“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Each of the qualities from Galatians 5:22-23 is presented in the New Testament as a command to be obeyed. We are commanded to love, be joyful, practice peacemaking, etc.
This validates the focus on choice and control. Galatians 5:16 itself is a command we must choose to obey: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
The question we must answer is “Who or what will we allow to be in control?”
Life which is (according to the flesh) is a life that is directed by self and for self. It is life driven by selfish ambition and self-absorption. It is life where I demand to be in control. And, since I am in control – I feel easily threatened, so I must fight, scheme, manipulate, and worry. I do these things to fight for my control (note the contrast in James 3:13-17).
The personal presence and power of the Holy Spirit is central to life that pleases God. The Holy Spirit is also the source for true Christian community. We are called to choose to respond to the Spirit. Then His control will lead to spirit-filled self-control.
The Scripture speaks of…
- Walking by the Spirit
- Being led by the Spirit
- Bearing the fruit of the Spirit
- Keeping in step with the Spirit
- Sowing to the Spirit