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  • Writer's pictureDr. Paul Schmidt

Lessons Life Has Taught Me

The elements of the good life, of God’s life coming through us, are the fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23), and also such attitudes as courage, wisdom, hope, forgiveness, healthiness, and surely a sense of humor.  Focus on these and they will grow, as will selfish fruits if you focus on them.  The more you give these spiritual things away to others, the more you feel you have, and the more you want.


The elements of the selfish, useless life, of our ego trying to express itself through our bodies, are the fruits of the flesh:  immorality, impurity, cheap sex, idolizing, resentment, divisiveness, jealousy, envy, argumentativeness, drunkenness (Gal 5: 19-23), materialism, self-centeredness, laziness, insecurity, gluttony, addictions, dependencies, legalism, and surely taking oneself too seriously.  The more of these we try to get, the more we feel we want, and the less we seem to have.


When you've taken something from someone, especially a fruit of the spirit, try to give it back and then some.To know God's will, use prayer, scripture, and good teaching, sure, but also become a fruit inspector. 


Discern what will bring the most fruits of the Spirit to the most people, and the least fruits of the flesh.Don't pour yourself down a drain by sacrificing your good spiritual fruit to follow or enable someone producing bad fruit.


Instead of either/or, think both/and if you can, and thus win/win.


It works far better to discern and work for God's process than to focus on what we think might be His desired outcome.Be faithful in little things that only you can do (devotionals, health, family, work, honesty), and God will put you over much more.


Children are dependent upon their parents to discipline them well, and to be well married to each other.God has put His masculine heart deep inside each man, yearning for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.God doesn't want to suppress desire, but to join, guide, and fulfill it.


God is actively seeking closer relations with each of us, especially through the loneliness of suffering and the intimacy of romance.


To enhance your pleasures, delay them, and to minimize your pain, get it over with.


Moderation is an important virtue:  too much or too little of almost anything isn't good for you.


Telling nothing but the truth is smart, but telling all the truth may bear false witness to your kindness.


Put the needs of younger family members ahead of the older:  the old are made to serve the young.


Know when to stop leading your children and start following them, at a respectable distance.


Love each child fully, but be creative in giving each one what he or she uniquely needs at the time.


Seek first to understand, then to be understood.Anger is the normal, adaptive, needed response to injustice. 


As soon as you've expressed your anger toward the injustice that prompted it, let go of it (if necessary, to God).


Get your anger out soon (no later than bedtime tonight), because resentment and bitterness will flat eat you alive.


Obedience to God makes this life the best it can be--a true joy.Forgiveness and trust are two different things:  trust has to be both earned and given.


Forgiveness is letting go of the desire to get even, by hoping and praying for the other person's peace and happiness.


Forgiveness is possible when we realize we owe it to God, our loved ones, and ourselves, if not also to the offender.Lessons from Nature:  things are in balance, crap happens, we're all different, male and female attract to recreate.


Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.If you try to save your (ego's) life, you will lose it, but if you are willing to risk losing it for God's sake, you will find it.In work, focus your talents, skills and attention on the issues that you've always cared about most deeply, and you'll leave your mark on your field.


Invest plenty of time and effort into your deepest passions.The following are neither good nor bad--it's all in what we use them for:  knowledge, power, money, talents, energy, and every one of our emotions.


Keeping your eyes, hands, mind, and heart pure during all sexual arousal before and after marriage ensures and maximizes marital happiness.


Purity in sex means being free from addiction, not imagining or doing anything you wouldn't want God or your spouse to be a part of, and vice-versa.Communication, co-operation, and sexual romance are the big three, the magic elixir for a couple to grow more and more happy with each other.


Healthy relationships require each person to be giving these big three in balance with each other, and with what the beloved is giving. 


Given time, love will always conquer hate and expose lies, but be sure to love God foremost, and keep loving yourself as you love your neighbor.Live through your own body, heart, and dreams.


Freedom from addiction usually comes only in embracing a program (the people, principles, prayers, and practices) of 12-step recovery.Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, still expecting different results.Do the best you can, and leave the results to God.Take only your own moral inventory, and when you're wrong, promptly admit it.The truth hurts, but only its pain can set you free from bondage to habits, people, and emotions.To exercise authority well, we also need to be submitted well to authority.Keep it simple:  easy does it, one day at a time.Control is an illusion, and acceptance works much better, so use the Serenity Prayer.God's strength can come through us most fully only when we realize our weakness without Him.It takes time, effort, know-how, and God's grace to keep a marriage's love young and lively, but that's what God wants.As our bodies are growing older on the outside, but we don't mind when our hearts and minds are growing younger on the inside.Complete marital intimacy is an excellent and perhaps the best preparation (and foretaste of) heaven.

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