Episode 58: The Holy Spirit's Fruit in Our Lives, Part 3

Peace to Live By Episode 58: The Holy Spirit's Fruit in Our Lives, Part 3 - Daniel Litton
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       Today we are finishing up our study on the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5. I think the last weeks have been pretty interesting as we have considered love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness. These are attitudes that God wants us to have, as Christians, in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. If we work these things into our overall character, we cannot lose in life. These characteristics help us to have more enjoyable lives, and create a better experience for those around us.

       The final three Fruit of the Spirt, which we are considering today, are faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are three more characteristics that we need to continue to cultivate into our lives. Now, as I’ve stated beforehand, some us of are better at some of the fruits than others, and some of us need a lot of work in this or that area. I would say that we all have our weak points. There are those fruits that seem much harder for us to display and live out, and at times we may feel very weak in a certain area. But the good news is that God, through his Spirit, will help us to grow in all these areas as we yield to him and work with him to further develop our character.

       Let’s take a look at the passage in Galatians chapter 5 one last time. So, turn in your Bibles or tap in your Bible apps on your mobile devices, and let’s consider Galatians chapter 5, starting in verse 22. The text says:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25, ESV).

So, again, today, we are considering the final three fruits, which are faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


       In discussing faithfulness I first want to talk about the fact that God is faithful. It is true that God always stays true to his word, no matter what. God was faithful the Israelites in the past, to Jesus his Son, and is to us as Christians—always. For some of us, that’s hard to understand, how a person could stay truthful and honest and trustworthy at all times. If we grew up around untrustworthy people or an untrustworthy parent, you may have a particularly difficult time understanding faithfulness. If your mother or father promised you things as a child only to never fulfill those promises, that affected your childhood development. You may not trust most of the people most of the time. Maybe you were burned over and over again. Whatever others have done, you can rest on this one fact, and that is that God is always faithful. What he says in his Word he does; he never fails. Whatever he promises us, he stray true to fulfilling it. He is with us all the time, no matter what, and never leaves us. Truly, God is faithful.

       The following is written in Romans chapter 3, starting in verse 2: “The Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged” (Romans 3:2-4, ESV). So, it is true that each one of us as humans is dishonest. That is, none of us have ever displayed complete honesty in all things, at all times, and in every way. Because we have sin-natures, all of us have failed from time to time. Now, at times people may judge God as a liar, but any judgment brought against him is shown to be unjust. This again is because God is always true to himself, to his character.

       And just as God displays and acts upon faithfulness toward his Word and the things that he promises us each individually, he expects us to remain faithful to him. Turn with me in your Bibles, or tap in your Bible apps, to Colossians chapter 3. Go to verse 21. We read:

“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister” (Colossians 1:21-23, ESV).

See, God wants us, as believers, to remain faithful to himself and his Word. He wants us to remain steadfast in the truth that we have been taught by good Bible teachers, to remain true to those things that we know in our hearts to be true. Paul said we are to “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast.” So, obviously, once we have become saved, we never want to go back to our former manner of living—that way of living before we were saved, where we just did whatever we wanted to do and followed the ways of this world. Paul also said, “not shifting from the hope of the gospel.” That means we are always looking forward to the next life to come—to Heaven. This life is temporal and passing away.

       What can happen to a believer is that he or she may be lead astray by forms of teaching that are in error. Indeed, there are many Bible teachers out there in the world, and many of them don’t follow the truth behind God’s Word. If we turn back a chapter, to Colossians chapter 2, we read the following from the Apostle Paul:

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:6-8, ESV).

So, when teachers present their own ideas on how to live, which do not line up with God’s Word, they can lead people down the wrong paths. These are teachings that may appear to be good on the surface, but really, when they are analyzed, they don’t stand firm in the Bible. Actually, as Paul says here, these are the doctrines of demons, for he says, “according to the elemental spirits of the world.” These “elemental spirits” are actually demonic spirits which guide the incorrect thoughts of the secular man.

       To change topics here a bit, but to remain in discussing faithfulness, God does want people to remain faithful in their marriages. It is really important that each partner in the marriage be providing the needs of the other person, and this includes intimate needs. Remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:5? He said, “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5, ESV). This is one of the reasons sex is reserved for marriage. Once two people are married, they come together as one, as Paul said. We as humans are sexual beings. And that’s why Paul said to continually come together. If things are out of order sexually, it gives Satan opportunity to tempt one of the marriage partners into committing adultery.

       And, so, adultery can be a danger for any married person who does not live like God wants him or her to live. It becomes a danger when there is disorder within the marriage, at the moment one or both partners are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. And when a person let’s his or her mind wander, or when he or she let’s the mind do whatever it wants to do—to think about and entertain whatever thoughts it wants to, without discretion—this can lead to unfaithfulness in marriage, to adultery. As I’ve stated in the past, the sin of adultery starts in the mind of a person. In order for a person to commit adultery, almost always the person had to be thinking incorrect thoughts beforehand which led to the incorrect behavior. Whatever a person may think, committing adultery brings devastation to marriage. Even if the person thinks he or she can hide it from the other person, it really cannot be hidden. Things will change between the married partners, and the unoffending person will know something wrong is going on. It definitely has dyer consequences. That’s why God warns against it, for he wants to protect everyone from its sufferings.

       Before I move on to the next fruit, I want to consider a passage in regard to the subject of adultery. Sometimes I don’t think that people really understand the seriousness and tremendous consequences that will occur when a person is unfaithful and participates in adultery. Turn with me, or tap, to Proverbs chapter 6 in the Old Testament. Read the whole chapter when you get a chance, but let’s pick up in verse 27:

“Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house. He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge. He will accept no compensation; he will refuse though you multiply gifts” (Proverbs 6:27-35, ESV).

A person who commits adultery will cause harm to himself, both spiritually and physically, to his partner in marriage, to his possessions, to his reputation, to the other person’s spouse if the person is married, and the list can go on and on. Adultery is devastating, and remaining faithful in one’s marriage is certainly important.


       God is gentle with us as believers; he is not harsh or demanding in his approach to us as his children. The Holy Spirit provides us with gentle correction and direction, as this is one of the benefits to being in right relationship with God. Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21, ESV). And it is no different in God’s relationship with us, as his children. The Spirit of God does not provoke us, or constantly correct us, because if he did, we would definitely become discouraged and may even give up. We might quit trying. He will gently tell us what to do, and it is our responsibility and in our best interest to follow what he tells us. Most things in our lives are our own responsibility. For example, my personal peace and happiness is my own responsibility; they are attitudes I choose to have based on my own, internal thinking and perspective. It is not the responsibility of other people to give me a peaceful life, or to make me feel happy. These are choices I have to make. Once you realize that, that it’s up to you, that can really change your life. In other words, in regard to our conversation today, you can choose to be gentle toward others regardless of people’s actions or your current circumstances.

       Paul told the Ephesians, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3, ESV). There is much that could be said about these verses, but our focus here is on gentleness. God calls us to be gentle toward one another in the body of Christ, and even to be gentle toward people who do not belong to Christ. Really, as Paul noted, humility and gentleness work together; they go hand-in-hand. You have to be humble if you want to be gentle. If you are proud, odds are you are going to show less gentleness toward others. That’s because you believe you are the only one who is right, or you believe that your way of doing something is the only right way of doing it. But we have to remember that there is more than one way to do a lot of things, and all lead to the same end result. Your way of doing something may not be the same way another person does something, but either way may be fine in completing the task at hand.

       When we create unrealistic expectations for other people, it can cause us to become harsh and impatient toward others, thus losing our gentleness toward them. So, the more critical of a mindset a person has, the harder it can become to be gentle toward others. There is time for correction and redirection, but sometimes we just need to put up with, or ignore, other people’s troublesome or bothering traits. When we look at people, we should be focusing on what is good about them, and not just on what we perceive to be wrong, or what actually is wrong with them. This also allows us to display our attitude of humility. By focusing on the good in them, that leaves us no time for the bad. This is what love does. It thinks the best of everyone. If we see something that we feel a person needs to work on, one thing we can do is pray for them and confess good things for them. This will allow God to lead and help them to make whatever change is necessary over time. Our job is not to be a faultfinder in everyone and tell them what they need to correct or do differently. Think of it this way. If you have to correct something in someone, or something they say, every time you go to church or Bible study, then you have a problem of your own that needs corrected.

       Now, it should be noted that we are to restore a repentant brother or sister in a spirit of gentleness when he or she is caught in a sin. Paul stated the following on this matter: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1, 2, ESV). So, when another person within our fellowship of Christians is overcome by a sin, we are not to rain condemnation down on the person and act like we are far superior in our own personal behavior. As Paul said, “Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” There is a possibility, if we are not careful, that we ourselves could fall into the same sin. By restoring the person who has sinned, we bear one another’s burdens. We make the restoration a group effort, and it allows the person to feel accepted again and restored to God. This, in turn, makes God happy. As Paul told Timothy, we are to pursue gentleness in our lives and character (see 1 Timothy 6:11, ESV).

       In one-on-one witnessing with others, again, we should show a spirit of gentleness. Let’s consider a passage found in 1 Peter 3. Go to verse 13, and we will read to verse 17:

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness 'sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:13-17, ESV).

So, we should seek to be as gentle as we can, while clearly expressing the truth, and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in conversations with others. Really, when witnessing to someone, if you are not already friends, think of it as making a new friend. That’s the point; you want to develop a relationship with the person. You should not just be throwing the truth at them and then walking away. But when relationships are developed, it makes it easier for the person to listen to you.

       Now, it is easy to lose your gentleness if you become angry, or get into a heated conversation when we are witnessing, or in our conversations in general with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The more words you are saying, the more points you are trying to make, the more careful you need to be. We are not just to try to win the argument with our speech at all costs. We must maintain a respectful attitude toward the other person in a one-on-one argument or debate. Proverbs 15:4 states, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (ESV). When we remain gentle, we have a greater possibility of winning the person over to our side. So, we must never let the heat of the moment allow us to lose our gentleness. Otherwise, we just leave the other person with a broken spirit.

       But, in the same breath, gentleness does not mean we are never straightforward and direct in our approach with people. Paul said to the Corinthians, “What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?” (1 Corinthians 4:21, ESV). You see, there is a time and a place for everything. There is a time for harder teachings, and even a time for public rebuke or correction. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees by declaring his ‘woes’ against them. And he rebuked churches in Revelation. Stephen bore strong witness against the Israelites, against unbelievers, in Acts 7. There is a time for this kind of language, especially in public speech like for Christian leaders and teachers. We are to be like Christ, and if Jesus did it, there are going to be times we have to do it. But we should be as gentle as possible, but at the same time not water down the truth for the sake of gentleness. Indeed, gentleness is important, but so is speaking and keeping the truth of God’s Word. God’s leaders are to be “kind to everyone… patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24, 25, ESV). Again, we must remember there is a time and a place for everything. We should not, by this verse, block out other teachings and examples from Scripture.


       As Christians, we have to live within limits in order to have a good walk with God, and to live good, successful lives. If we don’t follow God’s Word in our actions, we are going to reap negative consequences. Indeed, God’s Word is central to our behaviors. We can either learn the easy way or the hard way when it comes to self-control. When we don’t exercise self-control in a certain area of our lives, sometimes we find ourselves in trouble and we learn what we should have been doing, the way we should have been acting, in a negative, hard way. Sometimes God has to allow trouble to enter our lives because we won’t listen to his easy, simple nudges. When we have closed our hearts to hearing him in a certain area, often he has no choice but to permit difficulty to come. This is the only way he can get us to grow into becoming more like Jesus.

       However, just because a difficulty or trial may have entered into your life, this does not mean God is punishing you. Quite the opposite. We have to have our faith put to the test so that we will further develop our self-control. If nothing bad or nothing challenging ever happened, we would not grow, but really we would regress backwards in our Christian character. We cannot just have easy lives all the time. There will be times when things are easy for us and exactly the way we want them to be, but there will also be times when that is not true. James has taught us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4, ESV). Steadfastness relates to self-control. We cannot be firm in our beliefs and stand firm if we don’t have faith and exercise self-control in our thoughts and emotions.

       Feelings and self-control often go hand-in-hand. When we let our feelings make decisions for us, we make incorrect decisions. However, when we follow what we know is right according to God’s Word and according to our hearts, we go the right way, and we have successes in life. We all know, at least if you’ll stop and think about it, that your emotions within you change frequently. You can be feeling a certain way about a specific thing, and then two-hours later be feeling a totally different way about it. So, we have to be careful not to follow our ‘feelings’ but stay firm on steady ground. James has told us the following: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:1-4, ESV). We are to follow what we know is right and not sinful passions within us.

       In discussing self-control, as James just mentioned, money is often a big problem for certain people. A lot of people have trouble keeping proper boundaries and restrictions on how much they spend. They will see others with things and want the same things. People often too want to ‘keep up’ with others, as if they were competing in a competition with them. These people have not learned proper discipline in regard to money and spending it, and it has resulted in big problems for them in their lives. For instance, some folks just cannot handle credit cards. They just want to keep buying things, charging them on their credit card, without taking into account how much they are spending over time. Some people don’t properly calculate the cost of paying a mortgage for a large house they want to buy, and don’t properly calculate the costs associated with living in that large home, or in that area of town. Jesus wants us to be wise in these types of decisions, and wants us to exercise self-control in regard to our finances.

       For folks who feel they cannot handle a credit card, they should not have one. A lack of self-control and wise decision-making can lead to pain and unnecessary burden down the road. You don’t have to have a large house just because all your friends do. If renting is better for you due to your financial situation, you should rent. You don’t have to have a new car just because a lot of other people buy new cars. We should not keep our spending at a proper level with what we can afford. Personally, I only charge things on my credit card that I know I will be able to pay off when the statement comes. We should not racking up credit card debt, as Christians. Remember, we are supposed to examples to those around us, both saved and unsaved, in regard to self-control and our finances. If we are setting a bad example by spending too much, we are making Jesus look bad and hurting our witness. Even unbelievers may see us doing things that aren’t good, and they will think we are no different than them or anybody else. Paul told Timothy that in these last days that people would be without self-control (see 2 Timothy 3:1, 2, ESV). So, though many around us don’t have it, we should.

       I would also like to mention that God wants us to obviously be exercising self-control in regard to our own personal purity in our lives. Again, we are not to live like the people of this world, just doing whatever we ‘feel’ we want to do in regard to our sexuality. Turn to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. Before we close, I want to consider verses 2 through 8. So, starting in verse 2:

“For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thessalonians 4:2-8, ESV).

This is such an important passage for us. God values our sexual purity greatly, and he wants us to be very careful in our conduct in this area. We need to be sure we are control our actions with others so that we do not find ourselves in sin.


       In conclusion today, we have now considered all nine of the Fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians chapter 5. I hope everyone now as a better understanding of them, and my hope is that we all identified areas where we can make in improvement, and that we will indeed make those improvements. We always wanting to be growing in our lives, as Christians, and should never be at a standstill in our growth. I would like also to note that really, there are likely more fruits from the Spirit besides those listed in the Galatians chapter 5 passage. Note how Paul said in the passage, “against such things there is no law.” The words ‘such things’ seem to open the door for even more fruits than the ones he listed. Note another passage from Paul in Colossians 3: “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12, 13, ESV). So, from these verses, we might add compassion, humility, and meekness for example.

       But regardless, maybe you’ve been listening to what I’ve been talking about and feel that you would like to get out from under some of the bad habits you’ve formed in your life, but your not a Christian. Well, God leaves his door of salvation open to anyone who would believe in him. No matter who you are, God wants you to come into a personal relationship with by believing in Jesus’ death on the cross, on your behalf, for your sins—the things you’ve done in your life against God. You see, God sent his Son Jesus into the world some 2,000 years ago who died on a Roman cross for the sins of the whole world. God, in his righteousness, demands payment for sin. Most people will end up bearing God’s wrath in a place the Bible calls Hell—which is eternal torment for anyone who ends up there. But God doesn’t want anyone to have to go there, and that’s why he sent Jesus to die for the sins of the whole world. He rose from the dead, and he now lives with God the Father in Heaven, he himself being God the Son. God will grant eternal life to anyone who would believe in Jesus, and you will never again be in danger of any of God’s wrath to come in the future. God gives eternal life, in which we will live with God forever. This life will be in total peace, with the desires of your heart, having things you truly want, in Heaven with God. God will be your father and take care of you forever. He is the father to the fatherless, and Father to anyone who will let him in.

       If you would like to accept Jesus Christ today as your personal Lord, and personal Savior, and gain eternal life, and a new life starting today in God, then follow my lead in this prayer:

God, I come to you today as a sinner. I have done things against you in my life. But today I want to accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross on my behalf for my sins, and I believe he rose from the dead and is now with you in Heaven. God, I give my life over to you because I want you to be in the drivers seat of my life. Please, Father, change my life, change me from the inside out, and make me become like Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton