Hope Lives

The byproduct of “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…”  Galatians 5: 22

There is an acid soil in which a sweet fruit grows. Observe, in the text word “fruit” (karpos) is single and the object plural. This is because at the time of the translation into English the time of harvest was called the time of “fruiting.” A more accurate translation in light of today’s language is, “The harvest of the Spirit is ….” You are not to claim only one or two of the fruit, but all of them are to be manifest in the life of a believer. However, consider makrothymia, the one which is properly variously translated longsuffering, patience, forbearance, temperance, the fourth Greek virtue, means self-control. For clarity consider the fourth to be self-control.

We all have appetites, interests, and experiences. Run through an inventory of them starting with an appetite for good food. Controlling them is our responsibility. 

The principle of the two natures can be a bit confusing. As believers we are no longer in the flesh, but we still have the flesh. The old sin nature was not eradicated at the moment of salvation, but by the Spirit it can be incarcerated and with that comes the potential fruit of the Spirit. Oh, joy. There is victory in Jesus. The struggle will never end. Neither will the all sufficient enabling grace of God.

Self-control consists of two words. Consider the last first: control. It is needed in all areas of life. An object out of control can’t perform the reason for its existence. The missile fired by a gun that is out of control can’t hit the intended target. Likewise, a person out of control can’t hit the intended target. In life it means a person out of control can’t achieve their best at anything. Remember this the next time you are about to lose control of yourself. 

When you lose control another force takes control. Actually when you lose control you, not the Spirit, is in control. That is not good.

Now the first word in self-control. God never asks us to do anything He does not give us the ability to do. The ability to self-control is given by the Spirit within you. That means you already have within you the Holy Spirit to empower you to achieve self-control. As He controls you, you exercise your capacity for control.

Don’t expect the Spirit to do it for you, but He will enable you to do it of your own free will. “Will?” That means if you will do it He will enable you to do it. The more you will for Him to control you the more instinctive it becomes for you and the Spirit to act as one. Start now and don’t give up even if you fail occasionally.