By Derek Maul
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Wow! What a spectacular weekend here in North Carolina! Clear skies, sunshine, temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s, a little Saturday golf, a long walk in the Piedmont, a wonderful dinner party, then a beautiful morning of worship with our church family at WFPC.
At church we enjoyed seeing gaggles of children all over the place, we received new members at both services, the buzz of excitement to be in church was palpable, and my wife, Rebekah, wrapped up her series on The Fruit of the Spirit with a provocative message on “gentleness and self-control.”
She turned the traditional self-control equation upside down by sharing a story about how – when she tried but failed to conjure up love for a difficult person – her eventual surrender to God made all the difference. Because, while self-control is all about us, surrender turns out to be all about God.
While self-control is all about us, surrender turns out to be all about God.
We have to understand that we cannot by sheer will command love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness – and certainly not self-control. However, when we cultivate our relationship to Jesus, when we place ourselves in more intentional proximity to God, then the fruit of the Spirit becomes not our obligation but our opportunity; gentleness and self-control are not our responsibility, but our response to Jesus.
The fruit of the Spirit becomes not our obligation but our opportunity; gentleness and self-control are not our responsibility, but our response.
If there is anything this world needs a lot more of right now, it is more committed followers of Jesus, living love out loud. We need to become the kind of disciples who tell the truth about the Gospel, simply by the way that we live.
I’ll take a large helping of that
Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com