Self-Control

“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

Last, but certainly not least, is the fruit of the Spirit known as self-control. The word used here “ἐγκράτεια” (enkráteia) properly means “the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites”. It is derived from “ἐν” (en) meaning “in” and “κράτος” (kratos) meaning “strength,” and has reference to the power or command which believers are to exercise over all manner of sinful and ungodly practices. This kind of discipline over ourselves is not something we muster up. In the flesh, we are weak (Rom. 7:14). It is the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit which bestows what is necessary to put to death the old man and causes Christians to live in newness of life. It is then the fruit of self-control which enables the true follower of Christ to cultivate, nurture and grow all the fruits of the Spirit in their life. Against such blessed things, there is no law.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, may You help me to be like a tree planted by living waters that brings forth fruit in my season of life, and that the power and presence of the Divine Spirit in my life, my leaf will not whither and whatsoever I do for Your own glory, shall prosper. In Jesus, name, amen.

Faithfulness

“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 idea of the word faithfulness, as used here, seems to be that of fidelity. It denotes the believer who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit will be earnest and dependable in their words and promises. Our yea will be our yea, and our nea will be our nea. A Christian can be trusted and confided in. A closer relationship with God in Christ stirs up greater and greater faith. The Christian will grow in faith and show that faithfulness as a husband, wife, neighbor, and friend. Faithfulness in the life of Christ’s people shows our love and devotion to Him and our desire to be faithful as He is faithful to us.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, help me to be a faithful Christian; one others can confide in and depend on so that Jesus is glorified in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Goodness

“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 spiritual fruit of goodness could be said to be a continuation of the fruit of kindness. While kindness is a disposition of heart and character, goodness is the tangible results of kindness. Goodness is kindness in action. It is where the believer acts on behalf of the benefit and well-being of others. Jesus would tell His followers, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you” (Mt. 5:44). Show goodness in all circumstances, even difficult ones. The Apostle Paul would put it this way, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21)

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, help me to see and seek out opportunities to do good to others. May the fruit of goodness be evident in my life each and every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Love

“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 Apostle Paul sets love as the first among the fruits of the Spirit because elsewhere he had explicitly stated without love we are but empty clanging noise. Love is the basis of our redemption in Christ, our fellowship with other believers and it should be our disposition towards a lost and dying world as well. Faithful, obedient living unto Jesus is clear evidence of our love for Him (Jn 14:15). Love is more than a mere sentiment or emotion – it is an abiding sense and deep appreciation of what God in Christ has done for you and, in turn, creates an unquenchable desire to live, love and serve in His name. It is this which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit living in the heart of the Believer.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, daily create in me a renewed and refreshed love for You and others that I might faithfully show forth the fruits of Your Spirit in my thoughts, words and deeds. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Down & Out

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

~ Galatians 5:25

When we hear the phrase “down and out” it usually carries with it negative connotations of someone who’s having a hard time, down on their luck, or needing a break to begin a fresh start. But in this brief devotion today, I want to make a play on this well-known phrase. It is my hope and prayer that you, dear reader, will be blessed with a refreshing look at your own faith this day as we consider this passage from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

As Christians, we are called to live by and walk in, the Spirit of God. Understanding these two important aspects of our faith is vital to growing in our relationship to Christ, and in meaningfully applying our faith to all of life. It is in this sense, I want us to think about living “down and out”. Believers live by the faith that comes down to us from the Spirit, and we walk in the Spirit by living out our faith as a witness for Jesus Christ for all the world to see.

Notice how Paul unites these two characteristics of faith together in this text. True believers who receive their faith through the Holy Spirit will assuredly walk by that self-same faith. The gift of faith that comes down from God will be lived out by the believing person. Godly faith is always attended by godly living. What comes down to us, the Lord intends to by lived out by us.

Yet, applying this principle isn’t always easy. The reality is Christians struggle to put “feet on our faith”. Believers need a continual receiving of the Spirit’s loving and nurturing presence in us to help us consistently live out our faith. So let us pray for divine power. Let us petition our Lord and beneficent Father for sufficient grace and strength to always be living down and out.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, please continue to pour out Your Spirit in my life that the faith You sent down to me can and will be faithfully lived out in my life as well. In Jesus’ name, amen.