… And the winner is …

But the fruit of the Spirit is …
[May I have the envelope, please …]
love, th-84
joy,
peace,
patience,
kindness,
goodness,
faithfulness,
gentleness and
self-control.
Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

This last one is a bit of surprise, at least it is to me. It seems the least godly of the lot. All the other characteristics seem more out-going; self-control seems more internalized. Others can benefit from love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness, but self-control seems more my own private battle. Indirectly it relates to others, but that’s only because it gets me out of the way so the Spirit of God can get to work through my life.

It could almost look like this one is our doing while the others come from the Spirit, except it’s on the same list. We don’t have self-control at our own disposal any more than we have the other things on this list. We can’t drum this up. In other words, we have to depend on God for everything, and that is comforting in that God knows our weaknesses; He remembers that we are dust. We can’t be counted on to cooperate; we can only show up with open hands while the Spirit hands out what we need, including self-control.

But self-control seems like something you are more likely to get from the local gym, motivational speaker or time management seminar than from the Spirit of God, but here it is, last on the list. It’s actually comforting to know that the Lord is eager to provide even this so that we can walk in His will and be conformed to His image.

Self-control is a part of discipline. Remember, God’s got a boat load of all of this fruit ready for us on demand. “As you wish,” is His calculated response to our need, and we are definitely needy.

As I go over this list, this last one seems to be the one I need more than any other. I need self-control to overcome myself. I don’t know about you, but my problem is me. Setting myself aside — giving myself up — are a part of serving others and that require self-control. Saying no to myself and yes to God is a control issue. But here’s the good news: self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, so we’ve got help with this. It may not be the most glamorous of all fruit, but it will, in fact, enable the others by preparing us to be used of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Against such there is no law.

And that last bit is the best part of all. These changes and this character development warranted by the fruit of the Spirit has nothing to do with the law. The law can’t create it or destroy it. This is the work of the Spirit, offered by Grace, and Grace Turned Outward. All made possible by the Savior who came to earth and had His birth in Bethlehem. Merry Christmas to all; and may we see His fruit at work in our lives this Christmas. Go over the list and decide which ones you need the most, and then live like you have them because you do.

[Except for counseling and the prayer ministry, we are stepping back to ready ourselves for Christmas, but will be  front and center for the Church at the Catch on Sunday (yes, Christmas Day!) at 6:00 PST by going on FaceBook.com/thecatch and look for us live. We will resume the daily Catch on Tuesday the 27th.]

We ask you to prayerfully prepare for your year-end gift consideration to keep the Catch Ministry in mind as it is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, governed by its Board of Directors and sustained by its lifeblood – the Catch Ministry MemberPartners.

About the Catch
A descendant of Rick Warren’s brick-and-mortar church, the Catch offers a world-wide real time internet ministry to teach, encourage and build up the body of believers and connect the disenfranchised. Catch Citizens realize their passion for the truth through the daily Catch, a 24/7 interactive prayer ministry, a discipleship ministry that provides “boots on the ground” to over 141 countries it presently serves, one-on-one with qualified counselors, and a personal ‘triage’ that connects members to our network of local ministries.

This represents a huge team of volunteers worldwide including  the ministry’s Prayer Warriors.

Tired of drive-by evangelism, John is an ordained minister trained in the Biblical understanding of the prophetic Word who serves as transparent catalysts for all, and, with great emotional strength, spiritual truth, and endurance, brings a heightened sensitivity to the needs of our world. We call it Grace turned Outward.

 

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