Imagine a barrel full of water. As long as the barrel is sitting level and stable on some plain surface, the water will stay inside. Undisturbed, the water can stay inside the barrel indefinitely. Now take that barrel and begin to tussle it about. The more you tilt the barrel, or the more violently you shake it, the more water will begin to spill.
So too are our lives. We are all full of something. Love, hate, bravery, fear, compassion, apathy. As long as our lives are stable we can choose to keep what’s in us safe and sound on the inside. As believers in Jesus we are asked by Him to be filled with good and then to let that good out. Whether we follow that request or not remains in our own power as long as all is at peace. Take our lives and tussle them about, and just like the water spilling from the barrel, all that is within us will spill out onto the world around us.
All too often we are quick to measure the morality of the world around us by it’s actions. We look at the things people do to determine their “goodness” or badness". We see the water spilling not realizing that these actions are not the true measure but only a result. A result of the condition of the heart.
The disconnect here is that we are often times far too quick to pass judgement on others without looking at the condition of the water spilling from our own lives. As we observe change taking place, especially change that we do not agree with, our own lives become more unstable. Our own water begins to spill out. At times this water is filled with Diligence, Kindness and Generosity. Other times the water is full of apathy, anger and selfishness. We sometimes respond to cultural changes with violence and hate and then call it a moral or righteous or even a Godly standard. We disapprove of the dirty water we see in others all the while ignoring what is spilling out of our own lives. And in so doing we ignore our own hearts.
I’ve mentioned three types of actions that I believe can mark our Christian Conduct in an Ever-Changing World. To change what spills out of us we must first change what we put in. To change our actions we must first change our hearts. To allow Diligence to spill out, we must first be full of Hope. To allow Kindness to spill out, we must first be full of Love. To allow Generosity to spill out, we must first be full of Gratitude.
Take a look around you. What is spilling out of your life? What would you like to spill out? If the water from your life is refreshing to others, then great. Share that water. If your water is toxic then you must take a look at the source. You must examine your heart.