I Peter 2:1-3 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby; If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Galatians 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against which there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

There is so much to be concerned with in our lives and in the world around us. There are plenty of reasons to be anxious, concerned, shocked, angered, and embittered. We have been wronged, we have been maligned, and we have been marginalized. We have been underappreciated and we have been unsupported.

We could respond with malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speakings. We could be troubled by bitterness and defiled by an attitude of revenge. Our energy could be sapped and our effectiveness could be subdued. But, God has a far better plan! It is the path that Christ followed as He endured the cross and despised the shame.

The Lord directs us to keep our gaze focused on Him, regardless of the plentiful distractions that would otherwise divert it. He wanted us to grow through the milk of His Word. He calls us towards holiness and peace with all men. He recommends that we lay aside all the weights that are hindering our forward progress.

And, He seeks for us to enjoy the rich fruits of the Spirit that taste and nourish far better than the bitter morsels offered by secular society.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AS AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WE WOULD FOLLOW A CHRISTLIKE RESPONSE TO THE CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE IN OUR DAILY LIVES. The rich fruits of the Christian life come from a counter-cultural, Christ-like response to adversity.