“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
As we continue on our journey, we become faithful. Not because of what we have done or accomplished along the way but because God, in his very nature, is faithful. Because of God’s innate faithfulness and the Holy Spirit’s work of Goodness, anchored in the previous fruit, faithfulness is birthed, nurtured, and fullfilled in us.
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:9
“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” – Psalm 36:5
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” – Matthew 25:23
Faithful. We become so because he is.
As we near the end of our journey, because he has made us loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good and faithful; we are then equipped to be truly gentle. Not out of force of will or empathy but, because of the unmoving foundation which the Holy Spirit has built in us, we become innately gentle. Gentle in our new nature. Gentle because, due to the work of the Spirit in us, we are no longer directed or controlled by fear and anxiety. They have no power or influence over us and we become gentle.
“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” – Psalm 18:35
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” – 1 Timothy 6:11
“And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” – 2 Timothy 2:24-25a
The impartation of the Fruit of the Spirit ends in self-control. The ability to be master over one’s flesh – emotions, carnality, and the attack of the Evil One. It is in self-control that we manifest Jesus to the world. It is in self-control that we live subject to the will of God – Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit; and, it is by the Holy Spirit’s work in us through his imparted fruit, that we can live in self-control.
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” – Proverbs 25:28
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:6-7
“Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.” – Titus 2:5-6
So, I come back to my original question about the Fruit of the Spirit. What if they are not singular and isolated? What if they are actually interconnected, additive and interwoven?
I believe they are deeply interconnected and masterfully interwoven. Building upon each other in growing measure until we are truly “a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
In this mysterious act of redemption and renewal, through and because of the impartation of the Fruit of the Spirit in order, building upon each other in increasing measure – interconnected, additive, and interwoven – “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:16) and we are truly able to “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.” (Philippians 2:14-16).
Godspeed and may the Fruit of the Spirit well up within you and overflow into your world. A world desperate for the Life in you, desperate for Jesus. Amen!