July 17, 2017
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
"Bottleneck” is a term we commonly use to describe points of congestion in roadways. It might be a place where two lanes of traffic merge into one, or where traffic on a major highway must slow to city speed limits as it passes through a small town. Twice a week I commute to the west side of the city for classes, and there is always a backup of cars at the point where a highway running north-south crosses a highway that runs east-west. If I were the only person on the road, there would be no issue. However, since so many drivers are converging, we have to stop and wait for each other to pass before we can proceed.
The bottleneck effect is not limited to roadways; it happens whenever there are insufficient resources to meet a demand. A small staff at a government office might mean that we have to wait for weeks or even months for our legal requests to be approved. Or there could be a popular tourist attraction we wish to visit, only to discover that lots of people had the same plan and we have to wait in a long line to get in. In every case, we have to adjust our plans in order to allow others to proceed with their plans first.
A bottleneck experience can be frustrating if it is not appreciated for what it actually is—an occasion for the fruit of the Spirit to be displayed in our lives. When our needs intersect with the needs of another, a unique opportunity opens for us to put their needs ahead of our own, showing love, patience, and self-control. Anyone can display these positive traits when circumstances are positive, but the proof of what Christ has done for us is best demonstrated when circumstances are not ideal. In a world where impatience, anger, and self-centeredness is pervasive, people will notice the difference in our attitude.
Our Christ-like response to life's "bottlenecks" may just be the tool which draws some distraught soul to Him.Therefore, let’s look at these situations as opportunities to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Rather than become frustrated, smile because God has chosen you to be a witness to the fact that His indwelling Spirit makes a difference!