Fruit of the Spirit: SELF-CONTROL

Hi friends! Today we are wrapping up our Fruit of the Spirit blog series with self-control. I am excited to share this blog post with you and even more excited for what is to come in the future 🙂 alrighty, let’s jump in.

WHAT IS SELF-CONTROL:

There is not a very clear definition for the meaning of self-control in the Bible, but in Proverbs 25:28, we are given a picture of what life looks like without self-control.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. – Proverbs 25:28

When I think of this verse, I picture this image of people easily coming into a city, offering their opinions of how things should change within the city, and not many people are there to defend it. For us, I think realistically that can look like Satan entering our minds and twisting our emotions for us to act in the way Satan wants us to. Self-control for me is being intentional and mindful about your decisions, your words, and your actions.

GOOD INTENTIONS, BAD DECISIONS:

Growing up, I had this motto (and I still use it), “always do the right thing”. Over the years, I have been able to acknowledge that just because I have good intentions going into a situation does not mean that I am not sinning.

So picture this: I go to school. My friend, Sally Sue, comes up to me. She starts being really mean, calling me a bunch of bad names, and just tears me down. Say this just really upsets me. I go to the bathroom, I’m really emotional, and my friend Alice comes in. She asks what’s going on, is everything okay. In my mind, I’m thinking “okay Claire, tell Alice what’s going on because once you get it off your chest, you’re gonna be able to go back out and love on people and not let this ruin your day”.

So I tell Alice what happened. BUT I talk about the situation with my opinion, my feelings, and my emotions. Technically, this makes me feel better and I can calm down, but by calling Sally Sue rude and mean, I just gossiped about her to a friend. Who then might say what I said to someone else. See where I’m going?

I think in life we can be so focused on what’s in front of us, but forget to check our blind spot. When you’re in a car, if you are only focused on the road in front of you and don’t check your blind spot, you might hit a car when changing lanes. Your intentions were good because you were focusing on the road in front of you, trying to pay attention and not cause a wreck. But you forgot to check the blind spot.

We can have great intentions on making good decisions, but if we don’t check if our decisions are aligning with God’s word, then we can still fall into sin.

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. – Proverbs 16:2-4

The way we see it might look pure to us, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a sin.

LEARN TO USE CONTROL:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. – Titus 2:11-14

I think an important reason to study God’s word is to learn wisdom from Him. He wants us to live a holy and upright life. He wants us to understand what breaks His heart. By studying and memorizing scripture, we are able to be equipped with the word and take it with us in life.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

If you go into a battle without a weapon and say “I don’t need it, I’m gonna win the war without it”, you might lose the war because you weren’t prepared and equipped for the battle. God wants us to use His word as our sword for battle. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus fought back with scripture. It’s important to take the time to memorize and understand the power of God’s word.

I want to challenge you today by memorizing one of the verses mentioned in this blog post. Remember, self-control is about controlling our desires, our feelings, and our emotions, which can easily be tempted by Satan. I hope this week you are able to look at your blind spot in situations and use God’s word to help you make your decisions.

With love,

Claire

Fruit of the Spirit: GENTLENESS

Over the past few weeks, we have learned about what it means to live a holy and pleasing life for the Lord. We have talked about living a life full of faith, being kind to others, and seeking joy during difficult circumstances. Today, I want to continue this series with gentleness.

WHAT IS GENTLENESS:

When the Bible mentions gentleness, most of the time, it is speaking about how we should act gently with one another.

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.” – 1 Peter 3:14-15

What I find so interesting and wonderful about the different attributes of the fruit of the Spirit, is that they are all somewhat connected to each other. For example, gentleness is related much to kindness and love. But just by living in a manner that is holy to God, we are embracing all the attributes of the Spirit in a united way.

“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 4:1-2

WHAT DOES THE LORD TEACH US ABOUT GENTLENESS:

When I think of the word gentleness, I think of my words. The words that I chose to use when speaking with others and the meaning behind those words. Many things flow from our heart, but one that is deadly to ourselves and those around us are the words we speak.

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” – Matthew 15:18-19

Think about it, when we are connecting and interacting with each other, the majority of the time, we are speaking words to others. But the question is “Are we using a gentle heart when speaking to those around us?”

Here’s where I don’t want to confuse you though. Having a gentle heart does not mean you are a pushover. It doesn’t mean things don’t bother you or you can’t stand up for yourself. You totally can. But it is in the way you do it that is the kicker. The attitude you use, the way you speak your words, and the meaning behind it.

I have been reading a book called “Speak Love” by Annie Downs. I recently found it at Barnes and Noble, and I truly just thought “You know, I need to take the time to get better at learning to be more mindful of the words I speak and acknowledge when my words can hurt.” But one point Annie brings up is that we learn how to act in a holy manner by learning about God.

“God is our example. How God uses His words is how we can learn to use ours.” – Annie Downs

We see God using His words to create life at the beginning of Genesis. We also see God using His words through the life of Jesus. When Jesus was ministering or fellowshipping with His disciples, Jesus would stand up for Himself and His Father even when people tried to attack Him. However, He did it gently.

I truly think the reason Jesus was able to speak in such a way (other than being God Himself) was that He loved everyone around Him. His heart was good, gentle, kind, and true and it allowed Him to speak gently and lovingly to those around Him.

LIVING WITH A GENTLE HEART:

I don’t have a perfect answer for living with a gentle heart, but I can tell you the things I try to do.

Learn from God’s words. Reading scripture and meditating on how God speaks to those, such as Abraham, Moses, and Noah gives me a way of how I should handle my interactions with those around me. And learning about how Jesus speaks to those around Him, gives me hope that I can speak truth in the life of others because of the power of the Holy Spirit.

“for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” – Luke 12:12

Set your mind on things above. I was reminded this past week that in a lot of situations when I get frustrated, overwhelmed, or confused in life, things really aren’t as bad as they seem. And things could always be worse. We will suffer in this life. But remember that this is our temporary home and a heavenly kingdom is in store for us in the future.

“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.” – Hebrews 11:16

Be mindful and take your time. It is very important to allow yourself time to think before you speak. I think we live in such a busy and rushed world that we are used to immediately putting our words on paper or out into the world. But, it is perfectly okay to take time with your words.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19

I hope that this week, you can not only see how God is speaking to you in different ways around you, but you can learn more about how God sees you and loves you. Be gentle with those around you and with yourself. Take things day by day and focus on the present place God has you in.

With love,

Claire

Fruit of the Spirit: KINDNESS

THE IMPORTANCE OF KINDNESS:

At the beginning of Genesis, God created Adam and Eve. He placed them together in the Garden of Eden so that they could enjoy each other’s company and gain encouragement from each other. God created us not only to live with Him but to enjoy the community with those around us.

I think kindness is an important aspect that we get to carry into the relationships we have with each other. It allows us to encourage and support one another. I think it also allows us to understand the importance of community and relationships with others.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47

In Acts 2, we see a picture of what God has in mind for us when it comes to community and fellowship. When Jesus was on earth, He showed kindness in many ways, but the main one that sticks out to me is how He spent time with others.

He wanted people to enjoy each others’ company, whether that was over dinner or in the church. He also healed those around Him that were hurt because these people needed a Savior.

I also love how these verses talk so much about having glad and sincere hearts. Our hearts are very important to us. Mainly because everything flows from the heart. We have to make sure our hearts are aligned with God and His truth for us to be able to share kindness with the company around us.

ACTS OF KINDNESS:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – Galatians 5:13

I think there are over a thousand different ways you can be kind to yourself and those around you. But I want to highlight a few important ones that stand out to me.

  1. Love Languages – If you don’t already know what your love language is, take a love language quiz online to find out! I think it is so important for you to know what your love language is but also what your friends’ love languages are as well. It helps you not only to love them better, but it allows them to feel important and valued in the relationship too.
  2. Prayer – Yep, I consider prayer an act of kindness. Taking the time out of your day to ask your friends how you can be praying for them or praying for friends when you think about them are both great ways to be kind. I think it is also important to pray for a kind heart as well. Just like any other fruit of the spirit, we need to ask God to give us a kind heart and for the Holy Spirit to work inside of us so that we can glorify God through our lives.
  3. Speak Truth – We are called to carry each other’s burdens in life. Jesus was the perfect example of how we can build each other up. I think a great way to do so is to remind friends and family members about the Truth of God’s Word. By reminding those around you of the promises of God, the Holy Spirit can guide us in the ways that we can be kind to one another. Supporting and encouraging each other with God’s Truth is a wonderful way to share kindness.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

God has been so kind to us by sending His Son so that we can have eternal life with Him. We need to be kind to each other as well. If you want to learn more about serving each other with a kind heart, read over the gospels and how Jesus lived His life with those around Him. We get to learn about kindness from the actions and characteristics of the Savior, and through the Holy Spirit, we can share that kindness with others. How incredible.

With love,

Claire

Fruit Of The Spirit: LOVE

I have recently been learning more about the fruit of the spirit, individually and collectively. What each attribute means, what it really looks like to bear each of them, and what the Bible says about each of them. So, I decided I would start a blog series on them! I’ll be highlighting one attribute every week and sharing some concepts that I have learned about them. To start us off, today we are going to focus on LOVE.


The Bible is full of verses about love: how God loves us, how God’s people love Him, and how we are to love each other. But, before we talk about how to love others, I think we need to understand what exactly love is.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

WHAT IS LOVE:

  1. Love is patient and kind – We’ll focus a lot more on patience in the upcoming weeks, but here we understand that when we love others, we are patient with them. We do not rush their actions or their words, and we are kind to them, as we hope they will be kind to us too.
  2. Love does not envy or boast – Love is not prideful. Love is humbling ourselves and boasting in the love of God, not the love of ourselves.
  3. Love is not arrogant or rude – Love has much to do with our actions but it also has to do with the words we use. In order to love ourselves and others, we have to use gentle and kind words, as well as loving others with our actions too.
  4. Love does not insist on its own way – Love is not selfish. It’s actually the complete opposite, selfless. When we look at Jesus, we can start to see how He loved. A major way He loved others was by helping and serving others.
  5. Love is not irritable or resentful – Love is not frustrated, annoyed, or irritated. Are we allowed to be upset about a situation? Yes. But we still have to respond in a loving manner and forgive those around us.
  6. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing and rejoices with the truth- Love does not like anything evil or wicked. Love is a way of obeying God and respecting those around us.
  7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things – Love is having faith and hope that God is working everything out for our good. It is carrying each other’s burdens and riding the rollercoaster of life with others.

HOW DOES GOD LOVE US:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17

In the first two chapters of Genesis, it talks about a time before sin came into the world. How everything was good and perfect. However, once Adam and Eve ate the fruit that they were told not to, sin came into the world. Even though Adam and Eve disobeyed God, God still loved His people that He created. He sent His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins. He gave us the gift of salvation. He even gave us free will to make our own choices. God shows His love for us in the Bible multiple times. 

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7-8

HOW ARE WE CALLED TO LOVE OTHERS:

The Bible talks much about how we are to love others, but I want to focus on two different stories that capture the way we are to love.

In the book of Genesis, we are told that God created man in His own image. He placed Adam in the garden, and God provided Adam with everything he needed including food and water. Even with all that God had given Adam, God still said “it is not good for man to be alone”. So, God took a rib from Adam and formed it into a woman.

And the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed. – Genesis 2:25

Adam and Eve stood together not ashamed of one another and completely accepting of each another. To God, they were perfect because they had no sin in them. There was no evil and it was good. However, once they ate from the fruit, Adam and Eve realized they were naked and covered themselves with fig leaves.

Here’s the thing though. Adam and Eve accepted one another for who they truly were in the beginning. They were totally vulnerable with each other, yet they did not ask God “can you give me someone else to be with?” No, they stood together as one flesh and truly accepted each other for who God created them to be.

We also can see how to love others based on how Jesus loved the people around Him. Jesus served people. He healed people. He chose to fellowship with those around Him. He was fully accepting of the people He met and came to die for sinners, not for perfect and polished people.

I think in life we want loving people to be easy. We have expectations of people, and we want them to cooperate with us so that we don’t have to worry about love. We don’t have to add that to the stress list. I think when we have issues loving others, we have issues with accepting others as they truly are.

God loves us exactly the way we are. He just does not love our sin. We have to do the same for those we come in contact with. 

There are totally going to be times in your life where you will not get along with others. But it’s not that you hate the person. You just hate their sin. You hate the cruel thing they did to you. You hate the gossip that they shared about you. You hate their sin. God tells us to love people, and we can still love people while hating their sin.

Jesus came to show us how to restore not only our relationship with God but also how to restore our relationships with each other. We are still able to fully know and deeply love each other. But, that starts with being vulnerable and accepting one another for who they truly are. Who God made them to be. We also have to stop hiding who we truly are and stop being ashamed of the body, the mind, and the personality that God gave each of us.

God perfectly designed you to be you. He loves you exactly the way you are. We are all messy people. We all sin and fall short, but let’s start loving each other and accepting each other for who God created us to be, inside and out. 

With love,

Claire Reed