A freezing winter wind was blowing through the doors of the hotel into the lobby where Wes was having his breakfast. He decided to take his breakfast up to the warmth of his room. So he loaded up his hands and arms with his bowl of oatmeal, plate of scrambled eggs, and cup of tea but as he stepped into the elevator -- ohhh! -- he spilled his oatmeal all over his shoes and the floor of the elevator! It looked like someone had thrown up.
“What would Jesus do if he were me?” was the first thought that came to Wes’ mind. He set the remainder of his breakfast on the desk in his room, got a towel, and went back to the elevator to clean up the mess. As he got down on his hands and knees he prayed, “Lord Jesus, how I thank you for your mercy to me. You have cleaned up so many messes in my life. How blessed I am that you went to the cross for me. It’s a joy for me to clean up this mess I made so that hotel staff doesn’t have to.”
That’s a picture of life in the kingdom of the heavens.
The Most Important Question
Let me ask you the most important question of all: Are you seeking to live your daily life as an apprentice to Jesus in his kingdom? A good test is how you react to the situations that irritate most people. In a frustrating or unfair situation are you ruled by the peace of Christ? (Colossians 3:16). Do you naturally demonstrate love for your neighbor in a practical way?
I was delighted to hear Wes’ story because it showed me that his training program with Jesus was working. I know Wes well. A thousand times in past years he had spilled his oatmeal -- or lost his wallet, or taken a wrong turn and gotten lost, or had someone cut in front of him, or been offended by someone -- and he always reacted with frustration and a lack of regard for the people around him at the time. He never took it in stride with a smile and a readiness do what was best for others. In his past he probably would’ve let the hotel staff clean up the oatmeal in the elevator because they were responsible for letting the lobby get so cold -- or maybe he would’ve cleaned it up since he made the mess, but he would’ve complained about it.
In recent years Wes was changing -- he was becoming more like Jesus. He had developed a more relaxed way about his life and was usually able to respond to stress with thanks and praise to the Lord and consideration for his neighbors.
How Wes Became More Like Jesus
How did Wes experience soul transformation? What enabled him to be patient, positive, responsible, and kind in a situation that previously he would’ve reacted poorly to? For some time he had been training with Jesus to learn how to become the kind of person who rejoiced in the Lord and showed love for people near to him in all situations.
Wes had discovered the wisdom of, “Don’t try. Train.” And so he had been using spiritual disciplines to grow in God’s grace (2 Peter 3:18).
For instance Wes practiced fasting from food while feasting on the manna from heaven and regularly he met with a spiritual director to help him open up his heart and his life to God. Also he used abiding prayers (mostly from the Psalms) to seek to practice God’s presence continually. In fact, he was praying a Scripture at the moment when he spilled his oatmeal! which, of course, is a big part of what helped him to react with peace, joy, and love.
More Soul Transformation Resources
My “Fasting is Feasting Prayer” has helped me and others to fast from earthly food and feast on heavenly manna.
You can go deeper in your Bible reading by using Scripture to “Abide in Prayer”.
What is “Spiritual Direction”?
You Can Live in Jesus’ Easy Yoke is my new book to help you and your loved ones to experience God’s peace in the midst of the stresses of life.
Join our Soul Shepherding prayer team to help us in our ministry to pastors.
Sign up for our Soul Shepherding e-mails.
Let’s be friends online: I post updates and abiding prayers daily on my Facebook and Twitter .
Bill Gaultiere, Ph.D. & Kristi Gaultiere, Psy.D. ~ http://www.soulshepherding.org
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