Part 1 of The Fruit of the Spirit Series
Do you struggle with having self-control in your life? Do you even know what self-control truly is? Watch this Bible Speed Art Video from Daniel T. Adams of Perhaps Today and see what it’s all about.
This surreal photography picture takes an interesting look into self-control, not by man’s standards, but rather by God’s. After all, shouldn’t our Creator’s viewpoint be the only one that matters? If you answer “no” to that question, than perhaps you should take a closer look at the lesson behind this picture.
ABOUT THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT SERIES
At Perhaps Today we are excited to launch the 9-Part series about the fruit of the Spirit. The 5th chapter in the book of Galatians is well-known for this section. Many people have memorized and can quote this passage of the Bible. But what really is the fruit of the Spirit? And is knowing the 9 parts just enough?
In this series, we will be looking at the 9 characteristics mentioned in this infamous part of the Bible. However, this series will also include frequent blog posts as well. These posts will help to build more of the content that we didn’t have time to add in the video. We will primarily be looking at Galatians 5:16-26, but as is custom with our Bible expeditions, we will be bouncing all over the Bible in order to build God’s concept and not just take one verse out of context, like is done so much in the church and media world today.
We will be breaking down the aforementioned verses into 3 distinct sections. Then we will take time to dive into each of them. The 3 sections can be broken down as such:
- The Conflict (vs. 16-18)
- The Contrast (vs. 19-21)
- The Conqueror (vs. 22-26)
READING IT BACKWARDS
When reading about the fruit of the Spirit, you will notice that Paul lists them in a specific order. Paul started with love and worked his way down to self-control? So why did we choose to make our first picture in the series about self-control instead of love? Is there a method behind our madness of working backwards in the list? The very simple answer is “yes”. And now we will explain why.
The order of the list has everything to do with perspective. What we mean by “perspective” can be easily understood from this example:
When God the Father looks from His perspective upon Jesus, He sees His Son. The Father doesn’t call him the Messiah because He is a holy God looking upon his holy Son. Our perspective is a bit different however. To us, a sinful people, we understand that Jesus is the one and only Son of God. However our perspective recognizes Jesus as the Christ. He’s our Messiah. Jesus is the only means by which we can be saved from the destiny of darkness. Jesus is the only way we can enter the light and presence of the one true holy God. Therefore the significance to our perspective is Jesus as our savior.
The same is so with the fruit of the Spirit. God’s perspective is going to begin with love. Why? Because God is love (1 John 4:8). However, as a fallen creation we have no way of understanding and knowing the love of God unless we can first learn to overcome the sinful nature. And for us, that begins with self-control. Therefore, we will view this series from our perspective because the hope is that, through this series, we will learn what it truly means to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
IT’S ALL ABOUT OUR NATURE
The first thing to understand about the word “self-control”, along with all the other characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit, is that the words are nouns. This is important because they are NOT verbs. They might have a verb attached to the word, but the essence of the word is a noun. If we can remember back to our grammar school Language Arts classes, verbs are action words and nouns relate to a person, place, or thing.
With that being said, the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is listed all as nouns makes it abundantly clear that the fruit of the Spirit is not some kind of action/works-based platform we can hope to work at in order to achieve holiness. There is nothing we can do that will ever be “good enough” to earn the Holy Spirit of God in our life. However, the fruit is listed as nouns, meaning that the focus is not on what we do but on who we are in Christ. It is the new nature, formed in the love of Christ our Lord. The old sinful nature with its passions and desires is to be crucified (Galatians 5:24), with the new nature – a holy nature – being breathed to life in us by the Spirit of God.
THE PURPOSE IN YOUR LIFE
So here is the question? If the Spirit of God gives us life in Christ, does God expect His Spirit to have no results in our life? Is the work of the Spirit to awaken us to life without our lives ever bringing ALL glory to the Father? If that is what we believe, then we would make God out to be a liar, and God does not take kindly to that. In the book of Isaiah, here is what the Lord says about his word,
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
The Lord is not in the business of being unproductive and ineffective. The Lord has a desire and a purpose, and we can bet our bottom dollars that his desire will be accomplished and his purpose will be achieved. The rain and snow do not fall to the ground and keep the ground dry. They water the land, and the water provided by them bears fruit (seed for the sower and bread for the eater). So it is with the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a true, overcoming believer.
For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8
WHAT IS SELF-CONTROL
So as you can see, we were not meant to be ineffective and unproductive because the Spirit of God is not ineffective and unproductive. So, where are we today with the Lord? Are we productive and effective? Are we bearing these qualities so that the Father of all creation is glorified, or are we more concerned with our own desires and passions? Or perhaps with the desires and passions of the world, our family, friends, work associates, people on social media, etc? You were created to live as a child of light. So what is restraining you from doing so.
To be quite clear, the term self-control (as you can see from the final surreal photography picture) is a word that means having the power to constrain/refrain. So are you restrained from the freedom in Christ you were meant to have because you choose to not keep in step with the Spirit? Or do you live in self-control and allow the Spirit to be the power that helps you restrain your sinful nature? Are you under control of your desires and passions or have you put those to death and thus are living in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the freedom that Christ offers you? This is why, without overcoming the sinful nature and letting the Spirit give you the power to live in self-control, we can never truly know and understand the rest of the fruit of the Spirit. And if that is the case, what then is the evidence in your life that you are as set apart from the sinful nature as light is from darkness?