“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, NLT).
“It is evident that truth has been planted in the heart by the Holy Spirit when it is loved and cherished, and regarded as a sacred endowment. Love will then spring up in the heart like a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life. When this love is in the heart, the worker will find no weariness in the work of Christ” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, vol. 3, p. 121, Feb. 13, 1894).
A deacon in the church, known as a helpful and influential man, had a serious character issue that only his wife and children knew about. At work or in recreation with others, he was the most congenial man you could hope to meet. At home he was often intolerable. He would become moody and irritable. At times his anger flared up, and he became emotionally abusive and punished his children severely.
The deacon was not ignorant of his need. He hated himself for exploding at home. He realized he was professing one thing in public and living a different life at home. At times he realized he should attend anger management classes, but he feared the consequences of admitting his problem to the church. He also knew he should get counseling, but he was repulsed by the idea of paying someone to listen to him. His pride isolated him from the help he needed. He was a religious man but not a spiritual man—he needed to be converted and have the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in his life.
One autumn a preacher came to town and presented a series of revival meetings. Because of his position in the church, the deacon attended every meeting, even though his heart was like stone. Much prayer had preceded these meetings, and the Holy Spirit was moving in miraculous ways. One young woman renewed her relationship with Jesus and made a public confession of her sins, asking for the congregation’s prayers and support. A nonChristian woman who attended with a friend gave her life to Jesus. Lives changed as people came forward at the nightly altar calls.
One night, toward the end of the series, the deacon rose to his feet when an altar call was made. With tears on his cheeks, he made his way forward with others who had responded to God’s call upon their hearts. At the front of the church he fell to his knees, lifted his hands, and said loudly, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” People who knew the deacon were astonished to hear him make such a prayer in public, but that was not all. The deacon rose to his feet, turned to face the congregation, and said, “I have a terrible anger problem. I am not the husband and father I should be. I need to confess my sins, seek help, and be the man at home that you all think me to be in public.” By this time his wife and children were gathered around him crying and clinging to their husband and father. The church members surrounded him, the pastor laid his hand on the man’s shoulder, and what a prayer session they all had that night!
The deacon was faithful to his word. With the pastor’s help he found a counselor, and he also started attending anger management classes. Most importantly, he began weekly Bible studies with the pastor—not to understand doctrine but to find a real relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit blessed the deacon and began to fill him with the fruit of the Spirit. Not only could his wife and children see the difference but church members and the community could too. The deacon was at peace. He became a much more generous man. His kindness and love, especially to his wife and children, was apparent to all. The joy and blessing of Jesus, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, turned the deacon’s home into a little bit of heaven on earth.
Bible Texts to Pray About
’Tis Love That Makes Us Happy (Hymn #579); This Little Light of Mine (Hymn #580); The Power of Your Love; Turn Your Life Over to Jesus; Learning to Lean on Jesus; Spirit of God (Hymn #266); Come, Holy Spirit (Hymn #269); Sweet, Sweet Spirit (Hymn #262).