You’re driving down the road just trying to get to wherever you’re going. Someone, in an apparent great rush, cuts you off only to drive a few hundred feet before turning left and trapping you behind him or her. What keeps you from turning your car into a battering ram?
You’re working on your taxes and discover you’ve miscalculated this past year and you owe more than you withheld. But if you just tweak this one number on this one line, you’ll break even. What prevents you from changing that number?
You’re married and work with someone who’s in a bad one. They happen to be “easy on the eyes.” They are also interested in you. What stops you from making a mistake that would wreck your life?
As we come to the end of our survey on the fruit of the spirit (all the readings are here), we seek the answer again in the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
“Self-control”. That doesn’t need much explanation, does it? Anyone reading this knows it means to restrain yourself—your emotions, impulses and desires. Self-control is governing the internal desires that work themselves into our actions.
When we are in control of ourselves, we have a master over our desires, passions, thoughts, and instincts. We refuse to accept that we are some kind of animal incapable of controlling ourselves. Instead, we exercise this part of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We are runners in a great race with the finish line in sight. We are not running aimlessly at some amorphous goal. No, we are ambassadors of the King of kings and Lord of lords. We bear the name of Christ on our hearts and that imprint—that tattoo of Jesus—creates a new ability in us…His.
We are masters of ourselves because the Lord Jesus is Master of our heart. We keep our hearts in check because Jesus has our hearts.
No wonder the Apostle Paul adds, “against such things there is no law.” The purpose of the Law is to restrain us, to fence us in for our protection. The fruit of the Spirit, however, is about freedom in Christ; there doesn’t need to be any restrain over those.
I’ve heard people say, “rules are meant for those who break them.” Look at that again. I’ll wait.
Christ came to us free from the need of such restraints by replacing our desires. Both of these verses remind us this is not the “fruit of self-effort”. This isn’t something we work on as if there’s a methodology we can go through to say, “I’ve arrived!” Nope.
Instead, this is the fruit of the Spirit. This is what the Holy Spirit does in us as we grow in Him.
As the fruit of the Spirit grows in your life, remember to thank the Lord for two wonderful truths in your life:
- You are not who you were because of Jesus
- You are not who you are going to be because of Jesus
Verse 1 God Eternal here today Moving in unchanging ways Far beyond the highest high Closer than can be defined You’re a mystery Verse 2 Common human clothed in splendor Unending strength yet heart so tender Born to die to free this slave The beauty of amazing grace is a mystery Verse 3 So unlovely still You love me Needing You yet You pursue me Loving me since time began Such love I’ll never comprehend Chorus 1 I see You move in unseen ways Hear Your voice in the quiet place I feel Your peace steal my breath away You’re simply a mystery Ending To me the greatest mystery Is You in love with me