Sitting down for dinner as a family is one of my life favorite things to do. Especially when we start on a topic of discussion we are all participating in even if I may be the target. That’s how we grow and learn more about ourself. It happened one night. It was one of those wonderful moments when all five us were present. We were enjoying light joyful conversation when suddenly the atmosphere began to change and a bit of tension starting beaming through our time together. Voices started raising a little. We were disagreeing about how I was spending time at the gym. My husband was adding his two cents about how he felt I should be using a particular machine, feeling it would help me lose more weight. It’s a given, you never bring up this topic, especially in mixed company…but he did. Everyone starting chiming in except for my son-in-law who has wisdom beyond his years. Finally, I spoke up and said to the silent, more non-confrontational one in the group, who when he speaks, we all listen. I looked at him and said, “I think the Elephant is in the Room”, we chuckled and then he said, “I think the Elephant is on the Table.” It was. We all laughed and I knew my next book title was born.
In scripture we all love to read about the Fruit of the Spirit. It gives us that warm fuzzy feeling that if we would all embrace them, our lives would be lived peaceful and beautiful. After all, love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness and goodness are all areas every Christian should be striving for, to live this way. But when we look at them through the lens of Christ, it may be how we all desire to live but what do they really look like? It certainly is absent of selfish motives and desires that the flesh would like to say is the way. Loving these attributes should be the desire of all of us if we want to live effective lives, touching souls for eternity, and living above and beyond what our flesh could ever do.
I’ll never forget the first time I felt true love. You see, loving the Jesus way can look like enduring a lot of hurtful emotions and pain. I remember so vividly my dad sitting on the side of the bed, explaining to me why I was getting ready to be whipped and he said the words, “I don’t want to do this, it hurts me worse than it will hurt you, but my reason is to show you that when you don’t respect your mother, brother’s or sisters, there will be a punishment for it.” I eventually learned the lesson, that discipline will come until I got it right. That’s true love. Being willing to have the hard conversations and then being able to endure the proper discipline is essential if we are going to grow into the developed Christ like Christians God desires for us to be. Our walk will not be free from trouble but will be filled with it until we eventually get it right. We all know that is a lifelong process but we do grow and eventually become the vessels God is using time and time again to lead others closer to the heart of God.
The Elephant on the Table, when embraced through the lens of the fruit of the Spirit, will find us producing fruit and leading many to Christ. Let’s embrace those moments of hard conversation and disciplines we receive from God to enhance our lives, so that we can be the effective Christians we should all be wanting to be. Have those hard conversations. Keep your heart open, put aside defensiveness and come to the realization we will never grow until the Elephant on the table is dealt with through the eyes of Christ.