This is part two of my exploration of the Fruit of the Spirit, not as some behavior manifesto, but as the traits of a Father. In this post, I’m going to offer a few personal reflections on the last three fruits of the spirit as they’re laid out in Galatians: faithfulness, gentleness & self-control. You can read the first post where we explore the first six fruits here.
I am thrilled with God’s faithfulness towards me. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
He is consistent and unceasing in His loving-kindness to me. God is not faithful to a fault. He is faithful to Jesus in me. His love is consistent to the sacrifice of Jesus. A price has been paid in full. I am free to be loved even in the face of my own inconsistency! It takes a long period of time to adjust from the world to the Kingdom.
It takes years to develop from human relationships to a divine relationship. He is completely different from any human I have ever encountered. He is altogether lovely.
His faithfulness means He is firm in His promise. He is loyal, reliable, trustworthy, unwavering. I always know where I am in Christ because He never changes. His good nature is not dependent upon my performance. He initiates everything as a gift given joyfully. My response comes after He has done something, not before. I cannot earn His approval because Jesus in me holds it for me. As I grow up in all things in Christ, my relationship changes as I become more Christ-like. I am able to enjoy more of who He is for me as my fears, stress and negativity are reduced by His presence.
It is His gentleness in this process of exploring, learning and discovering Him that has made the most difference to me.
My learned behavior in the world is upgraded to the learned fellowship with His nature. I love who He is for me. In any difficult scenario I face in life my most frequent question is, “Lord, what is it that you want to be for me now in this situation?” My story and my journey are about to change for the better.
Sometimes I change and my circumstance doesn’t. I learn patience, persistence and perseverance, all of which make me a much calmer, more gentle, more powerful man. Certainly more cheerful! Sometimes, I change and then my circumstances have to adjust to the new me in Jesus. It is the gentleness of God that empowers me to become meek. Meekness is not weakness it is strength under control.
Gentleness produces compassion. I adore the compassion God has for me as a human being who is learning how to do life from a different dimension. He is sweet spirited, tender hearted and merciful to me.
If God did not exercise self-control, we would all be dead.
Self-control disempowers reactive behavior in favor of response. I am learning restraint by having a good frame of mind and heart about people and circumstances. Making war on all my negativity is the most fun in Jesus. God believes the best about me because He chooses to see me in Jesus and partners with Jesus in me. He gives me permission to consider myself dead to sin and be alive to Him (Romans 6:11).
His heart is composed towards me. His vision to make me in His image is so wonderfully disciplined that it creates focus in me. He is even-tempered, calm with such a loving disposition that I can learn joyfully in the atmosphere He generates. (In fact, I wrote the book, “Keys To Brilliant Focus” because God’s nature towards me has been so consistently generous that it shifted my focus to living in the new man in Christ.)
The fruit of the Spirit contains all the attributes that God regularly practices in His relationship with me!
What particular fruit of the Spirit is God developing in you at this time? What if all your circumstances can be adjusted through who He wants to be for you? What if at the heart of all our life experiences; good, bad or ugly is an encounter and experience of His character and nature? There is no law that can work against the fruit of the Sprit but there are plenty of the laws of the Spirit of the life in Christ Jesus that work in tandem with it!
See what you can explore and discover for yourself. Let me know how it goes.
P.S. This is the third post in a series to kick off 2016 about abiding in the Spirit of God and it’s impact on how we carry ourselves in the world. My hope is that this will inspire you to have more presence, more peace and more brilliance in the new year! To explore deeper, be sure to download “Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit.“