I learned a lot about myself in 2017. Honestly, some of it was pretty rotten. Have you heard of 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. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23

Even though I behaved well (mostly), the things happening in my brain were like the fruit of the scourge of the earth. Literally say the opposite of Galatians 5:22-23, and you’d find some of that mess in my mind. There were times I was like a BeanBoozled Jelly Belly. Sweet on the outside, but sometimes booger flavored on the inside. Yuck! (If you don’t know what BeanBoozled is, ask any kid. Or the Internet.)But here’s the thing. Every time I faced yuckiness, it was after I asked God to expose it. I often pray this scripture:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

I love that verse. It reminds me that when He reveals something negative in me, I need to follow Him along His path for me. Unfortunately, I often run from Him instead of to Him. My shame, my guilt, my whatever, wants me to run and hide behind a fig leaf (Genesis 3:7-8). Which is crazy because God sees all and knows all (Hebrews 4:13). Plus He’s the one who showed me the blind spot to begin with!   Me+Hiding=Ridiculous.

Recently, my son became angry when I corrected him, and then he immediately called himself a bad boy. I told him he wasn’t a bad boy but that, as his parent, I needed to correct him since he’s still learning how to live life. My gosh, I learn so much in parenting. As I teach my son that my corrections are to help him, I’m reminded that Jesus does the same for me. And as I teach my son to fearlessly seek the Lord for help through his troubles, I’m reminded to do the same. 

My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12

In [Jesus] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

It is not how I act or what I do that secures my salvation. (Praise God for that!) I’m grateful the Lord loves me too much to leave me in my current condition. And in His gentleness, he doesn’t bring ten or twenty issues I need to fix. He deals with them one at a time.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10

I’m excited and hopeful about 2018. That’s because I am committing to place God in the correct position in my life – first. And all the things the Lord wants me to face? I can do it head on because He is with me.

I’m not sure what the Lord wants you to face. Maybe it’s a broken relationship, financial difficulties, an illness, secret pride, an addiction. Whatever it is, trust that Jesus loves you so very much. If you’ll walk with Him along His path for you, he’ll help you (Psalm 84:11 NIV). Go to Him even if you don’t feel like it. Worship Him, talk to Him, read His word. Fearlessly approach His throne.

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Vicky Cullison is a full-time wife, a full-time mother, a full-time creative project manager and most importantly a full-time lover and follower of Jesus. She’s also a full-time food lover, a full-time animal petter and a full-time encourager. When not doing these things, she attempts to write stuff.  Click here to read her Breath on Paper Bio. 


Feature Image Photo by Kat Bruni on Unsplash

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