The Fruits of the spirit are a simple concept in the Bible but seem to be a challenge in
today’s world. This is because they all require self-control and discipline. Self-control is the last
fruit of the spirit in the list in Galatians 5:22-23. All the other fruits require self-control, so it is
an interesting addition to the list. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
and gentleness all require self-control. This overlap adds a new layer as we begin to see how one
fruit of the Spirit needs another to be fully complete. Love takes effort in being faithful in
relationships. It’s difficult to feel joy without being at peace about your surroundings and where
God has placed you. Peace comes from a relationship with God and faithfulness to his plan.
Patience oftentimes requires a strong love for someone and for sure, heaps of self-control.
Kindness goes hand in hand with love and gentleness. Goodness includes all of the other fruits of
the spirit as they all contribute to how people treat one another. Faithfulness requires love and
oftentimes patience. Gentleness is a learned attitude that demands patience and an inner
peace as well. Lastly, self-control is fueled by a wish to be gentle and patient.
Just as self-control is required to assist many of the other fruits of the spirit, it also creates
discipline in human lives. Proverbs 25:18 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a
person who lacks self-control.” Self-control holds people together. It challenges people to stay
true to their morals and values and to rely on the Lord when they are wavering. Especially in
today’s world, where temptations are everywhere, it can be a struggle to obey the guidelines in
the Bible and to also listen to God’s voice in the chaos. When the world closes in, Christians
must learn to turn to the Lord and seek out His promises. No matter the challenge, he will help us
remain faithful and have self-control.
As self-control closes out the list of the fruits of the spirit, it’s important to look at the
collection as a whole. These attributes are not a requirement for Christians, for God has already
paid for our sins and gifted us with entrance to Heaven if we accept him into our hearts.
However, all people have a sinful nature and in Galatians 5:19, before listing the fruits of the
spirit, the actions of sinful nature are named. They include “sexual immorality, impurity,
lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish
ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.” These
sins seem consuming and the list of “don’ts” can seem intimidating. That’s why the fruits of the
Spirit are given and also why God promises to let the Holy Spirit guide His people. The Lord
recognizes that there will be trials and hardships on earth. Therefore, he gives Christians
guidance in His word, in verses like Galatians 5:22-23, and also promises that His Spirit, the
Holy Spirit will remain in all those who believe in His name.
As the holidays are approaching and schedules seem to be consumed with tasks and
busyness, it’s easy to lose sight of the Lord and to get wrapped up in chaos. Let the Spirit guide
you and cast your worries on the Lord. Rest easy and rely on him for strength. Seek peace and control your actions and your words. Speak truth into the lives of those you love and be faithful to His commands. And remember, the greatest gift is that which Jesus gave us on the cross and the greatest promise is that He will come again.
Amaya Leiby (15) is on staff with CLM/TPS Chapel and a student at The Potter's School.