Aug. 10, 2016

The Fruit of the Spirit - Conclusion

From Galatians 5:22-23 we have commented on the first six of the nine Fruit of the Spirit. The final three are Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. We saw that the first three (Love, Joy and Peace) enable us to walk out and manifest the other six. The second three (Patience, Kindness and Goodness) are calming and reassuring characteristics that are generally bestowed upon or are shown toward others.

These final three, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control are greatly beneficial to the person who possesses them. These three keep us steady, anchored, balanced and on the correct path. They also erect boundaries which provide safety and stability.

Through external expressions of words and actions, we convey the second set of the three: Patience, Kindness and Goodness. Those three we express externally to others. This third set of three we are to consistently regard internally. The way we regard or honor this fruit is by submission. We are not to override the signals or warnings given by Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. We are not to cross the boundaries or even challenge them. We are not to indulge in thoughts, words or activities that are not in harmony with the Fruit of the Spirit. We are to submit to or agree with the unction of the fruit. Straying from or ignoring the ways of the Spirit is never the right thing to do.

Faithfulness is staying the course when you don't feel like it. It is staying in the boat and continuing to row toward the goal when your arms are aching and you'd rather just quit and jump overboard. Faithfulness is doing the 'right' things when 'wrong' is calling your name and dangling temptation in front of your nose. Faithfulness is allowing adversity to mature you without becoming bitter and guarded. Faithfulness is endurance to stay the course so your perspective can be deepened and broadened. It gives you strength to proceed with a positive outlook and a godly perspective.

Gentleness helps us to handle any situation tenderly and carefully. Without Gentleness we are subject to toss the circumstances of life around like an angry tornado. Life is a gift and it is to be handled with care. Life is not to be snatched and jerked and smacked around like some misguided parents do their children. Life isn't to be lived angrily. Life and people are to be valued and appreciated. Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with others. Value what God has placed in you and what He has deposited in others. Everything God made has purpose.

Self-control is thought of by some as a straight jacket: no room to let loose and do what you want to do. They see it as restrictive, unnecessary and something to be avoided. However, Self-Control is a beneficial attribute that is more like a safety wall. There is plenty of space and opportunity to enjoy all types of activities within the confines of safety. It's when the dam breaks that a force is unleashed that is very difficult to bring to order. When Self-Control isn't consistently exercised it opens the way for torrential flooding that spills over into every facet of living. Without boundaries the lusts of life take over and dash violently and repeatedly into areas that should not be accessed or entered.

The Fruit of the Spirit is beautiful and beneficial. It helps us in so many ways to live like the people of God that He created us to be.

Be Fruitful and Multiply!