They called her Wheaties.
When she served in volleyball, the ball would rocket past the opponents’ court. Her volleyball coaches told her, “Control the power!”
When she played tennis, she would fire the bright yellow sphere onto the asphalt behind the white line that marked “in.” “Placement over power!” the tennis teacher would say with a shake of the head.
Wheaties was me in high school. Eventually I learned to keep the volleyball between the lines. Tennis is still touch and go. I’m either hitting it into the net or far over my poor opponent’s head. Power without control, without purpose can often be wasted.
As a born-again Christian, I have the power of the Holy Spirit living within me. Enabling me to do things I can’t do in my own, well, strength. (ironic) I can use that power to point out other people’s sins all the time. I can use that power to gather theological tidbits to argue why my doctrinal beliefs are correct. That’s what the Holy Spirit is for, right?
I remember as a girl singing a song in church that put Galatians 5:22, 23 to music. That’s the Fruit of the Spirit passage. At the end of the song, several of us were given one of the evidences of the Fruit of the Spirit to say out loud. Lori was given love, Jessica was given joy, etc. Since obnoxious, outspoken, opinionated aren’t fruits of the spirit, I was given a word based on my last name’s first letter. I had self-control (also ironic). Let’s just say any of the O words listed above would fit better.
I firmly believe that we won’t reach non-believers by throwing their sins and our doctrines in their faces. Sin is irrelevant to them. They can’t help it. And doctrine is pointless to them. What will draw them to us is our using the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s impossible on our own, which is why it becomes magnetic to them. The unbeliever sees a world of hatred, sorrow, confusion, upheaval, malice, condemnation, infidelity, bullying, and excess. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control — that will stand out and be a lighthouse. Not our doctrines and our condemnations.
Now, I should say that being able to back up our beliefs is important, and neither do we want to be spineless Christians that can’t point out someone’s error in grace and truth. In our actions and attitudes, families, businesses, and churches does the world see love or long-suffering, patience or joy in us? If not, then how are we any different from the unbelievers? Do I act any different?
We’ve been placed in this world to win it to Jesus.
Bring on the power of the Holy Spirit.
What’s better than fruit for breakfast anyway?