The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control
Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Psalm 119:89-90
Faithfulness helps us be loyal, steadfast, and trustworthy with God and others. Faithfulness is authenticity and commitment, the power and motivation for Christian living. Because God is trustworthy with us we can be faith-worthy in Him and His precepts and call!
The opposite of faithfulness is doubt and distrust
As Christians, when we are not trustworthy, we do not display real authentic faith. When we distrust God or others who are trustworthy, we will miss out on seeing God come through with His promises. When we are not exercising our faith, we will be consumed with doubt and distrust–the very opposite of God’s call and plan for us.
We become trustworthy and faithful when we are building a right, growing relationship with God. This helps us create an atmosphere of happiness, contentment, cooperation, and the closest we can get to living in real unity.
Yet, it can only be grasped if/when we surrender our pride and sin and really live by what Christ has called us to. A growing faith makes us faithful. We must be building our relationship in Christ.
Faithfulness is the ability to take what Christ has done in us and be a blessing to others with loyalty and trust. Faithfulness goes against modern psychology and societal thinking, as it requires us to move beyond ourselves, whereas psychology tells us to be self-centered, putting the “me” first and rearranging the world to our needs—which can only ever result in self-destruction and broken relationships. We have to keep the goal of faithfulness in our minds always, as it will allow God to work deeper and us to respond to His call.
The Fruit of the Spirit is Gentleness
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Gentleness is the character that shows calmness, personal care, tenderness and the love of Christ in meeting the needs of others. The Holy Spirit’s work in our lives enables us to be humble, obedient and trusting to His will and precepts. When we obey in humility, gentleness follows.
The opposite of gentleness is roughness and violence.
A lack of gentleness causes us to run over others and we end up being like the men who built the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9) – their downfall was not the building, but their pride and arrogance. We ruin our testimony to others when we seek our own glorification and misunderstand gentleness and submission.
True intimacy with God is not found in our feelings, works, entitlement, the reciting of creeds, or even by having the right theology. Rather, true intimacy is our deep affection and knowledge of Christ that is practiced by our trust. Gentleness is a sign of that intimacy. It is not weakness, but is strength under control – it allows us to be tender. (Think of the tenderness of a mighty God who created the entire universe; yet, He treats us with the utmost gentleness and care). Knowing gentleness is trusting that God will take care of justice. This understanding of His sovereignty will move us from the hurriedness of life and the cruelty that goes with it, because we are at peace with God.
Gentleness allows us to be caring and nurturing to others. It helps us stay calm and not escalate problems. Gentleness allows us to build others up, by allowing them to grow. When we are too full of pride, we cannot be gentle with others. When others need an ear to listen, they go to someone who is gentle. (1 Cor. 4:21; James 1:21)
The Fruit of the Spirit is Self-Control
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28
Self-control is walking in the Spirit, allowing God to be in control of your will and heart. This allows us to have discipline and restraint, in obedience to God and others.
The opposite of self-control is self-indulgence and giving in to sin.
If the Holy Spirit does not have our focus, then who or what will? Sin, pride and desire will cause us to fall in our Christian journey. Too much excess will leave you empty and alone. Self-indulgence seeks sin, what is fleeting – but we know, through Christ, that we are made for eternity.
Self-control is not the subject of the media; you may never see a movie with this as the premise because it is anti-climatic and seems boring. Yet, Christ is calling us by His example and Word to seek what is in eternity that is permanent and lasting not what is fleeting and empty. Christ was our greatest example of self-control. Self-control will help deliver us from the temptations of sin, fear and depression by being focused on Christ and not our circumstances. God desires that we have joy and fun, but he also calls us to follow Him as we do so.
Are these Fruits of the Spirit – Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control – in you?
1.How do I exhibit faithfulness and self-control in my daily life?
2.What can I do to develop a more gentle and faithful attitude?
3.What blocks self-control and gentleness from being expressed in me?
4.How can I ask God for the strength to be faithful and gentle as He is?
5.How can I depend on God to give me self-control?
Check out an earlier post here.
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