[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control ….
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
And it begins with love, because love reflects the character of God. Love is the fountainhead, the foundation for all other aspects of the fruit. Living in God’s love brings joy to our hearts and our lives. A sense of calm well-being. A peace that comes when we are in a right relationship with our Creator.
Once we have that right, we can work on developing patience. And when we learn to be patient, our kindness and goodness toward others grows as well. The Holy Spirit continues to work in us as our faithfulness brings stability to our lives. And gentleness strengthens our relationship with others.
But what about that self-control I’m lacking? It’s tacked on at the end of the list. Not as the end-product of the growing fruit in our lives, but as a bookend to the love that starts it all. When my self-control is not under control, I lose my joy and peace. My patience goes out the window. My kindness, goodness and gentleness head south. And my faithfulness falters. In other words, I am grumpy. I grouse, and I growl.
So when the Holy Spirit fills us with His love and replaces our lack of self-control with His self-control, they become bookends for all the wonderful fruit that grows between them. And we can more fully rejoice in the Savior who enables us to bear the fruit of His Spirit to His honor and glory always.
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