at them and we also love going ourselves. Every time we go, we're in a different season of life and God meets us in a unique way. So I would just say if the holiday season that's ahead of us often drifts you apart in your relationship and in your marriage, go check out the weekend to remember dates out there. Mark out time that will bring you closer together as you navigate these two months ahead. Yeah, you can find locations and dates for multiple weekend to remember events happening all over the country.
Just head to familylifetoday.com and find the weekend to remember link at the bottom of the page. Okay, here's Anne with some more encouraging words. If you have kids or maybe just friends or someone that's close, maybe it's a neighbor, to be able to look at them, to rejoice over them, to say words that bring life and a smile to their face.
Maybe they can't hear God right now, but they can hear you and you're loving them through the Father and through the Holy Spirit. Tomorrow on Family Life Today, David and Wilson are joined with Ron Deal from Family Life Blended to talk through an interview he did with Mary Jepsen about how the chaos within co-parenting is actually harming your child. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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