Today we are continuing to look at the Fruit of the Spirit, as found in Galatians 5: 22-26:
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.
I have always joked the best way to get me to do something is to tell me that I can’t do it. Or likewise, the best way to keep me from doing something is to tell me that I have to do it. I’ve got that real stubborn streak.
When we hear self control, we think of external things. I have self control so I don’t eat chocolate. Or I have self control so get up every morning at 4 a.m. and run 10 miles. I have self control, so I “do” something. That’s how we hear this or think of it, right? Or at least how most of us do.
Remember, we see here that these fruits are not so much external things that we do but start with internal realities that are produced by the Holy Spirit. We think of self control as a will power thing. In fact, I’d say in many of our minds, self control and willpower could be used interchangeably.
These are things we have or things that we do.
We are reminded again that self control is a fruit of the Spirit, and it will not be something that we do, but it will be something that is produced or grown within us. Self control flows from the Spirit, which gifts us our conscience. It flows from the Spirit, which gives us our sense of morality and our sense of right and wrong. It gives us our sense of what is right.
It is the Spirit that produces self control. And I think that is why we often feel so frustrated with our lack of self control. We are focusing so much on what we should do instead of focusing on who we should be. We should be rooted in the Spirit. We should be drawing deep to Him. We should be found fully, completely, in the amazing grace of Jesus.
That’s what we should be. And when that is who we are, self control will flow from that. For, like all the other fruit, it flows from the Spirit.
So, if you are focused on your self control as an act of will, you will fail and be frustrated. But if you are focused on your self control flowing from the Spirit as a fruit, you will find more than you ever thought possible. Today, may the Spirit produce this fruit within us.
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