It all started when one day I put tape over my mouth to keep myself from talking.
As crazy as it sounds, I had had enough and didn’t know what else to do.
Four kids, ages four and under gives me MANY opportunities to practice how the Bible tells me to act: don’t be quick tempered, be slow to anger, do everything without complaining or arguing… I found myself talking and talking, reacting, correcting. One day I grew tired of my own voice, and in desperation pulled the tape out of the drawer and put a piece over my mouth.
I was REFUSING to let my emotions, anger, and impatience get the best of me again that morning. I told the kids I didn’t want to say anything I shouldn’t, so the tape would help me not say anything at all. One morning the kids and I were going to do some baking. This is usually a prime time for me to talk… a lot, “Stir slowly, don’t pour it all in, that has raw egg in it-don’t eat it!”
So, before we started I decided to try my little tape experiment. It had worked great when I was frustrated, so could keeping my mouth closed make for a more peaceful baking experience?
You better believe it! It was the most peaceful baking experience to date.
I am learning that intentionally practicing the art of being quiet is key. Although I can’t, of course, leave tape on my mouth all the time, I knew the Lord was pruning the heart issues that I still needed to work through.
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2
By putting tape over my mouth I was in fact quietening the flesh. The more I talk, the less I can hear the Spirit. The more focused I am on what I want, whether it’s how I want things to go or how it makes me feel, the less focused I am on how I can serve God, how I can bring Him glory, how I can love others intensely as He commands.
I can choose to focus on myself, or on God.
As a child of God I must choose to become a slave to righteousness. Letting go of letting sin be my first choice and instead choosing what is right.
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:18
“After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” Galatians 3:3
In an act to be a better mom, I would wake up and tell myself, “I WILL be patient. I WILL be kind. I WILL be loving.” The problem here is that little word “I.” It’s not about me and my efforts.
- John 15:5 tells us: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” We are JUST A BRANCH. A branch that is not connected to the tree can lay on the ground all day trying as hard as it can to bear fruit, and no matter how hard it tries, it can’t. It has to be connected to the tree. And since we are branches, we HAVE to be connected to the vine to bear fruit. We don’t have to stress ourselves out trying to bear fruit. All we have to do is keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and live to please him, and he says that when we simply REMAIN in Him then we will automatically bear fruit! And not just fruit, MUCH fruit.
- Paul tells us in Romans 7 that no matter how much we try to be patient or try to be kind or try to do what’s right, our flesh is constantly waging war against our minds and our only hope for truly doing what is right lies in Christ Jesus. We must instead wake up and say, “Lord, I am yours. You live through me. Use me today, no matter what you have in store for me. No matter the circumstance, I am your servant.” We quieten the flesh, allow the Spirit room to breathe and move within us and His fruits will start ripening. Love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control will start oozing out of us against our own pathetic efforts, but it will happen because they are the Spirit’s fruits to bear through us.
“No one can get Joy by merely asking for it. It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown.” Henry Drummond