“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” — Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
The jungle run I mentioned in the devotional began just outside the back door of the hotel. In the hallway, before I stepped outside, there was a large sign that read: “Don’t make eye contact with the monkeys.” Some of those critters looked big, maybe 30 pounds. Outside, I jogged off to join the road that led up the mountain to a small hospital. It was a nice, wide blacktop road with little traffic, and it had an eight-foot-high wire fence set back along both sides. I remember it being a beautiful place to run under the shade of giant trees for much of the way. The jungle trees, flowers, and creatures were absolutely spectacular.
Well, jogging along I happened to see one of those beasts in the distance. I was fascinated watching the monkey sit on a log playing with a stick. But then, all of a sudden he looked straight at me. Before I knew it, he was at the fence, had jumped to the top, and was looking down with his teeth bared, screaming at me. Well, I hit high gear and sprinted until I was out of breath. I never looked at the monkeys again.
Aside from the monkeys, it was a delightful place to run — maybe a taste of what God has in mind for us.
I have learned that thinking of heaven and looking forward to seeing the Lord is time well spent. I probably preached more on our relationship with Jesus and staying close to him than on any other subject. It seems that thinking about Christ helps me want to grow and be more filled with the fruits of the Spirit that Paul describes in Galatians 5:22-23. Along these lines, I think that I understand some of what the apostle John had in his heart when the Spirit led him to write the last prayer in the Bible. At the end of Revelation he writes, “Come, Lord Jesus.” What a beautiful thought! What a wonderful prayer.
I looked forward to each session of the 2021 Spiritual Formation in Today’s World, and I still consider it a sacred time in my life. It renewed my love for myself, strengthened my love for God, and inspired my love for others.” Read more...