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.

Gentleness

“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

There is probably no more winsome fruit of the Spirit than gentleness. Gentleness carries with it the connotation of a mild and loving disposition. Christian’s ought not to be known for a harsh and grumpy temperance. We shouldn’t be unapproachable people. Rather, followers of Christ should show forth a mildness of temper and calmness of spirit which draws others to us that we might share in our faith with them. The Lord Jesus beckoned folks in His day much the same way. In Matthew 11:29, He would say, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. May you find rest for your soul too, by cultivating gentleness in your life.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Lord Jesus, grant me a tenderness of heart and gentleness of spirit such as Yours that I might better reflect Your person in my life towards others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Kindness

“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

Expressing kindness to others is an exceptional way in which to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit and show forth the evidence of Christ-like character. When the sinner comes to realize just how kind God has been to them in Christ Jesus, they are compelled by sheer grace to exude kindness themselves. In many ways, the kindness shown in the life of the believer is simply a reflection of the kindness God has granted them. Titus 3:4-6 tells us, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,  whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior“. The fruit of kindness is not born in us; it is bestowed to us through the Holy Spirit so that kindness might be revealed by us to others.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Jesus, make me an example to others of the kindness You showed me in loving me, saving me, and blessing me so that I might praise You and give You the glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Holy Spirit Difference

“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

~ A.W. Tozer

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, please pour out Your Holy Spirit new and afresh upon me and Your people. May we live and serve in Your presence and power that others see the difference You make! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Peace

“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

Like the other fruits of the Spirit, peace is not something we always experience outwardly, but it is something the follower of Jesus can cultivate inwardly. The kind of peace spoken of here is a result of ceasing the inner conflict in ourselves between sin and the Savior. There is always conflict when we are at odds with the Lord. And our peace comes when we yield to Christ and submit ourselves to His Word. Faithful obedience and grace-filled living leads to spiritual peace.

Prayer Life Pause: Lord Jesus, fill my heart with Your Word that it might chase out my sins and pour Your Holy Spirit in me that I might experience Your splendid peace. In Jesus, name, amen.

Joy

“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

Second in Paul’s list of Spiritual fruit is joy. But what is joy, Biblically speaking? Simply defined, we might say Spiritual joy is the solace and contentment that comes from knowing, loving and serving God. This kind of joy is not derived from temporal things, events or circumstances. Therefore, Spiritual joy is not easily removed from the heart of the true believer because our earthly conditions change. Joy that is a fruit of the Holy Spirit undergirds and consoles God’s people in the midst of their adversities, trials and tribulations. Joy, even in these situations, is evidence you belong to Him.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Oh Lord, please grant me a profound and intense joy that can only come from Your precious Holy Spirit that I might not be to quickly moved to grief or sorrow because of things in this world. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Perfect What Thou Hast Begun

Look upon us, O Lord,
and let all the darkness of our souls
vanish before the beams of thy brightness.
Fill us with holy love,
and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom.
All our desire is known unto thee,
therefore perfect what thou hast begun,
and what thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer.
We seek thy face,
turn thy face unto us and show us thy glory.
Then shall our longing be satisfied,
and our peace shall be perfect.

~ Augustine

Prayer Life Pause: O Lord, help me to be all that I can be in Christ. Fill me with more and more of Your Spirit until self is swallowed whole. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Planted In Him

“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”

~ Psalm 1:1-3

Prayer Life Pause: Father, keep my heart from the counsel, paths and seat of the wicked. Guard me and plant me firmly in the presence of Your tender love and priceless grace that I may bear fruit to Your glory. 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.