He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly. A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones. – Proverbs 14:29-30.

Another translation (the Message) puts Proverbs 14:30 as, “A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23.

The good news, the great news, the wonderful news today is that Jennifer Wilbanks is alive and well!! The sad news is that Jennifer is a runaway. She is a runaway from at the very least the stress of a huge wedding that kept growing and growing. For a week, Jennifer Wilbanks of Duluth, Georgia was thought to have been kidnapped. As it is now known, she went out for a run and took a bus to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jennifer is 32 years old and was to be married today in a huge wedding with some 600 guests expected. No one except the police gave any consideration to the possibility that Jennifer had skipped out on the biggest event of her life.

The actions of Jennifer Wilbanks may seem strange for some and for others of us they may be understandable. I think most of us have been under such stress at times that it would have been wonderful to have that stress removed from our lives. Very few would have taken the actions that Jennifer has taken but many have taken similar actions. Because every day across this world, there are people who have had all that they can take and they simply drop out. They drop out of their careers, lives, families and they leave it all behind. Some, most, tell others what they are doing and some do not. Stress works havoc on our emotions and can lead to making major mistakes. In fact, it can lead to destruction of most everything that is good in our lives when we let our emotions take control.

How can we avoid someday, unexpectedly, having a runaway in our own life? By having more of Jesus i.e. the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul in Galatians 5 speaks of the fruit of the Spirit. If you contemplate the different fruit mentioned you will see that this is the opposite of an emotionally stress driven runaway. Would “love” lead someone to have a runaway? Would “joy” lead someone to have a runaway? Would “peace” lead someone to have a runaway? Would “longsuffering” or “patience” make someone have a runaway? Would “kindness” result in a runaway? Would “goodness” bring about a runaway? Would “faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” cause someone to have a runaway? The answer to all of these questions, of course, is “No!”

You can prevent a runaway in your life by having more and more of Jesus in your life. The more of Jesus that you have in your life the more of the “fruit of the Spirit” that you will have in your life. Continuing to grow day by day as a child of God will protect you from self-destruction. To grow you must take advantage of the resources of God. The three primary resources of God are the Bible, prayer, and the church. Are you reading the Bible? Are you praying? Are you faithful in attending church if you are physically able? If not you are just asking for trouble and heading for a…runaway.

(How to prevent having a runaway in your life.)

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