"Her first thought"
1 Peter 3:18-4:8
"... because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin." (4:1)
So often in life, our first thought is for ourselves. We are self-centered. Everything has an immediate self-reference. We are more upset over our own dead dog than a neighbor's dead child. And so deeply ingrained is our self-preoccupation that, left to ourselves, we would have to fillet our personalities to get rid of it. Yet there are multitudes walking the earth whose first thoughts are not for themselves but for the Lord and for others.
How has this happened? It has happened because the fruit of the Spirit was growing within them -- and especially the fruit of goodness. Take Catherine Booth, for example. When the great woman first learned the deadly nature of the disease that was to kill her slowly through two years of great pain, she knelt at the side of her husband and said: "Do you know what was my first thought? That I should not be there to nurse you at your last hour." Her first thought! A minister I once visited and who had been struck down with polio said to me: "But who will care for my people?" It was not of himself he was thinking -- but of others.
The self-forgetfulness of both Catherine Booth and the minister who was laid aside by sickness was not something that was manufactured but something that had been produced in them by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Their translucence can only be explained in one way -- they had died to themselves. The center of their lives had shifted from self to Christ and thus the fruit of goodness had blossomed within them.