Last night, while I was making enchiladas, God tested me. I realized what was happening about halfway through the prep.
The test was to determine if I was learning how to deal with frustration. I am easily exacerbated under pressure and instead of calmly thinking through issues I often explode. Most recently I started to rant when a field on a form for emailing a manuscript to a publication was flagged and I couldn’t figure out what was required to get it to close. A zoom meeting was about to start, and I would be late.
Yet I remained calm the evening of the enchilada prep, although there were many frustrations. When the big bottle of chili powder was nowhere to be found in the cupboard, I did not panic. Able to think clearly, I remembered where a small bottle might be kept and averted a seasoning catastrophe. One correct response.
Reaching for the jar of cumin I knocked a bag of peppercorns over. I discovered the top had not been sealed when the tiny round balls hit the counter like a hail downpour, then bounced onto the floor. Frustration stirred, my mind began to search for the person who did not close the bag to point a finger of blame, and then I paused. I would clean up the peppercorns when I finished the recipe. Although hesitant, another correct score.
I grabbed the can opener and hooked it on the can of olives. As I turned the knob it snapped flying across the room. Stunned, it took a minute before I grabbed a bottle/can opener magnetically stuck on the side of the refrigerator. I worked my way around the top of the can with the pointed, knife end until there was an opening large enough for the olives to drop through.
But I had forgotten about a second can needing to be opened, the enchilada sauce. I walked across the street and asked my neighbor to open the can. The final “test” was in separating the tortillas, which were stuck together and difficult to pull apart without creating large holes.
It does no good to study God’s Word if we cannot put it into practice. And it is the ability to practice it that reveals whether it is simply knowledge in our head or it has been transferred to our heart.
In John chapter six, Jesus asks Philip where they might buy bread to feed a large crowd (6:5). Jesus already knew He would feed five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish but he asked the question to test Philip (6:6). Had Philip learned that Jesus will provide?
Tony Evans states in his Bible Commentary, “When God tests us, he grants us opportunity to apply spiritual truth to the challenging circumstances we face.”1
I think of my frustration, which results in bursts of anger. Trials are to be expected. Also expected is a godly response. There is really no excuse for bad behavior.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. [ESV]
Prior to this section of Scripture, the apostle Paul describes works of the flesh. One is “fits of anger.” Self-control is one of the attributes we possess when walking in the Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit is a package. In my situation, without self-control, I immediately eliminate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness. Even faithfulness, for I show no faith in a sovereign God but am angry because what I have ordained and orchestrated has not come to pass.
Yet if I look at the fruit of the Spirit during the enchilada assembly, I can see that self-control was present. As a result, the other attributes were present. Although the process seemed quite a fiasco, I passed the test.
1-Consider the past few weeks. What type of testing have you undergone and what was your test score?
2-Think of a time when you have been missing an attribute of the fruit of the Spirit. How did a struggle with one impact the other attributes?
1-The Tony Evans Bible Commentary published by Holman Bible Publishers in Nashville, Tennessee.
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