Faithfulness, Meekness, And Self-Control As Fruit Of The Spirit
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." (Galatians 5:16-25)
The Spirit bears fruit in our lives in two ways. First, by teaching of the Word we learn to restrain all evil passions. Then, we develop or bring into activity the fruit of the Spirit. This is seen in actions toward God, toward others, and toward self. The final three in our series are primarily toward self, at least as far as practical spiritual implications. The final three fruit we are looking at are faithfulness, meekness, and self-control.
Faithfulness As Fruit Of The Spirit.
The King James Version translates the word “faith.” Later translations seem to express the idea better by translating it “faithfulness.” Its basic idea is fidelity, the character of one who is reliable. The reference is to an ethical virtue. If a person stands fast or firm, we can rely on him (1 Corinthians 16:13). Faithfulness involves integrity wherein one keeps his word or is loyal to his principles. Christians must be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Let's consider other passages where this word is used as it is here in Galatians. Paul speaks of the “faithfulness of God” (Romans 3:3). This refers to God’s trustworthiness and fidelity. God’s promises are sure in spite of the fickleness of men. Paul exhorts slaves (Titus 2:10). We can make application to our jobs and employers. Faithfulness demands trusting God in face of opposition, doubt, or suspicion. We must rely on God’s working everything out to the good (Romans 8:28). Love “believes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Nothing is needed in the church more than members of fidelity who can be relied on and who are dependable. We need Christians who are faithful in the use of their talents (Hebrews 5:12-14). Likewise, we must be good stewards of our time. We must make good use of the limited time we have (Ephesians 5:16). Faithfulness also includes using our money wisely to the glory of God. For lessons on this last aspect on faithfulness, click here for a series of classes on Christians' financial responsibilities.
Meekness As Fruit Of The Spirit.
Meekness may rhyme with weakness but the two could not be further from different! The meek soul is not a timid, cowering, cringing coward. To be meek is not to be a spineless, spiritless type of person. Moses was meek (Numbers 12:3). Moses was a strong man. Meekness is often defined as “gentleness,” but this does not do it justice. It is “strength or power under control.” Think of a pitcher throwing a fastball within a few inches or a tennis player hitting a serve with in inch of the line. Meekness is the complete control of the passionate part of our nature.
Meekness is to suffer wrong without resentment. This does not mean we must allow ourselves to be used by the ungodly. Jesus rebuked an officer who slapped Him (John 18:23). Paul asked for release after being illegally imprisoned (Acts 16:37). Meekness is to receive injury with the belief that God will vindicate us (Romans 12:19).
There are several important applications of meekness. Meekness is the spirit in which error must be corrected and discipline must be exercised (Galatians 6:1-2). Meekness is the spirit that is to characterize the preaching of God’s word (2 Timothy 2:25). Meekness is the spirit in which the Christian is to give answer concerning his faith (1 Peter 3:15). Meekness is the spirit in which all are to receive the Word (James 1:21). Meekness is the spirit that should characterize the entire life of a Christian (James 3:13).
Self-Control As Fruit Of The Spirit
Self-control is the opposite of intemperance. It means one has control or mastery of his life. The idea is governing and preserving within proper bounds every movement of our heart. It is most fittingly the last on the list for it is the culmination of the Spirit’s work. It is the strength of soul by which we take hold of ourselves so we can restrain ourselves. One of the greatest ways of intemperance is excess in things permissible.
Self-control implies self-denial. Christ is our example. He did only His Father’s will (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38). He commands that we be self-controlled. This is the only safeguard against falling to the devil. Self-control requires self-restraint. Paul found it necessary to buffet his body (1 Corinthians 9:27). Self-control demands self-motivation. We need to direct our power for good. The Christian cannot live, talk, dress, and act as those in the world. We are training for Christ (1 Corinthians 9:25). We cannot do everything our flesh desires.
How do we get control of ourselves? We need to put strong reliance on God’s help. Such things as Bible study, prayer, worship, and active participation in the Lord’s work will help develop the spirit. We must avoid evil companions and places that put a stronger pull on us to do what is wrong. Lastly, we need to live with a purpose.
Bearing The Fruit Of Faithfulness, Meekness, And Self-Control
All who claim to walk after the Spirit must show the fruit. Against these there is no law (Galatians 5:23). Those who have the fruit are living a life of obedience. They do not walk after the flesh (Romans 8:6). We hope that these articles have been helpful in your walk with the Lord. We hope that you are being used by God as a vessel of honor and that the fruit of the Spirit is evident in your life. And if you are struggling with this aspect of your discipleship, let's talk. Contact us and we'll do all we can to help. To contact us, click here.