“Stan,” I said one morning, “last night I was looking at what the apostle Paul wrote about the fruits of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians.”
“Singular,” Stan replied.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“It’s fruit of the Spirit, not fruits. They all come from the Spirit in a single package, not nine separate packages.”
“Okay,” I said, “last night I was reading about the fruit of the Spirit, and I have a question. Do you think any one of the fruit is more more important than the other ones listed?”
“Well,” Stan replied, “I don’t think any is more important in the broad sense, but I do think that one of them may control or at least impact all of the others.”
“One may control or impact all of the others,” I repeated. “In what way? Which one? Love?”
“No,” Stan said, “even though ‘love’ is listed first, I actually think it’s the one that Paul listed last that is the one that has the biggest impact on all of the others. But let me emphasize that this is just the opinion of only one person, a person who has a lot of trouble with the last-listed fruit.”
“You talking about yourself?”
“I am,” Stan replied.
“And you have trouble with self-control?”
“I do,” he said. “And without self-control, there is no way for me to manifest the other eight fruit as I think God intends. If I don’t control myself, how can I manifest love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness the way God intends?”
“Maybe that’s why Jesus said that the first step in discipleship is to deny self,” I replied. “Denying self is kind of like controlling it, don’t you think?”
“More than ‘kind of like,’ my friend,” Stan said. “I think it’s the central key that unlocks discipleship and the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit!”
Bible verses to consider:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.
And as he (Paul) was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time, I will summon you. Acts of the Apostles 24:25.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of the Holy Spirit to live in me to help, guide, counsel, and lead me in the way you have for me to live this life you have given me while I wait to step into eternity to be in your presence forever. Thank you for the fruit of the Spirit that you intend to manifest in and through me. I confess that too often I do not get myself out of your way so you can manifest all you intend. Please help me in following every step of your lead so that each listed fruit is manifested just as you intend, to make a difference for you and for your kingdom. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you see the listing of the fruit of the Spirit as nine individual things, each operating separately — or as one inseparable whole? Do you think it make any difference? Why or why not? If you were asked which of the listed nine fruit is the most “important,” what would you list as number one? Why? Do you agree with Stan’s view of the importance of self-control? Why or why not? How are you doing with controlling or denying yourself? If you sense change may be appropriate, how is that going to happen?
The Book: Waiting for the Train — Biblical Food for Growing Before Going, by S. Tory Teller, Foreword by Josh McDowell — http://www.s-toryteller.com