Well friends, you made it! We are on the last week of our study over what God has to say about the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and how we can use Galatians 5:22-23 as a road map to praying powerful, sincere prayers for ANYONE.
It is so fitting that we are concluding our time together with two of the most foundational and critical components to our faith. Even if we are pursuing all the other good and holy things, if we do not have these last two we are running in circles.
"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
Nothing about our nature is gentle. We come into this life angry and sinful. Fearful. We go through our days doing what is required to just survive. Our culture has taught us that only the strong survive. We have to fake our strength to get ahead, and then fight some more to save our spot.
Our nature is to feed our addictions, our habits, and our own desires. At whatever the costs.
The problem is that this is the nature of our flesh-- not the nature of our faith. The default way of living a life of faith is dying.
It is dying to our selves. Our sin. Laying down all the reasons we are justified to get what we want, say what we want, have what we want. It is laying down our desire for security and instead picking up vulnerability, by choice. It is laying down our defiance and selfishness and instead choosing the bear the cross of unity for the sake of the Gospel. Unity with the Church for the health of the Church. Unity with countless other selfish and sinful people trying to lay down their own desires so everyone can run faster and more powerfully into their calling.
Gentleness and self-control go hand in hand, even if it doesn't seem like it at first. If we are not constantly exercising control over what we want, we will never have the margin to see what is best for others. And a life following Jesus is not about getting what you want. It's about laying down what you want for what others need. Which is ironically exactly what you need too.
If we lack self-control to say no to the things of our flesh, we will leave our sinful nature unchecked, in competition with the nature of our Spirit. But when we say YES to being intentional about every piece of our hearts and our lives, we say YES to being intentional with the tender pieces of other peoples hearts and lives as well.
The gentleness we have towards others is a direct reflection of the control we have on our own selfishness within. With our time, our resources, and our gifts. If there is evidence of a gentle spirit, it is because we have allowed the cross to do its deadly work in us, putting to death our desires and instead invited the Spirit to cultivate a heart that for others.
There is no better example than this than Jesus. He was never bothered by interruptions, impatient with people, or selfish with His time. He was so invested in what God was doing in the hearts of others that all His decisions were not based on the urgency of His needs, self-preservation, or even His own longing for solitude or progress. He was constantly dying so that others could live, long before that day at Calvary.
The greatest evidence of the gratitude we have for what God has done for us is in the way we treat others and pray for others. The evidence we have that the Spirit lives in us is what the Spirit does through us.
Gentleness // Self-Control
2 Corinthians 10:1
2 Timothy 2:24-25
1 Corinthians 9:25
2 Timothy 1:6-7
Who or what is worth it to you today, to extend the extra hand of gentleness? Where is God asking you to lay down your desire for security or control and instead pick up vulnerability for the sake of cultivating a more sincere gentleness with others?
Who or what is worth your time? Where is self-control lacking in your life? In what ways is that hindering unity with others? In what ways are interruptions an opportunity to die to self in your own life?
Our gentleness and self-control (or lack thereof) may either be the road or the roadblock to someone's repentance, freedom, or discovery of truth. We patiently endure this life with gentleness and self-control at every turn because restoration is WORTH IT.
Our families are WORTH IT.
Our friends are WORTH IT.
Our enemies are WORTH IT.
Because HE is worth it.
I am so thankful you went on this journey with me. I pray you have gained new insights about the fruit of the Spirit and what it means for your own lives and how to pray them for others. Keep asking God to cultivate these things in your lives, and interceding intentionally on the behalf of others. Every prayer matters. God gladly accepts every invitation to move in our lives because He says we are worth it. Let's show Him HE is worth it to us with every piece of our lives.
Please let us know how God has spoken to you over the course of these last few weeks in the Word together! It is so encouraging to share what God has done!
What was your favorite week/verse(s)? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
Once again, thank you so much for trusting me with your time here. I am continually praying for you all and so grateful for the ways you engage with and support this ministry! It is a JOY to run this race with you all!
Grace and peace,