I’m a fixer.

When things break, I want them fixed. I move into assessment and action quickly. I’ll sometimes try tackling a fix for things I have no business touching. Plumbing, roofing and electrical, to name a few.

This winter, my furnace wasn’t heating the house. I jumped into fix-it mode. Two specific motivations for prompt action were my wife and three-month-old daughter. I replaced the filter because it was black. (That’s bad.) Problem solved. Until two days later—the second, brand-new filter was black too. The furnace wouldn’t heat for more than five minutes before shutting down. I tinkered with the furnace wires and fuses. I even tried turning the furnace off and turning it on again. Nope.

When sub-zero weather hit, it was time to call the pros. The repairman agreed it was odd the filters turned black but diagnosed hundreds of dollars for a new part. A third filter was installed. A few days later the repairman was back for the same problem. He offered another bill as expensive as the first. Swipe the credit card again (racking up flight points now). The severe cold continued, as did the struggle to stay warm.

A third call to the repairman (practically a new family member) offered a $600 “maybe fix” to replace the blower. At this point, the third filter was oddly warped. Frustrated, a second opinion was in order. I called a friend and shared my story with him. He immediately said, “The blower either works or doesn’t.” He went on to recommend a new brand of filter to allow more air flow. Cheap filters can restrict the air flow, causing furnaces to overheat, stop and leave the house cold.

Sure enough, a new brand of filter fixed the problem. A simple, affordable fix. I kept replacing the filters with the same cheap brand and getting the same result. The correct filter allowed the necessary air flow and sustained warmth to the whole house. The blower was working. The filters were bad.

This “fix-it moment” has me thinking about my own spiritual filters. Some seasons feel cold, as if the Holy Spirit’s flow has been restricted. If I’m honest, the “bad filter” often represents my will, habits and desires preventing the work of the Spirit in my life.

Galatians 5 describes the Spirit’s product in our lives when good spiritual filters are in place:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control … Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22, 24).

Good spiritual filters make all the difference. Scripture, prayer, worship, community with believers (to name a few) are spiritual filters that actively allow the flow of the Spirit in my life. If not these filters, potentially bad ones will replace them.

The Spirit is working. Are my spiritual filters good? The Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Galatians is as true for us today: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).