I could feel it broiling beneath the surface of my already red face, tempting my tongue to spew forth some less than kind words and my fists to do something more than just hang limply by my side.
The redneck in me was about to surface.
Now, this was an image no one would be able to erase from their minds. And it’s not a pretty one in case you were wondering.
Though I was acting the part of a southern lady on the outside, the ugly temper of a redneck was approaching boiling point inside.
There should have been a warning label across my forehead: Step away, now.
I had done absolutely nothing to warrant this man’s horrible attitude, but here he was yelling in my face as though I were the devil himself.
I had never seen somebody act so rude and to do so without the least bit of regret. In his eyes, I was neither worth his kindness nor equal to receiving it.
In that moment I was presented a choice: to honor God or to appease my flesh. Trust me, I wanted nothing more than to show my tail and give him a piece of my mind. Who was he to treat me that way? I didn’t even know him from Adam, for heaven’s sake. (Pardon all the colloquialisms!)
Praying for strength to tame my spitfire tongue and shaking hands, I allowed the Holy Spirit to flood me. His peace was evident and strong. I could feel Him holding me, soothing me with His gentle touch.
Through the grace and strength of God, I handled the situation in an honorable way. The man eventually left and thankfully never returned.
In those moments of temptation, we have a huge decision to make. Do we satisfy the whims of the flesh which offer temporary pleasure, or do we humble ourselves and receive eternal honor in the eyes of God?
I wish it as easy to act in righteousness as it was to talk about it. Pride screams we deserve revenge when the Holy Spirit whispers “share grace”.
1 Peter 3:16 reads, “and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”
People are watching. I don’t want that to sound creepy or make you feel weird, but it’s true. If you are a proclaimed Christ-follower and you are fully living for Him, people will notice you. They will watch you.
How would our testimonies look if they were constantly tainted by our tendencies to act in the flesh instead of in the Spirit? I’m not saying we need to be perfect but we do need to be conscious of how we act.
How do you handle that obnoxious customer at your work?
How do you react when your favorite football team loses and an opposing fan says something nasty to you?
What do you say when someone criticizes you or your work?
We are called to live above reproach, to be lights in a dark world. We can’t do this if we act without the leadership of the Spirit. And if we are living in communion with God, our characters should reflect His grace and righteousness.
We have done absolutely nothing to warrant grace, and yet God lavishes His goodness on us with such abundance that even the deepest ocean couldn’t contain it. Instead of acting rashly, act in grace. Let the Spirit speak and act on your behalf. Let your character be a testimony to the amazing God you serve.