Governed by the Spirit: A Lesson On Regret

I have been listening to Will Reagan and United Pursuit on repeat lately as I work. I find their music cultivates an atmosphere of peace. Recently, the words of their song “Regret” paused my routine of afternoon coffee, caused me to pull off the note pad from my fridge and jot down a few lines. I have found it to be true that God is so still in his voice, yet so loud when we choose to turn our ear to listen; here no different.

Have you ever been caught in a moment of regret? As humans, our flesh has a tendency to call us to remember areas where we were wrong, places we made mistakes, feelings or emotions that were hurt or perhaps just misguided. How are you experiencing regret? Have you contemplated if your regret is propelling you towards repentance and closer to the heart of the Father or if it is spiraling you down? Is it moving you from conviction, forward to a place of healing or are you experiencing feelings of overwhelming heaviness and condemnation? God began to speak to my heart on this impression of how regret can be a powerful tool to repentance, or a pill swallowed quickly to self-pity, self-doubt, and self-loathing. When I begin to feel God’s presence guiding me to go deeper in revelation of who he is, I really prefer to start in His Word. His Word is the perfect lamp on my path to greater understanding.

Studying the Word of God, we see there is a difference between living in regret and feelings of condemnation versus the calling to righteousness that feelings of conviction bring. Reading Romans 8:1-6 NIV, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteousness requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their mind set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” I ask you again dear ones, who are you allowing to govern your mind? What fruit of the Spirit are you reaping that proves the governance of your mind? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law” Galatians 5:22-23

Near the end of Reagan’s hanging questions in his song Regret, he croons,

I regret what I’ve become
Even if I live to share it
I regret what saw my eyes
When I could no longer bear it

I hear this line, I read these verses, and my heart is deeply convicted to live closer to the Spirit, to live more tightly to the path of righteousness that God calls to me so gently.  I deeply desire to live in the way that If I were to have nothing left to my name at the end of my life yet have lived by this perfect kingdom law: to be governed by the Spirit and to bear His fruit. Then, I have inherited the Kingdom. I desire that my steps, my words, my actions would echo and resound those of my Father in Heaven. Perhaps the fruit of the words that falls from my tree would compel others to love more deeply, to be administrated by the Spirit.

I was deeply impacted by the thoughts and subsequent study that came from this fortuitous listening of music while working.  Maya Angelo’s words came to mind, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I read this and I think it can be related to this exact Biblical law Paul so beautifully explains, the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace—imagine in this phrase life bringing good thoughts and feelings of peace. Now think of the flesh, actions or words spoken in haste or hurt, selfishness. People will always remember the feelings you left them with when they were experiencing your atmosphere. They may not recall your exact set of actions; they may not be able to scribe the exact phrases your voice strung together—but they will always, always remember the way you made them feel.

I realize that feelings are not the only compass  we have to guide us  in this world, yet if you could leave an impression on a person being governed by the Spirit and thus carrying with you an atmosphere of peace would you ever live in regret? I cannot answer this for you, but I can answer that you may dig deeper to discover this. I will say this reflection time with Jesus leaves me yearning to love my neighbor as myself, and to carry enough grace for the both of us to mess up a little, stand back up, and walk back toward the Father. So, how are you governing your actions, your words, the atmosphere you carry… are you leaving space for the Spirit to work and bear fruit? Does your tree bear multiple types of fruit or do you need to take a trip to the store and put some color back on your limbs?  I’m going to be asking my self this more often. I’m choosing to set myself up now to look back on life with a huge smile and move forward into greater revelations of peace, will you join me here?

Emma Shetterly
Middle School Pastor
NCWC

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