In our last post on the Fruit of the Spirit we will address the fruit of meekness and temperance, known as self-control (Galatians 5:22,23.) Stuart Briscoe, the author of The Fruit of the Spirit, defines meekness as follows:
Some people need to toot their own horns, bang their own drums, wave their credentials, recount their exploits, polish they egos, and guard their territory— that's weakness. Others have done exploits, achieved success, been granted honors, and scaled the heights, but find no necessity to inform those who are ignorant or remind those who conversant—that is meekness.
Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. A person who is meek shows patience, humility, and gentleness. Meekness should not be confused with inferiority, weakness or lack of leadership.
Those who model meekness will be submissive to those in authority. They will be able to accept a rebuke or receive correction without complaining and becoming bitter. Criticism will not affect them. And when faced with frustration, they do not become defensive or react in a negative manner.
Correcting students without arrogance is a manifestation of meekness. When a student is overtaken in misconduct, he needs to be restored and reinstated in a spirit of meekness (Galatians 6:1).
Temperance is best known as self-control. It is important for teachers and administrators to set the example in controlling their attitudes, emotions, behaviors, the words they speak and their desires, every phrase of life. Without self-control, the works of the flesh cannot be overcome, and the fruit of the Spirit will not be prominent.
Walking in self-control is a decision we make. For example, a student may irritate you to a point where you want to give him a piece of your mind, but through the fruit of self-control, you choose to kindly exhort him to good works.
Self-control is evident when you choose to be considerate and courteous. For example, while walking down the hallway you meet a parent whom you know has been speaking unkind words about your teaching. Instead of ignoring the parent, you treat him respectfully.
Rather than “stewing” and “churning” over being assigned to outside supervision on a rainy day in the absence of another teacher, you choose to put on joy and report to your assigned station. It is important to bring every action and every thought into the obedience and take control over your feelings.
Instead of showing exasperation with students who have failed for no apparent reason to turn in an assignment, you choose to calmly remind them of the consequence for not turning their work in on time. When faced with a parent who wants to dominate the conversation during a parent/teacher conference by explaining all the things the school is not doing right, you choose to be a minister of reconciliation, allowing the love of God to flow through you to the parent.
Sharon Daugherty writes,
You choose to walk in peace while others may want to argue. You choose to forgive and show mercy when others offend, disappoint, or fail you. You choose to keep the joy of the Lord when you feel unhappy. You choose not to speak when your emotions are wanting your mouth to speak. These are examples of self-control in operation.
The fruit of the Spirit, self-control, is an outgrowth of the new nature we receive when we accept Christ as Lord: "By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4).
It is the character of Christ that is implanted in your heart when you became a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The more Christ is made the center of your life, the more the fruit of the Spirit will be evident.
Duffield and Van Cleave in Foundations of Pentecostal Theology state:
We have the fruit of the Spirit when we have the Spirit. We can achieve fruit bearing only by living in cooperation with the indwelling Fruit bearer . . . The more completely one is infused with the Spirit's presence, the more emphatic will be the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in his living and working. Only when he is full of the Holy Spirit does he exhibit the full fruition of Christian virtues.
Samuel Chadwick summarizes the fruit of the Spirit this way:
In newspaper English, the passage would read something like this: The fruit of the Spirit is an affectionate, lovable disposition, a radiant spirit and a cheerful temper, a tranquil mind and a quiet manner; a forbearing patience in provoking circumstances and generous judgment and a big-souled charity, loyalty and reliability under all circumstances, humility that forgets self in the joy of others, in all things self-mastered and self-controlled, which is the final mark of perfecting.
Oral Roberts says,
By the Spirit indwelling us, and by our lining up our desires with Him, and putting our faith to work on it, we actually grow fruit. Men shall see the very nature of Christ in our nature. He is living again in us. This takes dedication to Jesus, to His Word, to the way He thinks and does things in His Spirit to have a deep enough desire to grow the manifold fruit of the Spirit. It takes time, it takes faith, it takes willpower.
Regardless of the condition of your fruit-bearing, keep in mind the words of the apostle Paul when he wrote, “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). He also reminds us that, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Consider allowing the Holy Spirit to give you creative ideas as to how you can implement these last two Fruit of the Spirit—meekness and temperance.