This past week I lost most, if not all, of my self-control during a City Council Meeting. Nothing that would make the news or bring embarrassment to my family but something that I am not proud of in retrospect. As human beings, when we deal with people, we need to remain in control of our emotions and remain aware of how we act toward them. I’m not one who usually “flies off the handle” (my 15 year old might disagree) but when I get to that point, I turn into a freight train. Passion is a good thing to have in life – in love, in commitment or to help others, etc. We must guard that passion when we get emotionally involved in issues; there is a difference between passion and emotional outburst. Self-control starts with peace, patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness as a result of faithfulness. Peace and patience allow you to remain calm in the face of the issue. Kindness and goodness remind us that someone will be on the receiving end of our self-control (or lack of it) and those interactions should be gentle. People will respect you, you’ll respect yourself and you’ll glorify God with the gifts He has given you.
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-23, 25
Nothing like a little self-reflection to start the week! It is good to be reminded that the fruit of the Spirit or the essence of what the Holy Spirit has given us, lives within us. We don’t have to seek these things or learn how to do them; God has given them to us. Jesus lived His life demonstrating them, God inspired them to be written in the bible; all we need to do is be reminded of them and then put them to practice. It’s okay to be happy (joy) and to get along with others (peace). Be patient and kind with everyone, even those who require a little extra effort. Your demonstration of goodness and gentleness are God pleasing and witness to your faith in the Word of God. These fruits lead to more self-control and less frustration that will circle back to finding love, joy and peace in your life. God is amazing in how He ordered all of these “fruits” to work in support of one another in our lives. “Since we live in the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” is great advice to us for how to live our lives.