We are continuing on in Galatians 5:22-23 and finishing off the fruit of “strength of spirit” or in other translations like we had last week say, “self-control”. The full Scripture says, “But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness [sweetness] in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.”
Last week we looked at one aspect of this, which is the self control that the Holy Spirit gives to us to overcome situations. The fruit of strength of spirit or self-control is actually talking about Lordship. It is about bringing our desires, wants and needs under submission to God. The way I can explain it is like this; for example, say you have been struggling in an area and run to God for help, He will give you the strength to overcome. He gives you the strength of spirit to say no or to walk away from a situation.
As we journey on with God, we still need that from time to time but as our minds are renewed there is another level of self-control that comes in. James 1:14 tells us that temptation comes from our own desires. However, when our desires, wants and needs are submitted to God, God begins to do a work in us that changes us. So that we want what He wants. He gives us the desires of our hearts, Psalm 37:4.
Such that self-control is no longer an internal battle of you (spirit) versus you (soul or body). It is now a battle between you (spirit, soul and body in submission to God) against the enemy. Remember James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” First step is always submission. It is always easier to resist the devil when you are in submission, he has no choice but to flee.
That means when the devil comes with a certain thought pattern, God has done a work in you to enable you to say no to that because your whole being is acting in submission to God and your desires are submitted to God. We grow and mature in this as we stay connected to Jesus. That is not to say you will never get tempted. If the devil tried to tempt Jesus, he is not going to let you slide. He will keep coming but you have been equipped to overcome. There is nothing for that temptation to sink its hooks into because your mind has been renewed and your desires have shifted. Do not ever think you can take on the devil by yourself. Even Jesus quoted scriptures and modelled to us how to get past temptation.
Submission to God includes coming under what God’s word says about a situation so you can resist the devil with the full support of the Word (Jesus). Submission is covering, it is protection. God does not ask us to submit so He can “control” us. He gave us free will, He has no intention of controlling us. He asks us to submit so He can protect us.
I don’t know if you remember how we started this series but we started off talking about how our spirit is king, our soul is a servant and our body is a slave. Which is something I learnt from my Pastor Esther. I am not going to go into detail about that as we have already covered it but feel free to go back to May 2021 posts. Namely, “Back 2 Basics”, “Your spirit is king” and “His strength, your will”.
Looks like we have come full circle. The fruits of the Spirit are released when our lives are in the right order. God interacts with our spirit not with our body or our mind (soul). Our spirit then interacts with our soul and the soul with the body. So, the fruit of the Spirit, see capital S Spirit are all fruit of the Holy Spirit living within us. The level to which our soul is submitted to our spirit, is the level to which the fruit will be released. Our spirit is joined with God so it has full access to all the fruit of the spirit but question is, is our soul submitted to our spirit enough to let the fruit come through?
I think that’s a good place to stop this week. Have a blessed week!
Love and blessing,