Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
This passage of scripture teaches us of the manifestation of the fruit of The Spirit, which starts off with love, as the foundation principle upon which all sterling characters are built, and then the description ends with temperance, without which there will be an imbalance in our lives, even if we have love. The passage finishes by stating that there must also be a daily crucifying of the lusts of the flesh, in order that the graces of The Spirit may be cultivated. This is really the essence of the internal work of The Holy Spirit in our lives, for it is always concentrated on restoring God's image in man, which was distorted by the indulgence of sin.
However, like any other noble aspiration that is worth achieving, well-directed effort must be put into the cultivation of the seed that is planted by God, if as Christians we are to realize any meaningful results, and these efforts will include stern self-denial in many instances, so that the tender plant of good character, nay grow and flourish. One of the areas in which we need to be constantly watchful, is that of retaliating in an un-Christlike manner whenever someone has offended us, or when we may have been treated in a humiliating manner, and our pride has been wounded.
At times like these, the love that we often speak about must then be put into practice, by not only restraining our tongues from saying that which is not becoming, but also by wishing only the best for the one who may be guilty of the offense. This is not an easy task and it will call for us to be girded with the panoply of heaven at all times, lest we blurt out a torrent of words that are like flames upon oil. The proof of sterling character is not by how much our feelings control us, but rather by how much we control our feelings, and it is of critical importance that we never attempt to achieve this in our own strength. The wise man cautions us of the human tendency to react on the spur of the moment in anger, and without thinking first of what is about to be said. Let's read:
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
Proverbs 29:20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
It is therefore imperative, that if the cultivation of the fruit of The Spirit is to continue steadily and uninterrupted in our lives, that Christ must be front and center of all our efforts, for to try to build a sound character without Him is like building on the shifting sand, and if this is done, we will be overthrown in the day of temptation. We therefore end with a passage of scripture which encourages us to depend upon God in this delicate process, so that His name might be honored and glorified in our lives, and so that we will not be ashamed in the day when our true characters are revealed. Let's read:
1st Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder".... 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
May The Lord add His blessing to the study and practice of His every word. God bless!