Faithfulness, Gentleness, & Self Control: The Final Three Fruits of the Spirit

Let’s talk about queso.

Queso easily is…

-my guilty pleasure

-my go-to food

-the greatest gift to mankind

Here is the oh so ironic not funny at all part. I’m lactose intolerant, extremely lactose intolerant. Two weeks ago I spent 6 hours in the E.R. because I had eaten queso for the last 4 days and my body pretty much had a meltdown.  IT. IS. THE. WORSE.

Why do I bring up my star-crossed lovers affair with queso you ask? Well because my body hasn’t always reacted this way to dairy. Before my Rheumatoid Arthritis developed and my gastrointestinal system went wacky, my body seemed to function pretty normal and these health issues, I wholeheartedly believe, was my punishment because I lacked Self-Control. I just love the queso.

I saved faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as the final three fruits because one, they were listed this way but ironically enough out of all nine Fruits of the Spirit these are the most difficult for me. For me, it’s like eating cantaloupe because I know it’s good for me but in all reality, between me and you, I HATE cantaloupe. These three attributes are the cantaloupe of my spirit. And just like you tell your 4 year old to eat their spinach because it will make them strong and healthy, that’s what these attributes will do for us if practiced consistently. A solid foundation of these nine traits, no matter how hard it can be to practice sometimes, will make us strong and healthy within our faith.

Faithfulness

Faithful means more than just loyalty. Faithful means believing. There is not a belief fought against more often and harder than God and his word. There is nothing Satan loves to attack more than the legitimacy of God’s word. Faithfulness is believing what the Bible has to say in term of God; his promises, his power; his work; etc. It is standing firm in that belief, not easily being swayed by outside opinion.

I mentioned that faithfulness was one of the three most difficult for me. This is not because I do not believe 110% in God and his omnipresent and omnipotent power, It is because man has altered the word of God so much. It is man I do not trust. However, I constantly pray for discernment and remind myself that God is still in control and if I am truly searching, truly asking questions, he will answer.

“Ask, and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

I have to practice faithfulness in this aspect. The information he presents me is the information he meant to be presented to me.

 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Hebrews 11:3

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Gentleness

If you were to ask someone to describe me, Gentle would not even be in the top 50 adjectives. There is passive, passive-aggressive, and aggressive. Then there is me, and I am aggressive-aggressive. I am a get r’ done, there is no time like the present, honesty is the best policy, let the truth ring out type of person. But if I am being honest with myself, I am not benefitting God and his kingdom in this way. Yes, there is no time like the present and honesty is the best policy but it is also true that to bring others to God you have to reach out in love. Love is best represented with a softer touch. There are times that hard love is required but since starting this journey with the Lord, I have learned that a gentle approach is usually the best bet. While growing through Christ I have found myself less inclined to offer that 24/7 hard love, but wanting to approach someone or a particular situation gently and I know that is all Christ within me.

As humans we often forget how much influence we have on those surrounding us, so if we are not speaking love and practicing gentleness as Christ did with all of us, then those around us are not receiving the form of love God instructed us all to give. How do we expect to lead one to Christ if we are speaking harsh and abrasiveness words into them?

“so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into ..” Ephesians 4:14-16

Self-Control

Now here we are, back to the queso. What’s the harm, right? Why would God allow a health issue to arise from a small self-control issue? I will not explain self-control here but rather let the Bible speak for itself….

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the LORD your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the LORD your God, and serve him only.'” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus was hungry. Jesus was more than hungry, he was starving in the physical sense. He wanted bread, he in no way enjoyed this 40 day experience. If he enjoyed it, there is no way Satan could have tempted him with jumping from the highest point of the temple. But Christ WAS tempted. However, Christ practiced self-control and because of this, he lived a sin free blameless life and was able to die on the cross to save us. How blessed are we that he could do what we could not!

So why is that queso so important? Because it is not just queso, it is the simple fact if I cannot gain control over something as little as that, that means I would have bitten that same apple as Eve, and jumped when Satan had told me to jump and that’s not like Christ. Christ didn’t do those things and the bible does not instruct us to be like Eve, to be like the normal sinful human. He instructed us to shape ourselves like CHRIST.

Well, Christ practiced self-control.

In fact, Christ practiced all nine of these Fruits of the Spirit. He was loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and disciplined.

“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.” Galatians 5:22

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That concludes my study on the nine Fruits of the Spirit. Did I leave anything out or you have something you would like to included? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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