The exercise of this discipline called self-control prevents desire from becoming a dictator. For the person without Christ, the desires dictate and he or she obeys. Those in Christ are able to defy this once-powerful dictator.
Fruit of the Spirit
How can we know if we’re really making progress in our spiritual walk? After all, the Bible offers no prescribed checklist of duties to perform that prove we’ve “arrived” as mature believers. But a list provided by Paul in Galatians 5:22–23 does offer proof both to ourselves and to those around us that the Spirit of God who dwells within us controls our thoughts and actions.
And that’s the catch. We can’t produce such fruit on our own—even with the most sincere effort. We can’t fake this fruit either. Rather, the fruit of the Spirit is a supernatural result of yielding to the Holy Spirit. Once we’re exhibiting the pure, holy fruit of the Spirit, the contrast is stark between those who are filled with the Spirit and those who obey the deeds of the flesh, as seen in Paul’s other list in verses 19-21! When we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, all the glory goes to God.
Believe it or not, your personal testimony is one of the most powerful and compelling tools God has given you in reaching nonbelievers with the Gospel. Now, I’m not talking about the common, garden-variety, churchy “braggamony.”
Because every believer receives a gift to do ministry, every believer is a minister. Let that sink in. It’s significant. Too often people think only the pastor is the minister when in reality the church is full of ministers.
A positive attitude is based on a choice, not on feelings. Too often we make our attitude the victim of our feelings and think we can have a positive attitude only when we feel positive.
Joy—it makes people wonder at your secret. Yet joy is no secret to the trusting Christian. When we choose to grow closer to God, resting in His character and provision, joy spills over into our lives so that others can’t help but notice.
There isn’t a day that passes in which I fail to see, hear, or read something that makes me smile. And because laughter is such an effective therapy, I’m grateful that God dispenses this divine medication so frequently.
When we live God’s way, we experience the Fruit of the Spirit in good times and bad. Because it’s a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit, this fruit is not tied to things of the world, emotions, health, or anything else.
It is correct to say God wants me happy. But He doesn’t want us to value it above other things or base our happiness in superficial temporary circumstances. God built us to desire happiness but He wants us to find it in relation to Him.
Want more joy in your day? Cultivate it! Joy springs from viewing the day’s events from eternity’s perspective. With this intentional focus, you’re sure to see today differently—with more joy and conviction that God is at work in your life.